Latest on the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Sharks – June 12, 2013.

Bryan Bickell hopes to re-sign with the Blackhawks, the Red Wings have their eye on Bickell and his teammate Viktor Stalberg, while Raffi Torres hopes to re-sign with the Sharks.

Can the Blackhawks afford to re-sign Bryan Bickell?

Can the Blackhawks afford to re-sign Bryan Bickell?

CSNCHICAGO/ESPN CHICAGO: Re-signing winger Bryan Bickell has become a priority for Chicago Blackhawks management. Bickell is an unrestricted free agent this summer whose playoff performance has increased his value. Bickell would like to re-sign with the Blackhawks, but the length and value of his new contract could make it tough for the ‘Hawks, who have limited cap space and other free agents to consider retaining.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks currently have 21 players under contract for next season, but only a little over $2 million in cap space. Apart from Bickell, their other notable UFAs include backup goalie Ray Emery, defenseman Michal Rozsival, and forwards Viktor Stalberg, Michal Handzus and Jamal Mayers, plus RFAs Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger. That means, once again, the Blackhawks have to dump salary following a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Defenseman Steve Montador ($2.75 million) is a likely compliance buyout candidate, but they’ll have to shed more, leading to speculation they could try to move out Marian Hossa, either via buyout or trading him to a club which buys him out and then he re-signs a cheaper contract with the Blackhawks. Regardless, even if they free up enough to re-sign Bickell, they’ll barely have enough for Leddy and Kruger. Stalberg, Handzus, Mayers and perhaps Rozsival are goners.

DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: Helene St. James believes the Red Wings will have their eye upon Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg, while Ansar Khan reports the Wings are hoping to re-sign pending UFAs Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller, while Damien Brunner and the Wings hope to find common ground in contract talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have over $11 million in cap space, so they’ll have plenty to re-sign Brunner, Cleary and Miller, but in retaining their key free agents, they might not have enough to be major players in this summer’s UFA market. Don’t be surprised if they use their compliance buyouts this summer on Todd Bertuzzi ($2.o75 million) and Mikael Samuelsson ($3 million) to free up additional cap space.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz reports pending UFA winger Raffi Torres hopes to re-sign with the Sharks.


  1. Bickell in Chicago is history, nothing to talk about here. Some team will overpay to get him, I see as much as 3 to 4M a year.

  2. Bickell is overrated player. A product of playing with an excellent team.

    • Overrated to the degree of what he will get paid, possibly, but overrated no. Bryan Bickell has shown tremendous growth over his time with Chicago. He took a step back point wise last year, but picked it up by working his defensive and physical game. Bickell is easily the type of play who given some skill around him and the opportunity who is either an above excellent 3rd line guy, or a solid 2nd line guy. Top 3, absolutely not. But he has the character, two way game, and physicality that any team could want. If you can get a 3-3.5 million, that is a good price.

      • Many people here forget hockey is a 200 foot game and this guy has size, can be plugged in up and down the lineup (agreed not really top 3) can be used on pk will stand in front of the net on pp, battles every shift career plus player sure he said not flashy or overly fast but many teams I am sure would love to have him at 3 mill a year. Everybody overpays UFAs that’s pretty much the reason a guy goes UFA to make more money somewhere else. If you want them that bad you will pay more for them simple economics really

        • Bickel does not play on PK. Known fact. Does not mean he can’t but you can’t go against stats. He is not used on PK by Hawks last year or this year or teh year before.

          • With who the Hawks have to put on the ice for a playoff no I don’t figure he sees much time there with that line up but at 6’2 200 some lbs you could stick him in front of the net on th pp if you were a team to pick him up. Really man I’m not going to argue with a guy who would send out a 3 – 4 million dollar offer sheet on a back up goalie but dosent think Bickell is worth 3 million

          • Shticky, you really need to learn how to read. I mean all you have to do is scroll up and read very 1st post. Don’t they teach you how to read in American/Canada?

  3. Who gets Bickell will depend on who is adding the most years to the deal in the $3-3.5 mill range. Imo

    • You are likely right, however he will likely not get many offers until after Clarkson comes off the market it, be it via the Devils or another team. IMO

  4. A third line guy like that who has size, plays good defensively, fore checks hard and gets around 30 points a year is definitely worth 3 mill a year for 3 or 4 years 4 mill is a bit of an over payment IMO. When you look at what Clarkson is going to get or even Horton or for that matter alot of other guys around the league that have worse numbers worse +- and are smaller type guys playing on checking lines. Bickell is worth 3 mill.

