Hockey / Sports

Salary cap's wrath sure to visit Blackhawks

If Patrick Sharp is bothered that his name has repeatedly surfaced in trade rumors this summer, the Blackhawks winger isn't showing it.

A relaxed and affable Sharp joined his teammates for the annual Blackhawks Convention on Friday and displayed none of the angst his agent recently said the veteran was feeling.

"There's going to be talk, discussion, rumors -- it's part of the business," Sharp said. "But I think what my agent (Rick Curran) said was pretty self-explanatory. I've been able to get away from hockey and kind of relax a little bit.

"If you start worrying about it and start paying attention to all the speculation and rumors, you're going to drive yourself crazy. It's my job to play hockey, and that's what I'm going to do."

With the Hawks sitting about $2.2 million over the NHL's $69 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season and troubled financial times looming when contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane kick in for '15-16, a roster move or two will happen sooner or later. That has some of the Hawks looking over their shoulders.

"There are a couple adjustments (needed) to get through this cap thing, but I'm not hearing anything -- which is good," winger Bryan Bickell said. "It's going to work out the way it is, and hopefully it will work for the best."

Sharp carries an annual cap hit of $5.9 million, Bickell of $4 million and defenseman Johnny Oduya of $3.375 million. Those numbers make them potential targets if general manager Stan Bowman decides to make a significant move to address the cap.

"You know the reality of the business," said Oduya, who is recovering from a broken right foot suffered in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Kings.

"I've been around for a couple of these situations where you might be a little bit over (the cap) or on the other hand you were the cheaper player ... where you can fit in in a different way. There's not really much you can do (except) realize what the situation is. You prepare for the season the same way.

"I'm very, very happy to be here, and this is a place where I really enjoy playing hockey. I've liked it here so far, and I'd like it in the future. If that's not the case, I'll go somewhere else and play."

Bowman said the Hawks were in no hurry to make a move to get under the cap and that training camp was often a time when teams looked to make roster adjustments.

"We certainly have to be ready to go by October -- that's the goal," the GM said. "You have to display some patience. We have some ideas of what we're going to do.

"A lot of things happen once camps open in terms of players maybe you expect to meet expectations who don't quite do it and certain teams are looking around trying to find players. I always think you're in a good position when you have a lot of established players. That's better than the other way around."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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