Photo: AP Images
When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last season with one of the youngest rosters in the league, many predicted it was the beginning of a dynasty. After all, most of their key players were 26 or younger.Not so fast. Thanks to the NHL’s hard salary cap (which imposes a strict limit on the amount teams can spend on players), Chicago couldn’t hold on to its talented roster. The team traded away key cogs from its championship run. Now, nearly a quarter way through the new season, the defending champs sit below .500.
As other league’s prepare for their labour negotiations, and owners vie for a hard salary cap to limit costs, they’d be wise to take a close look at the consequences.
It’s one thing to prevent big market teams from hoarding superstars as the Yankees do in baseball, but it’s another to prevent teams from re-signing its own players – players acquired through good drafting and shrewd trading.
The Blackhawks were forced to deconstruct an exciting young team in one of the league’s signature markets. It’s too bad, because we’ve already seen how a Windy City dynasty can propel a sport into record popularity.
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