    • Bickell is worth 3-3.5 m but he will get more. Unless he decides to stay in chi and be on a contender for years to come. There are a lot of GM that over pay. If the cap wasn’t going down I would say gets 4m from some one, and still might because its going to take 4 mil to pry him out of chi. Is he worth it? No.

      • 1 thing I think we can all probably come close to agreeing on, out of Clarkson Horton and Bickell, he will probably be the less expensive of the big 3 power forward type options…thus if he is a bust it won’t be as bad for who ever signs him compared to if you signed Clarkson and he dosent produce or injuries catch up with Horton, Bickell is the safer bet I think and because of that probably has the most upside.

        • If he turned out to be a 20 goal 40-50 point kind of guy playing physical on your second line what a steal he would be at 3-3.5 for 5 years sure the cap is going down next year but it won’t take long for it to rebound some of the UFAs signed this year will look like gem deals in 4…

          • I agree he will the least expensive and least proven player compared to the Clarkson and Horton. I wouldn’t sign him to 4 mil but for another team to get him away from chi I think it will cost 4. Chi will offer 3-3.5 to keep him unless they are not buying out anyone and can’t afford him.

  5. In regards to the scenario about trading Hossa to another team and have him bought out, only for the Blackhawks to resign him to smaller contract…..

    I am pretty sure I read elsewhere that the league would not allow something like that to happen. It would circumvent the spirit of the compliance buyout rules. The current rule is that a player that is bought out cannot resign with the same team for a year.

    Otherwise, you would have rich teams like the NY Rangers offering a low budget team a trade for Brad Richards……give them the money to buy out Richards contract and then turn around and sign him to a cap friendly $2M/year deal. Only the rich teams would be able to do this and it would get away from the spirit of the compliance buyout.

  6. does anyone know the rules around buyouts?
    Hawks buyout and re-sign Hossa notion is intriguing
    he’d be getting a nice chunk, 1.3 for the next 16 years
    wonder how much he would re-sign for ? assuming the term would be less

    • The compliance buyout is two-thirds the remaining value for players 26 & older (one-third for 25 & younger), which won’t count against the cap hit.

      The normal buyout calculation remains two-thirds the remaining value (26 & older, one-third for 25 & younger) spread over twice the remaining tenure, which counts against the cap.

      • Lyle , thanks I understand that part but there are no rules saying a team could not negotiate with the player to buy him out and they sign him to a contract far below his market value? i.e Hosaa gets bought out and then signed to a contact to make up the balance (1/3 ) spread out over several years.
        so he gets bought out 1.3 million over 16 years and then signs a 5 year deal at 2 mil for instance to make up the 1/3 lost . Seems like a way to circumvent the cap

        • It isn’t. The buyout total has no bearing upon what he subsequently signs with another club.

        • I believe there is a rule that if a team buys out a player they cannot sign him again for another year. Which would be why the Hawks would have to trade him to another team for them to buy him out then try to sign him. I really don’t see that being an option with Hossa though

          • I would just say this, if this is the case teams like a Pitts and Wash could trade stars (Ovi – Crosby) Buy them out at 2/3rds have them resign atcheap cheap contracts and save all that cap space to sign other stars. With each team having 2 of these freebie buy outs Mtl and NYR not included i dont think it will take Bettman long to stop that.

          • Hmm I’m not so sure Bettman would…why would he want to stop the owners form saving money? Therefore increasing their profits and revenue I really don’t think Betman would have any problem with this, Fher on the otherhand might not like it much…lol

          • Use your example yes the owners of big teams would be on the hook for Sids and Ovis contract so there is a bit of over spending there but on the otherhand for the rest of the owners you have just reset the bar at a lower rate think about it if Sid and the best players are no making 5 – 6 mill a year smaller market teams will be able to say when they are negotiating. A contract well the best player in the league makes 5 mill so I’m only going to give you 2.5mill it would save the league millions and cost the union and the players who had a hand in making these rules a lot more…In terms of money and leverage.

