The depth that separated the Blackhawks from other teams and helped them win the Stanley Cup is gone.
Andrew Ladd became the latest salary cap casualty on Thursday when he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a second-round draft pick.
Also on Thursday, the Hawks officially said goodbye to Adam Burish when he signed a two-year contract with Dallas as an unrestricted free agent.
What a week. Let's recap.
Gone are Ladd, Burish, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, John Madden, Nick Boynton and possibly Jordan Hendry.
That's roughly $10 million in committed salaries for Ladd, Byfuglien, Versteeg and Sopel off the books for 2010-11.
The new Hawks are John Scott, Marty Reasoner, Vishnevskiy and Viktor Stalberg. Combined they would make less than $4 million if they're all on the opening night roster, which is no guarantee.
Scott was signed as a free agent Thursday night, getting a one-year, $1 million deal. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound defenseman can fight and play physical, which is why general manager Stan Bowman went out and got him.
General manager Stan Bowman said he still might sign another free agent in the coming days, but for now this is how the depth charts looks:
This is still going to be one of the best teams in the league, folks. I think.
FREE AGENT RECAP
The first day of free agency came and went Thursday with the top prize, Ilya Kovalchuk, still unsigned. The Kings want him, but not at a stupid price.
Goalies Evgeni Nabokov, Marty Turco and Jose Theodore are available as well.
So are Paul Kariya, Mike Modano, John Madden, Miro Satan, Jere Lehtinen, Max Afinogenov, Matthew Lombardi, Chris Higgins and Alex Frolov.
Lombardi would be a nice pickup for somebody. The Hawks might not have enough money.
I like what Vancouver has done in the last week, trading for defenseman Keith Ballard and signing defenseman Dan Hamhuis on Thursday as a free agent. The Canucks needed big-time help on defense and got it.
Pittsburgh made two nice pickups on defense in Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.
Good signings include Ray Whitney by Phoenix, Colby Armstrong by Toronto, Anton Volchenkov by New Jersey and goalie Chris Mason by Atlanta.
What was Calgary GM Darryl Sutter thinking, bringing back Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay? That makes the dreary Flames better?
And why did Flyers GM Paul Holmgren think he needed aging defenseman Sean O'Donnell and tough guy Jody Shelley?
The Rangers signed enforcer Derek Boogaard for four years to play three minutes a game. Why?
And finally, are the Sharks still Cup contenders with Antero Niittymaki as their No. 1 goalie? Don’t see it.