The Blackhawks realize there's a salary cap, right? And that Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet make too much money already? And 12 year contracts for 30-year-old forwards might not be a good idea? Oh, and those guys named Kane, Versteeg and Toews will all want raises in a year or two, right? Right?
Apparently the Hawks think that to get past the Conference Finals, they needed to commit more than $5 million a year of their salary cap for the next 12 years to the most ridiculed star player in the league. Amazing. No wonder they couldn't re-sign Matt Walker. Marian Hossa is good, but was he worth this?
Who would have thought that the Chicago fucking Blackhawks would be the most aggressive team in free agency two years in a row, throwing around big contracts to the splashiest free agents on the market. Is Rocky Wirtz that determined to prove he's not his dead father, "Dollar" Bill Wirtz? We get it, Rock. Dad's dead. Home games are on TV. We know. The team is willing to spend to compete. Bully for you. But damn, this still looks risky and maybe a little foolish. The fallout could be serious.
One wrinkle is the structure of the deal. TSN says more than $59 million of the money is in the first eight years of the contract, meaning that less than a million dollars a year remain on the deal during the last four making it a prime situation for him to walk away and retire or be bought out from his contract at a pretty small penalty to Chicago. But eight years is still pretty damn long.
Look, we get that Hossa is an all-star talent. He's good with the puck, is a gifted skater and makes the Hawks the No. 1 rival for the Red Wings in the Western Conference (sorry Sharks). But that status is guaranteed for about one season. That's when the salary cap could go down because of reduced league revenues due to the economy. Pair that with big raises for young star players and the Hawks could be looking at some very difficult decisions.
From our perspective as Blues fans, it makes the Central Division that much more competitive -- possibly the most difficult division in the NHL. But the drama this could create for the Hawks is so juicy. I can't wait for Kane and Toews to hit RFA status and see the Hawks not be able to match. Blues, keep some cap space open for that day, please. Remember, the Blues wanted to trade all three first round picks to move up for Kane three drafts ago. Or, I'm sure T.J. Oshie would do whatever he could to bring his Fighting Sioux brother down I-55.
Our friends at Second City Hockey were on the verge of passing out from the news. From their running commentary today:
I'm literally at a loss for words now. It's all so scrambled. Hossa at a tick over just 5 million is a fine number, and if I was willing to go that high for Havlat, you'd have to be for Hossa who's simply a better player. But 12 years? Unless it's totally front-loaded? We'll need details. I think people also need to widen the focus past Hossa's playoff performance last season. As I've said, the year before he was a mastadon (yeah, i did), and had two years in Ottawa where he was a point-per-game in the playoffs. Maybe this deal signals the end of Patrick Kane here, though I don't know that it does. If Buff can be jettisoned, possibly Sharp might have to go to (McClure just had a stroke) the core can be kept.
So Blues fans, what do you think? Let us know down below.