CHICAGO -- Someone who was a Chicago Blackhawk on Friday won’t be when the NHL season begins.
That’s the reality of the Blackhawks' salary-cap situation. The Blackhawks are around $1.3 million above the $69 million cap for next season and must get under it before they set their roster. To do so, they will have to trade at least one player.
Blackhawks players acknowledged the team’s salary-cap issue prior to their fan convention on Friday.
"Yeah, I know," Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell said about someone having to go before the season. "I haven't really looked too much into it. There's a couple adjustments that need to take part to get through this cap thing, but I’m not hearing anything, which is good. It's going to work out the way it is, and, hopefully, it will work for the best."
A number of Blackhawks have been associated with trade rumors throughout the offseason. Defenseman Johnny Oduya has been one of those players. Oduya said Friday he expected to return for another season, but he also has been around long enough to realize anything can happen. He has one season remaining on his contract and has a cap hit of $3.375 million for next season.
"I wouldn’t say nervous, but you know the reality of the business," Oduya said. "And I’ve been around it for a couple of these situations where you might be a little bit over. Or, on the other hand, you’re the cheaper player and you can fit in in a different way. It’s not really much you can do but realize the situation and you prepare for the season the same way.
"I think they’re happy with my play from last year. Like I said, it’s a new situation for next year. We’ll see what happens. I’m very, very happy to be here. This is the place where I really enjoy playing hockey, and I’ve loved it here so far. And I think I’ll like it in the future, too. If that’s not the case, I'll go somewhere else."
Forward Patrick Sharp also was rumored to be on the trading block this summer. His agent, Rick Curran, said recently the Blackhawks would not be trading Sharp.
Sharp addressed those rumors himself on Friday.
"There’s going to be talk, discussion, rumors," Sharp said. "It’s part of the business. But I think what my agent said was pretty self-explanatory. I’ve been able to get away from hockey and kind of relax a little bit. Just got back from Connecticut with my family yesterday. Looking forward to training and playing a great next year."
So, who’s going to be traded?
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman wouldn’t reveal that, but he said he wasn’t concerned about it.
"We certainly have to be ready to go by October," Bowman said. "That’s the goal. A lot of things change between now and then. You have to display some patience.
"Like I said all along, we have some ideas of what we’re going to do. A lot of things happen once camps open both for us and for other teams, in terms of players maybe you expect to meet expectations don’t quite do it and certain teams are looking around trying to find players. I always think you're always in a good position when you have a lot of established players. I think that’s better than the other way around."