Tag: Antti Niemi

Chicago Blackhawks Victory Parade And Rally

Toews admits Chicago’s cap crunch feels ‘a lot like 2010’


Much like in 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks are celebrating a triumphant Stanley Cup win. The unfortunate similarity seems to be that, with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane getting raises, key supporting cast members are likely out.

With the salary cap ceiling officially set at $71.4 million, that reality is even setting in for Toews, who shared this sobering comment during media availability heading into the 2015 NHL Awards.

“All of a sudden, it does feel a lot like 2010, where it’s imminent,” Toews said, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

In a way, it’s a metaphorical hangover from a Stanley Cup celebration … although Toews & Co. might still be recovering from (and creating new) literal ones.

As of this moment, General Fanager pegs Chicago’s cap space at about $7.35 million. That figure includes eight forwards, three defensemen and three goalies (Chicago has some breathing room with Scott Darling’s 2015-16 season being two-way). It also doesn’t include free agent concerns, which is certainly relevant with UFAs such as Johnny Oduya and RFAs including standout Brandon Saad.

Indeed, looking at this situation, it’s easy to see parallels from that first Toews-Kane-era Cup win, when the Blackhawks let Antti Niemi go following arbitration while being forced to trade away the likes of Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.

Those losses hurt as the Blackhawks limped into the 2011 postseason, yet they obviously bounced back.

In case you’re wondering, GM Stan Bowman is currently gauging the value of trade pieces such as Patrick Sharp, as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports.

LeBrun notes that Chicago would be willing to take salary back in potential moves, though only to a certain extent. Getting something done fast would grease the wheels, too:

What is preferable for the Blackhawks, however, is to make the deal happen before the draft, in a perfect world. That way they could recoup a draft pick, which is key given what they gave up from this year’s draft for Antoine Vermette (a first-round pick, 30th overall) and Kimmo Timonen (second-round pick, 61st overall). Mind you, the Blackhawks do have the 54th-overall selection, a compensatory pick for not signing 2010 pick Kevin Hayes.

In other words, it’s wise for Toews to realize that times are changing … because some big moves could be coming as soon as this week.

Here’s video from the Chicago-Sun Times:

Chiarelli thinks Oilers will probably add a goalie before draft

Peter Chiarelli

The Edmonton Oilers have captured headlines recently with their changes to their scouting department. If general manager Peter Chiarelli is right, the next big story involving Edmonton might involve the squad acquiring a goaltender.

“My guess is we’ll probably be able to do something before the draft,” Chiarelli told the Edmonton Sun. “But I’m not completely sure.

“At the end of the day it takes two to tango so you have to have the right deal in place. But I’m not averse to going to the free agent market, either.”

He noted that getting a goaltender is a bit of a buyers market as there are several noteworthy netminders on the block. It’s believed that the New York Rangers want to move Cam Talbot, the Ottawa Senators need to trade Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner, and the Vancouver Canucks are open to dealing Eddie Lack.

The fact that Edmonton controls six of the first 86 selections in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft should also help its ability to secure a goaltender in the coming days.

That being said, if the Oilers don’t trade for a netminder, there will likely be options available to them on the open market. Antti Niemi, Jhonas Enroth, and Devan Dubnyk are among those that might test the free agent waters.

Wilson: Sharks will ‘explore everything’ to improve

San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach

After all the turmoil of the last 12 months, Doug Wilson remains as GM of the San Jose Sharks. Many would agree that changing head coaches should just be the beginning of his work this offseason.

Whether it be trades, free agents acquisitions or moving around in the draft, it sounds like the situation is pretty flexible for the Sharks during during what Wilson described as “probably the most important part of the transition process that we’ve gone through the last year.”

“We’re putting this team in a position to bounce back and be very competitive come September,” Wilson said during a pre-draft address, according to CSNBayArea.com. “Will we explore everything? Yeah, we will.”

Exploring everything could mean giving up cap space to improve and it also may mean handing over a high draft pick.

The Sharks actually have a lot of both.

General Fanager estimates their cap space at $17.3 million, and while they need to re-sign or replace Antti Niemi, the Sharks could conceivably make a big splash in free agency or exploit another team’s cap crunch this summer. Wilson has also done an impressive job collecting draft assets, as San Jose boasts 17 selections in the next two drafts.

The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle provides some interesting insight into Wilson’s possible aims:

While San Jose’s most immediate need appears to be a starting goalie, they’re also interested in adding on the blueline. That could come through free agency, as there’s a solid crop of defencemen available that includes François Beauchemin, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Johnny Oduya, Andrej Sekera, Cody Franson and Mike Green.

Sure, it had to sting to miss the playoffs in 2014-15, and it’s possible that the team’s dysfunction may continue. That said, this team could make a dramatic push if Wilson’s on his game during (another) pivotal offseason.

Sharks won’t re-sign Hannan or Scott, Niemi’s future uncertain

Scott Hannan

Adam Burish wasn’t the only Shark to receive his walking papers Friday — shortly after news of Burish’s buyout went public, San Jose GM Doug Wilson told reporters the club was also parting ways with veterans John Scott and Scott Hannan.

Scott, the heavyweight signed last summer to add an “element of security,” failed to make much of an impact beyond his two suspensions this season. Though he did score a career-high three goals, the 6-foot-8 enforcer appeared in just 38 games and averaged 7:27 TOI per.

Hannan, 36, was a little more of a factor, dressing for 58 games while averaging over 16 minutes a night. San Jose’s first-round pick back in 1997, Hannan was in his second tour of duty with the Sharks but became an afterthought following the trade deadline, didn’t play much, then suffered a few injuries at the tail end of the year.

As for veteran goalie Antti Niemi… well, the jury’s still out. Wilson suggested in the past he’d like to go another direction in goal, but stopped just short of cutting ties. It’s possible the Sharks will stay in contact with the Finnish netminder as a “Plan B,” should free agency not work out in their favor.

Bowman vows to keep Saad in Chicago ‘for years to come’


Don’t bother putting an offer sheet in front of Brandon Saad.

That’s the message Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been sending, with a little help from the media, to his counterparts around the league.

Moments after the ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup on Monday, Bowman told reporters: “I just talked to [Saad] right after we won. We gave a hug and I said, ‘This is the first of many; we’re going to win a lot together.’ He gave me a big hug and said, ‘Let’s go.’ So, no, he’s going to be here. I don’t think he would want to leave after this scene here.”

Today, Bowman reiterated that message, all but guaranteeing he’d re-sign the 22-year-old pending restricted free agent who scored so many big goals for the ‘Hawks during these past playoffs:

While Saad wasn’t quite as certain as his GM, he clearly does want to be back:

In 2010, the ‘Hawks matched the four-year, $14 million offer sheet that defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson signed with San Jose. Chicago had the option to receive the Sharks’ first- and third-round draft picks in the 2011 draft as compensation. The decision to match ultimately led to the departure of free-agent goalie Antti Niemi (to San Jose, interestingly).

If the Blackhawks do end up signing Saad, they’ll likely need to trade at least one of their veteran forwards. Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell have each had their names come up in speculation.

It’s also not clear which, if any, pending unrestricted free agents will be back. Johnny Oduya, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, Andrew Desjardins and Michal Rozsival are all without contracts for next season.

Related: Let’s all remember why offer sheets are rarely signed