The Chicago Blackhawks are currently over the salary cap, using the relief pool created from placing Caleb Jones and Andrew Shaw on long-term injured reserve this week. That may not last for long though, as Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports that the team is “actively” trying to trade Shaw’s contract. The veteran forward is not expected to play again.
By moving it, as PuckPedia explains on Twitter, the team could get under the cap once Jones is healthy enough to return and start accruing cap space for a potential move later in the season. That was the risk of acquiring high-priced talent like Seth Jones, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Tyler Johnson in the offseason, the team is not currently set up to make a big splash partway through the year if they feel this group is good enough to go on a playoff run (first-game performance notwithstanding).
Seravalli tweets that the Shaw contract, which had a $1MM signing bonus and $1.9MM salary this season, is insured, meaning it likely wouldn’t cost an acquiring team much in actual dollars. A team that is already in LTIR could add it without much trouble, or a team that is nowhere near the ceiling could accept it without putting them in a difficult situation.
The Blackhawks of course will have to use an asset to rid themselves of Shaw’s deal, as other teams have done in the past, but it shouldn’t be too expensive. It very well could even become something of a reverse bidding war, with rebuilding teams offering their services for less and less of a return, just to secure something. Regardless, the Blackhawks obviously don’t want to sit in LTIR relief for the entire season as so many of the other teams around the league are currently doing.
That could have been guessed from the way they already jettisoned Brent Seabrook’s deal, though that contract stretched beyond this season and would have had ramifications down the road. Seabrook was sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the offseason–who some would say are the kings of operating in long-term injured reserve–but by taking Johnson’s contract back the Blackhawks actually ended up acquiring a second-round pick in the deal.