Blackhawks use team buyouts on Montador, Olesz

Blackhawks use team buyouts on Montador, Olesz
June 27, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said there will be changes to this team. Two of those changes, which will affect the cap more than the active roster, will take play very soon.

The Blackhawks will use their compliance buyouts on defenseman Steve Montador and forward Rostislav Olesz, Bowman said at today’s media availability. Each team, per the new collective bargaining agreement, is allowed two compliance buyouts in the next two seasons.

Montador has two years left on his deal that averages a $2.75 million cap hit. Olesz has one year remaining on his contract that he signed while with the Florida Panthers; that carries a $3.125 cap hit.

With the buyout, a player’s cap hit is completely wiped clean. The team will have to pay two thirds of the remaining contract across twice the remaining term of the deal. Both Montador and Olesz will be placed on waivers immediately. If a player is claimed, then the Blackhawks would save a compliance buyout. If they clear, then the above buyout pay goes into effect.

Bought-out players become free agents on July 5 and can sign with any team other than the one that bought them out.

The Blackhawks’ landscape has changed plenty since Olesz came to the team in the Brian Campbell trade in June of 2011 and Montador signed a four-year deal later that summer. Younger Blackhawks are developing, either at this level or in Rockford, and Bowman said he wants to give Olesz and Montador a chance to continue elsewhere.

“Certainly both players we’re going to be buying out, we’ve had young players emerge over the last couple of years. When you look where we were when we brought them in, we didn’t have (Brandon) Saad or (Andrew) Shaw. We didn’t have (Adam) Clendening,” Bowman said. “Players have taken the next step and shown they’re ready to be here. We wish those two players well. They certainly played well for us, and they’ll have a chance to move on to continue their career somewhere else.”

The Blackhawks, like many other teams, are trying to get down to the $64.3 million cap that goes into effect in the 2013-14 season. That’s where those buyouts come in. The Blackhawks are also trying to re-sign a player or two, including unrestricted free agent Bryan Bickell and restricted free agent Nick Leddy. Bowman said he’d love to keep both; regarding Leddy, he said, “we want to bring Nick back. I’ve talked to his agent, and I expect to get a contract done with him.” It’ll be tougher getting Bickell, who gained much attention with his postseason and could draw several suitors this summer. Bowman’s determined to keep the big forward.

“We want to keep him here,” Bowman said of Bickell. “It’s a puzzle to put together. He wants to be here; he’s said that publicly. We’re going to do everything we can to make that happen.”