Summer Skate: Chicago Blackhawks

With limited fiscal flexibility, Chicago will have to depend on its stars

Updated: September 6, 2011, 2:31 PM ET
By Rob Vollman and Corey Pronman | Hockey Prospectus

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider takes the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with Chicago. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks ran into some bad luck coming off their Stanley Cup-winning season, losing many close games in 2010-11. That trend continued in the postseason, as they lost in seven games to the powerhouse that was the Vancouver Canucks in the first round despite outscoring them.

This offseason the Blackhawks dealt Brian Campbell to Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon -- the one who gave Campbell his outrageous contract in Chicago in the first place -- to free up cap space and keep players like Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp.

The Blackhawks were then forced to retool their depth lines with even less cap space than last year, which leaves Chicago's fate even more dependent on the play of its big stars than last year. Fortunately for the Hawks, one of their biggest stars still seems to be on the rise.

Corey Pronman is ESPN's NHL Draft and Prospects analyst. He provides analysis on the top draft-eligible players, prospects drafted by NHL teams and all other relevant prospect information. He lives in New York.