          • This is a loop hole that would work to the league and owners advantage for a change instead of Gms agents and players circumventing the cap by frontloading ridiculous long term deals. It could finally provide some balance.

          • Dino – the problem with your idea is that the team that Crosby gets traded to would have to buy Crosby out. If you are Pit GM would you trust another GM to actually buy Crosby out. I sure as hell wouldn’t. Who wouldn’t want the best player in the world on their team.
            I don’t see any star players getting traded to be bought out to resign with original team. To much of a risk. I don’t think you can guaranty they do it.

          • The other issue at play….it’s unclear how long Hossa would need to be on new team roster before the buyout happens. It definitely can’t happen in September as stated under CBA rules…but can it happen during the other buyout window of late June? There are two buyout windows at the end of June before UFA starts and in September after arbitration hearings are done. The September time says a buyout player must be on the roster n the last trade deadline.

      • The big $64,000 question….can a team acquire a player like Hossa then buy him out within a week of acquiring him?
        If so what would the deal be like….Hossa + money for buyout + some compensation of a draft pick or young player to team X who then buys out Hossa then he signs a cheap league minimum contract.

        • There is another possible problem.
          After the first player got ripped off by the owners, every player would refuse to resign until they correct the system or until they finished the lawsuit the Players Association would throw at them.
          Don’t forget teams have a floor they must spend to anyway. The players won’t forget the GM who pulls that stunt either.

        • Never mind the GM of the Hawks or whoever do you really think a decent player is going to sign a contract that is that much of a haircut and trust the GM of team X trades him back? So the GM of Team X just really hosed the Hawks Hossa on the cheap contract plus money plus prospects and then says screw you Chicago….no there are way to many moving parts and snake in the grass Gms for this to ever work countries have gone to war for less…lol

          • Plus I’m pretty certain this would be considered collusion which is against the law at any rate.

          • They wouldn’t have hosed him…..Team X would acquire Hossa at his current contract. When they buy him out any other team, including Chicago could sign him.

          • LOL ya you’re right srry that’s where all the excitement (beers) of game one started to talking I guess…

  7. I dont see Hawks resigning Bickell. Hawks have a history of producing big bodies though thier draft and they will get another body to replace Bickell. All Hawks is trying to do to is up the price that want for Bickells rights. Every team and players that is hitting free agency does this. Hawks will get a third round pick for Bickell and they will also try and trade Emery’s rights as well. Compliance buyout option is very intruiging. I am sure teams will find ways to circumvent the current CBA. The only issue I see is will there be loyalty from the player? And how will other teams offers affect the price for a new contract? I am sure if Hossa is bought out there will be atleast 5 teams willing to give him 5 years at 5/yr.

  8. So why doesn’t the NHL get in front of this and make a rule against the trading of a player to be bought out and then resign with the original team.
    They made a rule against long term deals (like Hossa, Luongo, ect) before the new CBA.
    Who all has to sign off on a new rule? NHL and NHLPA?

  9. I don’t see how a trade buyout resign (by original team) is a loop hole in reality.

    There are very few teams who have the finances to carry the bad contract for another team and to do it they are going to expect a return picks or prospects. And they also have to have a ‘free’ compliance buyout and likely not be a direct rival under the new realignment – that is a fairly thin say count on one hand list of maybe candidates for this supposed loophole.

    On balance Detroit or New york seem like the only two teams likely to try if any- Toronto and and Habs could but they strike me as more conservative.

  10. bickell has totally hit the jackpot with his playoff performance and will be able to get a nice new contract with term . he could get close to 4 mill over 5 years .
    chicago will be able to wheel and deal at the draft .i could see Leddy being traded .he has put up good numbers so far in his career and will be looking for a raise .chicago could move him for another young dman who is still on an entry level contract and ready to play in the nhl

  11. If Hossa is traded.. I’m hoping Bryan Murray gets in front of the line.

    I want the Sens to undo the stupidity of John Muckler and get Hossa back. He is still valued and admired by Sens fans…

    Sens have the young players to deal and the cap room to fit it in…

    Some players take longer to develop. Bickell is a good power forward. If he doesn’t sign in Chicago because of the cap room… then 29 other teams will be after him..

  12. bickel is a decent, useful player. has a mean streak, plays with sandpaper. plenty of teams can use him. but over an 82 game season, his role may be diminished. he will be sought, but I would not overpay.