The Chicago Blackhawks, who are being choked by the $75 million salary cap, have spent the past week changing the direction of their franchise after being swept in the first round by the Nashville Predators. With star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both owning $10.5 million salaries, the Hawks were forced to get creative and they did.
Earlier this week, the Blackhawks announced that Marian Hossa would miss the entire 2017-2018 season with a progressive skin disorder, saving the team $5.275 million.
On Friday before the NHL Draft began in the Hawks hometown, they made two massive transactions. First, the Hawks sent defenseman Nicklas Hjalmarsson ($4.1 million cap hit) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin.
The Hawks then sent Russian winger Artemi Panarin ($6M) and Tyler Motte to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for former Blackhawk Brandon Saad ($6M). The Blackhawks also acquired minor-league goaltender Anton Forsberg in the deal.