If the Blackhawks lose Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals to the Anaheim Ducks, Grantland hockey writer Sean McIndoe thinks an era will end in Chicago.
McIndoe believes due to all the contracts in place, it will be hard for the Blackhawks to make another Stanley Cup run again anytime soon. This doesn’t mean the Blackhawks won’t make the playoffs year after year. It means the Blackhawks won’t advance as far into the playoffs as the fans are accustomed to seeing.
Those Blackhawks are a brilliantly constructed team, but their pending cap crunch has been an inescapable subplot to their postseason. The question, never quite front and center but always just under the surface, has followed them all spring: Is this finally their last run? Last night, with the team facing elimination for the first time this year, everything that happened carried the weighty possibility that we were seeing something special for the last time.
The Grantland writer points out the Blackhawks will have trouble sustaining current talent after Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews’ new contracts impact the future cap space.
They’re fair deals, and other stars will catch up and pass them soon enough, but, man, will they eat a big chunk of cap space.
Players like Brandon Saad, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, and Marian Hossa, who has a front-loaded contract, might not be with the team next season.
One solution McIndoe gives the Blackhawks is trading goalie Corey Crawford away for talent.
Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the win; is it completely crazy to think that maybe he’s the guy they should trade?
Before everyone looks into their crystal ball, lets not forget the 2015 season isn’t over, and the Blackhawks still have a chance to win the 2015 Stanley Cup. But they first have to get past the Ducks in Game 7 on Saturday.