The NHL salary cap has been bumped from $73 million to $75 million, which may seem insignificant but it makes a world of difference for the Blackhawks. This bump may allow Stan Bowman wiggle his way out of the hole he dug himself. Earlier this off-season there were concerns the cap would remain stagnant, which would’ve sent the Blackhawks front office into a frenzy. The Blackhawks are still about $2.5 million over the cap right now, but that is much more manageable than being $4.5 million over. There are a few important things coming up; the Las Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft selections will be announced tomorrow and the NHL entry-level draft is this weekend. The Blackhawks core players are all protected from being selected by the Golden Knights, and it is a foregone conclusion that Vegas will select defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. There are many reports suggesting the Blackhawks have a deal in place to send Marcus Kruger to the Golden Knights in order to allow them to take Van Riemsdyk, the Blackhawks could trade TVR to another team to block Vegas if they wanted. George McPhee, the GM of the Golden Knights, stated the team already has 6 trades in place which strongly reinforces these reports. In this scenario, Marcus Kruger’s $3+ million contract will come off the books, making the Blackhawks cap situation much more manageable. Some work will still need to be done to retool the roster, and another player may still need to be moved to make this work. Some popular names that have been rumored to be moved include; Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Artem Anisimov and even Artemi Panarin. The problem is that Hossa, Anisimov and Seabrook would have to approve of any trades because of their no movement clauses, and Panarin’s value can’t be stressed enough. This is Stan Bowman’s own fault for giving everyone and their brother a no movement clause and super high contracts. Bowman has painted himself into a corner that I am not certain he can get out of. There has also been speculation that the Blackhawks are going to try and “make a splash” at the draft since it is in Chicago this year. It was rumored that they didn’t want to trade their first-round pick at the deadline because of this, now there is speculation they may try to trade up in the draft. I don’t see a justified reason for this unless they are completely sold on a prospect they won’t be able to nab with their 26th overall selection. I hope Stan Bowman isn’t stupid enough to hamper the short-term future of the Blackhawks just for some good PR at the draft, but he has made some incredibly stupid decisions before so it wouldn’t shock me. I have been one of the few critics of Bowman over the years. Nobody has really questioned him because he has won 3 cups with the Hawks, but I think people are finally starting to realize the problems he has caused for the Blackhawk’s roster. Let’s not forget that Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Hjarmalsson, Sharp, Hossa, Crawford and many other key contributors were with the Blackhawks organization before Bowman was appointed GM. It’s up to him and only him to rectify the situation he put the team in. The Blackhawk’s Stanley Cup window is starting to close and they can’t afford to diminish their roster in any other ways if they want to keep the dynasty rolling.