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Blackhawks Wondering What Went Wrong

Those of us on the wrong side of 40 remember when the Chicago Blackhawks were terrible. Those days have long-passed and Chicago has been one of the top teams in the league recently. Until this year. Now, they’re trying to figure out how they were swept by a Nashville team that isn’t considered a legitimate contender.

Sure, Nashville has Pekka Rinne and P.K. Subban, but you don’t expect to get beat by Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.
Part of the problem is Chicago’s salary cap. They’re simply paying too much money to several players and have seen their depth take a hit because of that.

Paying Patrick Kane $10.5 million per year is a bit much, but Jonathan Toews getting the same amount is a bit overboard. Although what really hurts is Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov combining for nearly $10 million per season. Chicago is getting a bargain in Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford is a bit overpaid at $6 million, but not greatly so.

The Blackhawks are going to have to work some magic to escape the salary cap hole they’ve put themselves in. Teams aren’t going to bend over to help Chicago. Many players have no movement clauses even if Chicago was able to find a willing taker.

The Blackhawks may be able to work out something with Las Vegas or a team like Arizona or New Jersey. While they’ll gain cap space, they’ll lose prospects and picks at the same time.

The Blackhawks are used to winning Stanley Cups recently, not getting swept in the first round. Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said it will not happen again. But he’s going to have work some father-like magic to prevent it from taking place. The Blackhawks have had a good run, but unless something changes it’s going to be a thing of the past.

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