The Chicago Blackhawks remain a touch above $2.2 million over the NHL salary cap ceiling, remaining in the same fiscal position as the organization was in early July after signing Brad Richards. A trade is in the cards for Chicago in the very near future.
Stan Bowman may elect to head into the season with a 21-man roster, which would make his cap-clearing job quite a bit simpler. The aforementioned numbers reflect a 23-man roster, but Chicago would only have to trade one player if the Blackhawks will carry 21 during the year. The most likely candidate to be flipped away still seems to be Michal Rozsival, the aging and declining defenseman who brings a $2.2 million hit on the cap. Kris Versteeg, with the same hit as Rozsival, had a disappointing 2013-14 and a particularly dreadful postseason. The shifty winger has also seen his name pop up in trade rumors (although the Blackhawks have expressed eagerness to give him another chance this year, citing a torn ACL in 2013 as a major reason for his difficulties).
Bowman will (and likely already has) tested out the trade waters regarding Nick Leddy, Bryan Bickell and Johnny Oduya. All three players play important depth roles, however, and will probably stay on the roster for another season as Chicago goes for it all in the last year of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane‘s “cheap” contracts. Bickell is all but surely gone next offseason, and it is expected that the Blackhawks will hold on to only one of Oduya or Leddy moving forward past that point.