The Chicago Blackhawks are all at home now after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Vegas Golden Knights.
We can definitely expect a couple of roster changes as general manager Stan Bowman continues to revamp his roster with a small youth movement.
Of course one of the biggest question marks is the goalie position where Corey Crawford will become UFA and Bowman will have to decide whether he keeps Crawford around or decides to dabble in the free agent market.
Chicago will need some cap space and according to Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, Bowman already has a plan to get some.
The duo reports that both Olli Maatta and Zack Smith are expected to be bought out and that would free up a combined $5.5million in salary cap space.
"Maatta is not the problem. He and the similarly maligned Koekkoek turned into quite a solid third pairing in the weeks leading up to the pause, and Maatta turned into an offensive juggernaut in Edmonton with three goals during the postseason. Buying out Maatta is not a simple case of addition by subtraction. It’s just business. Maatta is signed through the 2022-23 season at a $4.083 million cap hit, and the Blackhawks simply need to spend that money elsewhere, and they have enough young defensemen on entry-level contracts to step in for him.
Maatta and Smith (who is signed for one more season at $3.25 million) are the only real buyout candidates on the roster, so they have to be bought out to keep the Blackhawks compliant under the flat cap. Buying out Maatta would save the Blackhawks a little more than $3.4 million over the next two seasons, and would cost them just $680,567 a year from 2022-2024. Buying out Smith would save the Blackhawks $2.167 million next season, and cost them $1.083 million in 2021-22. "
Are you ready to see them go?