When the NHL revealed that the upper limit on the league salary cap would only be at $69 million for the 2014-15 season, the Chicago Blackhawks were forced to make some changes to fit under that number. On Saturday, they made their first move to do so, sending forward Brandon Bollig to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The move gave the Blackhawks two selections in the third round after being left without one in the second thanks to a trade that sent the 58th pick in the draft to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman David Rundblad.
With that pick acquired for Bollig, the Blackhawks acquired Matheson Iacopelli from the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks. In 58 games with that team, he scored 41 goals and added 23 assists, and he's committed to attend Western Michigan University in 2015.
As for Bollig, he was set to play under a new three-year contract extension that he signed last year with the Hawks. The cap hit on the deal is $1.25 million, and with the team already over the salary cap by nearly $500,000, the Hawks needed to move a player like Bollig to simply get under the cap before the season begins.
Unfortunately for Bollig, he wasn't exactly anticipating being traded:
In 82 regular season games for Chicago, Bollig scored seven goals and added seven assists, but his ice time was reduced as the season wore on because of chronic undisciplined play on the ice. In the postseason he was a virtual non-entity, picking up one assist in 15 games and only averaging 6:24 of ice time per game.
In Calgary, Bollig should find a fresh start and more playing opportunities as that team rebuilds. It wouldn't be a stretch to see him play some second or third line minutes for the team, and team president Brian Burke is known for his willingness to take chances on guys who add grit to the lineup.