Tag: Bryan Bickell

Stan Bowman

Under Pressure: Stan Bowman


Stan Bowman knew there’d be much change to his hockey club this summer and, as a result, much work to be done.

Wonder if he thought there’d be this much, though.

To recap…

Out: Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Antti Raanta, Kimmo Timonen.

In: Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin, Artemi Panarin, Viktor Tikhonov.

And Bowman isn’t even done yet.

According to war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks are nearly $400K over the $71.4 million salary cap, with the likes of ace penalty killer Marcus Kruger and fellow depth checker Joakim Nordstrom still requiring new deals. Kruger’s said he’s willing to sit and wait for an extension and Bowman suggested he’d like to get it signed before training camp, which means the ‘Hawks will have to shed some bucks within the next three weeks or so.

So, how will they do it?

Bryan Bickell, he of the $4 million average annual cap hit — and multiple healthy scratches during the playoffs — has been bandied about as potential trade bait. The club could also try and do something with Kris Versteeg ($2.2M cap hit).

Or maybe Bowman makes a move he doesn’t want to make.

That was the situation earlier this summer with Saad, when the ‘Hawks were forced to move their promising young power forward to Columbus because the dollars didn’t make sense. Remember, Bowman was at one point very adamant he’d get a deal done with Saad — vowing to keep him in Chicago “for years to come” — only to later realize it wasn’t going to work within the budget.

Bowman’s financial pressure isn’t solely about getting under the cap to start the year, either. The ‘Hawks are built to contend, which means there should be some room for potential acquisitions during the season, most notably at the deadline.

Then, there’s the biggest wildcard of all — the Patrick Kane situation.

Unlike the other dilemmas he’s faced, Bowman has virtually zero control over how this one plays out; there’s no timeline for the ongoing police investigation and no clear picture on what would happen should Kane be charged.

All of which makes for a stressful lead-up to the season. Bowman’s got his hands full.

Agent: Kruger ‘will be patient’ with Chicago’s cap situation

Marcus Kruger

One of the Blackhawks’ top defensive specialists will continue to twist in the wind.

On Monday, Marcus Kruger’s agent, J.P. Barry, told the Chicago Tribune his client is prepared to remain unsigned until GM Stan Bowman figures out the team’s cap situation.


In an email to the Tribune on Monday, Barry wrote that “we will be patient” while Bowman looks for ways to make room.

As a restricted free agent who did not receive an offer sheet from another team, Kruger does not have many options. Barry said if the cap space does not become available in the next month or so, Kruger “will have no choice later in August but to do a shorter deal.”

Kruger, 25, didn’t file for arbitration in the hope of trying to secure a long-term deal in Chicago.

Though hardly an offensive dynamo — he scored seven goals and 17 points in 81 games last season, then four more in 23 playoff games — Kruger is a key contributor both defensively and on the penalty kill; no Blackhawks forward had more shorthanded ice time during the postseason, and no forward blocked more shots (20).

Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks are roughly $400,000 over the $71.4 million salary cap, and are able to remain a maximum of 10 percent over during the offseason.

It’s been rumored the club is trying to jettison Bryan Bickell and his $4 million cap hit, but has yet to find any takers.

Dental issue likely cause of Bickell’s Cup Final vertigo

Bryan Bickell

Bryan Bickell knew it wasn’t a concussion, but he didn’t know what was keeping him out of the lineup at the most important time of the year.

It was eventually revealed that the Chicago Blackhawks forward was dealing with vertigo. He missed the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final, returned for Game 3, and then wasn’t used for the remainder of the series.

Over the summer he discovered the likely explanation for why he was having so much trouble: He had an infection from a tooth that needed to be pulled, per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger.

So that’s one mystery we can likely close to books on, but a very different question is lingering for Bickell. Will he be traded this summer? Given his $4 million annual cap hit and Chicago’s cap problems, he’s been a popular name in the rumor mill and it seems like he’s acutely aware of that.

Oduya won’t be back with Blackhawks: agent

Johnny Oduya

He wanted to stay, and they wanted to keep him.

Reality got in the way.

Per CSN Chicago, unrestricted free agent Johnny Oduya will not be back with the Chicago Blackhawks. The agent for the 33-year-old defenseman confirmed it Tuesday.

Oduya’s time in Chicago was all but officially ended when the ‘Hawks acquired veteran defender Trevor Daley from the Dallas Stars in the Patrick Sharp trade. With GM Stan Bowman unable to shed Bryan Bickell’s cap hit, and with RFA forward Marcus Kruger in need of a new deal, well, at least Oduya went out on a high note.

“We know the reality. This is what it is,” he said prior to the Stanley Cup Final. “You’ve got to take care of the time you have in front of you.”

Buffalo and Dallas are considered among the favorites to sign Oduya. His decision is expected to be made today.

‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’

Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya is still waiting for the Blackhawks to clear enough cap space to re-sign him, according to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

But the ‘Hawks may have to clear it soon, because Oduya won’t wait forever.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reported on July 1 that the 33-year-old defenseman was “sitting on a very good offer.”

Presumably that “very good offer” wasn’t from Chicago; otherwise, he would’ve signed it.

“We would like to try to bring him back,” GM Stan Bowman said of Oduya, per CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers. “We have financial hurdles we’re working through.”

Even though the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad, they added Artem Anisimov’s $3.3 million cap hit for next season, and they still haven’t dealt Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, or any of the other players rumored to be out the door.

The ‘Hawks have five NHL defenseman under contract for 2015-16 — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, David Rundblad, and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

If they can’t re-sign Oduya, they could either look elsewhere for a cheaper free agent, or commit to giving roster spots to youngsters like Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka.

Related: UFA of the Day: Johnny Oduya