Free-agent challenge starts now for Hawks 

June, 14, 2010

The Chicago Blackhawks' potential salary cap issues -- in regard to next season -- have been pretty well documented. In the coming days, weeks and months, those issues will come into sharper focus.

For instance, the Hawks' 2010-11 team cap number will be reduced by approximately $3.8 million as a result of the individual performance bonus overage from the recently concluded campaign. In other words, if the upper end of the team salary range went up $2 million (as most expect that it will -- so long as the NHLPA agrees to the five percent inflator) to $58.8 million, the Hawks' max team cap number would be roughly $55M.

That's a pretty big problem when you consider they already have 14 players under contract for next season at a combined cap hit of more than $57M.

To see which members of the champion Blackhawks might strike it rich in free agency this summer, you must be an ESPN Insider.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.