Sharks Sign Hjalmarsson to Offer Sheet

Niklas Hjalmarsson

The San Jose Sharks have signed defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a 4 year $14 million offer sheet. The Chicago Blackhawk is a restricted free agent after earning about $600,000 this past season. Chciago has one week to match the Sharks offer, or receive compensation of a first and thrid round pick from San Jose.

The move puts even more cap perssure on Chicago, as they have had to move two key members of their Stanley Cup winning team in the past few weeks. Power forward Dustin Byfuglien was traded prior to the NHL Entry Draft and later joined by ex-Hawk Andrew Ladd in Atlanta while Kris Versteeg was moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs. These moves were precipitated by the need to get under the NHL salary cap with expensive contract extensions kicking in for team leaders Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

The Blackhawks were probably hoping they would be able to re-sign Hjalmarsson to a reasonable contract and fit him back into the roster. The move by the Sharks would tag Hjalmarsson will a $3.5M cap hit and force Chicago to exceed their “reasonable” expectations. They’ll either lose another key defenceman or have to make another move to free up cap space.

Chicago also has to try and re-sign RFA netminder Antti Niemi to a new contract. He is believed to be looking for a contract in the neighbourhood of $4M or at least something similar to the deal given to Jaroslav Halak ($3.75M per year).

Chicago currenlty has 14 players signed at a cap hit of about $55.8M. That leaves them with only $3.6M to fill out their roster, typically around 21 or 22 players. They would need to add at least 7 more players for little more than $500,000 each.

Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)
Patrick Sharp ($3.900m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Tomas Kopecky ($1.200m)
Marty Reasoner ($1.150m) / Troy Brouwer ($1.025m) / Viktor Stalberg ($0.850m)
Brian Campbell ($7.143m) / Duncan Keith ($5.538m)
Brent Seabrook ($3.500m) / John Scott ($0.512m)
Cristobal Huet ($5.625m)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
ROSTER: 14; CAP: $59.4m; CARRY-OVER PENALTY: $4.158m
PAYROLL: $55.852m; BONUSES: $0.065m; CAP ROOM: $3.613m

If Chicago doesn’t match the offer sheet, it could put the pressure right back on San Jose though. They would have 18 players signed and $3.1375M in cap space. They would need at least 3 more forwards as they have only nice currently signed.

If they fill two of those spots at a minimum of $500,000 that would leave them only $2.1375M to sign Devin Setoguchi and leave some breathing room.

Dany Heatley ($7.500m) / Joe Thornton ($7.200m) / Patrick Marleau ($6.900m)
Joe Pavelski ($4.000m) / Ryane Clowe ($3.625m) / Torrey Mitchell ($1.367m)
Logan Couture ($1.242m) / Jamie McGinn ($0.997m) / Scott Nichol ($0.760m)
Dan Boyle ($6.667m) / * Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($3.100m) / Douglas Murray ($2.500m)
Niclas Wallin ($2.500m) / Kent Huskins ($1.700m)
Jason Demers ($0.543m)
Antero Niittymaki ($2.000m) / Thomas Greiss ($0.550m)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
ROSTER: 18; CAP: $59.4m; CARRY-OVER PENALTY: $0.328m
PAYROLL: $56.978m; BONUSES: $0.715m; CAP ROOM: $3.137m

Something will have to give either with Chicago or with San Jose. The Sharks are in a slightly better cap situation, but certainly do not have much room. Could this be a presursor to something else from either of the top teams in the West? Where do you think Hjalmarsson ends up and who else gets moved?


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