NHL Rumors: The Chicago Blackhawks and the Salary Cap
Do the Chicago Blackhawks become sellers now?

Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times:  The New Jersey Devils moved Andy Greene and Blake Coleman for very solid returns. That begs the question. Should Chicago get in on the selling act before the prices come down?

It is a great question for Stan Bowman to consider. Chicago has lost four of their last five games and is falling out of the playoff race again. Suddenly, Erik Gustafsson has some additional value. He is cheaper at just a $1.2 million cap hit. That may entice teams when other options are traded.

The forward core for Chicago gets a boost in value also. Perhaps some team is enticed to take on a Dylan Strome or Brandon Saad. The talk is that the general manager remains committed to both forwards. On the other hand, these prices could make a trade plausible.

Oh, that pesky salary cap problem…

Scott Powers of The Athletic:  The Chicago Blackhawks and Stan Bowman may have a salary cap dilemma again. They feature 11 players with a salary of $3+ million AAV for next season. That leaves little money to move around when the summer comes. Does Bowman ponder moving Robin Lehner at the trade deadline to save some cap space? If he cannot sign him at a reasonable number, he may have to.

Dominik Kubalik will want some more cash after a breakout campaign and then there is Dylan Strome. For Chicago, it is all about figuring out the right way to either buy UFA years or does one do a bridge deal?

Currently, Chicago has 16 long-term players on the NHL roster at a cap hit of nearly $71 million. The Blackhawks expect to have an overage of around $1.235 million and that could still go up or down. The cap space dwindles fast. If Chicago signs Kubalkik, Strome, and Lehner to lower-end deals, that would leave them somewhere around $870,000 for three players. That is why the trade deadline looms a bit larger than it should.

Stan Bowman has several outs so to speak here at the deadline. If he makes a move or two to capitalize on better returns, the GM could gain a little flexibility for the summer and beyond.