Cleat Geeks

Blackhawks Trade Young Star Teravainen & Bickell in Salary Cap Dump

After yet another Stanley Cup coming home to Chicago in 2015, the Chicago Blackhawks began yet another tough off-season once again.  In the past, the Hawks lost players such as Antti Niemi, Dave Bolland, Dustin Byfuglin to the well-known not so friendly NHL salary cap. Last off-season, the Hawks lost young star forward Brandon Sadd mainly due to the fact that the cap was not friendly to GM Stan Bowman once again. 

 It’s hard to keep everyone, and we saw a glimpse of that yet again on Wednesday as the Hawks traded forwards Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for two draft picks ( a 2016 second round pick and a third round for 2017).   

BryanBickellStan Bowen finally did it. He has now traded his massive mistake in Bryan Bickell.  Yes, Bickell tied the game vs. Boston in game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, but his day in and day out performance was not what the Blackhawks thought they were getting after his extension in 2013.  Bickell, 30, spoke about his lackluster play over the past few seasons. He states:  “ Obviously, it’s nice to get paid for what you’ve done,” Bickell said. “There are regular season players and playoff players. I was pretty much a playoff player. All the rumors and the talk about how you’re not performing, you’re not doing this, you’re not doing that — I think I helped out in both Cup runs. I definitely did what I needed to do.” A team like the Hawks, who were looking to repeat in 2014 and came so close, regular season domination is just as important as postseason. Bryan Bickell cannot just wait until the playoffs, his obligation to the team is to got it going in the regular season and hit full stride come playoff time.  

Bryan Bickell had no goals last season with the Blackhawks, ultimately being sent down to the AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. In Rockford, he was a 20 goal scorer, which showed Bickell possessed the skill, but couldn’t execute it at a higher level.

Teuvo Teravainen, 21, was drafted 18th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012. Turbo, as was his nickname among the team, was ranked the second best skater out of Europe in his draft class. Tervainen made his NHL debut on March 15, 2014 and from then on, looked to be a top six forward on the Blackhawks for years to come. Well, it only lasted about two years and the sad reality of the NHL salary cap forced the Blackhawks into yet another tough situation.

The Chicago Blackhawks were in this same bind last off-season.  Brandon Sadd  has just helped the Hawks win their 3rd cup in 6 seasons and was going to get a huge payday. But due to the tough cap and the Hawks locked up core, Sadd would not be able to play next to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the coming years. Signing Sadd was not only a far fetched possibility, but it would put GM Stan Bowmen in a tough financial spot to sign free agents and make moves at the deadline for a playoff run.TeuvoTeravainen

While this move was a shock to fans and even Teuvo: “It was just a normal day and out of nowhere, this happened,” Teravainen said to Mark Lazerus on a phone call to Finland. Bryan Bickell has been shopped for months now and almost was sent to the Maple Leafs at last season’s deadline.  Looking back, if Bickell left and opened up the cap at the deadline, the Blackhawks quite possibly would have acquired a Antoine Vermette type player to bolster the bottom lines for the Blackhawks come playoff time. But a tough Blues team and a sub-par supporting cast, the Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the first round for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

In Other News- The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with F Richard Panik on a one year deal.  The 25 year old has six goals last season and even took a pay cut to stay in Chicago.

What’s next for the Chicago Blackhawks? The NHL Draft is next week, June 24th-25th, where the Hawks possess eight picks, with their first coming not until the second round and highlighting two in the fourth round and two in the fifth round.

Andrew Shaw, a restricted free agent, could be another key contributor in the Stanley Cup era not returning to the Blackhawks next season. But per Mark Lazerus, the Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, Shaw’s agent and Stan Bowen have been talking and will continue their talks at the NHL draft.

Andrew Shaw loves Chicago and a guy like him may settle with the hometown discount, but how could you when you have proven time and time again that you have earned the big paycheck? In today’s world, money talks and no matter how humble you may put yourself out there to be, the big paycheck overtakes it all. And that is what Bowmen and the Blackhawks must see, trading away Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell as a cap dump to reassure Shaw’s return to Chicago next season.

It’s hard for a sports franchise to keep everyone in any professional sports league. For teams to keep the fan base and success going, like the Blackhawks, the tough decisions come in the present but down the road, those unthinkable trades turn into a sigh of relief. Brandon Sadd went to Columbus, but the Blackhawks  got a second line center in Artem Anisimov and a young and promising forward in Artemi Panarin, a probable replacement for Marian Hossa in the core of players for the mighty Blackhawks.  Turning to the draft, the Blackhawks look to find more young guns like Saad and Teuvo Teravainen for they are irreplaceable but not invincible.  

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