The Chicago Blackhawks are still awaiting official word from the NHL on whether or not they will get salary cap relief because of Marian Hossa’s skin condition, but according to a new report, there’s at least a chance that they won’t.
According to The Athletic’s James Mirtle, the league is investigating the Blackhawks’ evaluation that Hossa will be unable to play because of the ailment, which forced him to announce that he will miss the entire 2017-18 season.
The league is looking into Hossa’s case, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, and there is at least a chance that they could deny the Blackhawks cap relief:
“With Hossa’s case, a lot of other teams complained the Blackhawks were getting cap relief….I’m told that even if the independent doctor rules there is something off with the medicals, that doesn’t mean either player will necessarily return to the roster. What it could mean is that the team won’t be permitted to use long-term injured reserve to get cap relief from these contracts.”
That news would be especially rough if the Blackhawks aren’t able to get relief, as they currently sit around $40,000 over the league’s salary cap with Hossa’s deal on the books. Putting him on injured reserve would allow the Blackhawks to add around $5 million in contracts, which they would need to sign a player like Cody Franson or another veteran defenseman to a contract.
The Blackhawks could conceivably get creative with the deals, perhaps jettisoning Jean-Francois Berube or Jordin Tootoo to clear space, but that would then limit their options to add anyone else during the season or at the trade deadline later this year.
The NHL is expected to make their final ruling on Hossa’s LTIR claim before the regular season begins.