I hope I’m wrong, but the Blackhawks apparently were so desperate to dump Patrick Sharp that they appeared to accept the two worst players in a four-player deal announced Friday night while saving themselves only $2.5 million in salary.
If there's any truth to the idea general manager Stan Bowman began the offseason by asking for an NHL forward, a prospect and a draft choice for Sharp, then he badly overplayed his hand.
Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe the rest of the league was stiffing him because every team knew how much financial trouble the Hawks were in as Patrick Kane’s and Jonathan Toews’ $10.5 million salaries kick in next season.
But the numbers are the numbers, and they say a lot about this deal.
Going to Dallas with Sharp and his $5.9 million cap hit is highly regarded, young, inexpensive defenseman Stephen Johns and his $800,000 salary.
The key words are young and inexpensive because the Hawks defense is neither, and Trevor Daley doesn't help those concerns as he comes to Chicago with forward Ryan Garbutt.
Daley's 2015-16 salary is $3.3 million, while Garbutt's average annual value is $1.8 million, but the Stars are paying half of Garbutt's salary.
There's your $2.5 million cap savings, max, and there goes Johnny Oduya.
Bowman said Friday night that Oduya's exit might not necessarily be the case, but Daley's acquisition seems to end the idea of re-signing the defenseman who helped the Hawks win their last two Stanley Cups.
The Hawks likely are hoping the new acquisition can be as trusted by coach Joel Quenneville as Oduya was.
But it would be timely to point out that Quenneville's trust is a hard thing for newcomers to earn. See Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen for details.
Daley is solid and has some offensive skills, but he's a below average Corsi For player in five of the last six seasons. That's not what the Hawks need, but it might be hidden by playing with Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Daley is a left-handed shot, which certainly is something the Hawks looked for in replacing Oduya. Daley also is a shot-blocker, so he’ll fit in well on the blue line in that regard.
Garbutt is a body. He's an agitating body but still just a body when you're talking about a Stanley Cup champion. His surprising Corsi For number that averages about 50 percent the last two seasons is better than the alternative.
Bowman attempted to deflect the salary cap as the biggest motivation for dealing a player who can be a top-six forward. Bowman described the deal as an “old-fashioned hockey trade.’’
Most GMs would fall back on salary-cap reasons when they are trading away the best player in the deal and perhaps the best two.
Add in the trade of Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets, and the defending champions have dealt two top-six forwards for questions and hope.