Taylor Hall

How Taylor Hall's contract impacts the Blackhawks' salary cap

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The Chicago Blackhawks have made clear their willingness to take on contracts ahead of the NHL Draft this week, and they did exactly that when they acquired Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno from the Boston Bruins.

In exchange, the Blackhawks shipped defensemen Alec Regula and Ian Mitchell to the Bruins, who were looking to shed salary ahead of the start of free agency.

Here’s what all this means for the Blackhawks from a money perspective.

Taylor Hall’s Contract

Hall has two years remaining on his contract, which will come with a $6 million salary cap hit, according to CapFriendly.

That makes his contract the highest given to a forward for the Blackhawks so far, with Tyler Johnson’s $5 million deal close behind. Andreas Athanasiou also just signed a two-year deal worth $4.25 million per season.

The Cap Situation

As of now, the Blackhawks have 10 forwards on their NHL roster according to CapFriendly, but that list will likely include Lukas Reichel ($925,000) and Joey Anderson ($800,000).

If it does, then that would give the Blackhawks 12 total forwards with a salary cap hit of just under $25 million.

One would assume that Foligno would be a target to re-sign with the team, as he’ll be eligible for free agency after he was acquired by the Blackhawks in the Hall deal.

The Blackhawks have three arbitration-eligible players to make decisions on, with Anders Bjork, Philipp Kurashev and Austin Wagner all eligible for qualifying offers.

For defensemen, the Blackhawks have four under contract, with Seth Jones, Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Murphy and Jarred Tinordi. Wyatt Kaiser would seem to be a legitimate contender for a roster spot on his entry-level deal, adding around $900,000 to that amount.

If that happens, the Blackhawks would have just $20.5 million in contracts for five defensemen.

Finally, they have one goaltender on their NHL roster with Petr Mrazek’s $3.8 million cap hit, but either Arvid Soderblom or Drew Commesso would seem to have the inside track at a backup job at around $950,000 on average.

What it All Adds Up To

So far in our exercise we’ve identified at least 19 players that would be on the Blackhawks’ roster as currently constructed. When you add all their cap hits up, it totals out to about $50.2 million.

The Blackhawks will also carry a $2 million cap hit for Jake McCabe, who was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also will carry $1.35 million in hits for Brett Connolly and Henrik Borgstrom, both of whom were bought out, and a $1.94 million cap hit for defenseman Duncan Keith, who retired prior to the 2022-23 season and was subject to a cap recapture penalty.

Factoring those in, the Blackhawks have a total cap liability of $55.5 million for next season so far.

What They Still Need

The Blackhawks would have 12 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders on their roster with this arrangement, meaning they’d need at least one more defenseman to ice an NHL roster.

In all likelihood, the Blackhawks would carry an extra forward and an extra defenseman, meaning that a total of three additional players would be added to the mix.

The NHL’s salary cap floor for the 2023-24 season will be $61.7 million, meaning that the Blackhawks would have to add at least $6.2 million in salary to hit that threshold.

The Blackhawks could also take on additional salary via trade, but can only carry a total of three retained cap hits. They only have two slots left at this time.

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