(CBS) With the trade of forwards Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Hurricanes on Wednesday, the Blackhawks opened up about $5 million in salary cap space.
So what’s the plan on how to use that this offseason? It would seem that re-signing forward Andrew Shaw would be a priority given his versatility and production, but general manager Stan Bowman isn’t quite certain what the numbers will be until the 2016-’17 salary cap figure is announced. It’s expected to be around $73 million and $74 million.
“It’s hard to say what a priority is,” Bowman said when directly asked if re-signing Shaw is the priority. “Certainly, that’s on the things we’re going to be investigating. Once we get the salary cap number and put it in and get how much money we have to spend and what the contract would look like for Shaw, so I guess in that way, we don’t necessarily phrase things in priority levels, but we’re certainly going to work on that. It’s unfortunate that we have to wait so long to get the (salary cap) number, but that’s obviously the system we have.
“We should have that next week. At that point, we’ll be able to formulate a plan over the next few weeks and start shaping our roster for next season.”
Shaw, who turns 25 in July, is a gritty, hard worker who’s versatile enough to play on several lines and also the special-teams units. Shaw had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 78 games for the Blackhawks last season. He’s also been a part of two Stanley Cup winners, in 2013 and 2015, when he had 12 points in 23 postseason games.
Shaw has expressed a desire to stay in Chicago.
“The way Andrew played, we obviously like what he brings to the table, and we’d like to try to make something work,” Bowman said. “I think this is a step in the right direction. We certainly had to move Bickell to have some flexibility as we go into next season. You know, there’s still the unknown of where the salary cap is going to be, so it’s really tough to predict what’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks in terms of both the contract. We have had discussions with them, and we’re working through that — and then we still don’t know yet what the parameters are for next year. It’s still too early. I realize everyone wants an answer to that question, but it’s just too hard to make guesses at this point.”