The way I figure it, the Blackhawks can stay under the NHL's $59.4 million salary cap with 21 players thanks to the favorable $2.75 million arbitration award goalie Antti Niemi received on Saturday.
It would leave only approximately $246,000 under the cap to start the season, but that number could be a bit larger if general manager Stan Bowman decides to carry only 20 players.
With their Rockford farm team just 90 minutes away, it's certainly possible the Hawks could go with 20 players at the start of the year.
My roster of 21 includes nine players who make less than $900,000 in John Scott, Bryan Bickell, Jack Skille, Jake Dowell, Jeff Taffe, Hannu Toivonen, Viktor Stalberg, Jordan Hendry and Jassen Cullimore.
Combined those nine would earn about $5.178 million.
Add that to the $53.9 million for Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Niemi, and you get roughly $59.078.
Are these numbers what Bowman is thinking? Maybe we'll find out later on Saturday, although the Hawks have made no guarantee the GM will speak to the media.
Brouwer – Toews – Kane
Kopecky – Sharp – Hossa
Stalberg – Bolland – Skille
Bickell – Taffe – Dowell
Keith – Seabrook
Campbell – Hjalmarsson
Scott – Hendry
Niemi and Toivonen