In Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman’s Pre-Expansion 30 Thoughts, a Chicago Blackhawks note caught the eyes of the hockey world by surprise, one relating to 38-year old Marian Hossa playing his last game in the NHL.
Pre-expansion draft 30 Thoughts: https://t.co/XYOiPSbLXF
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 21, 2017
Report: Marian Hossa May Be Forced to End NHL Career
According to sources, Hossa suffers an allergic reaction to the equipment he wears, thus leading many to believe he will be forced out of the game prematurely with four years left on the 12-year deal he signed in the summer of 2009. Hossa’s blood was apparently getting tested every few weeks since the medication was so potent, yet there was no mention of him moving his no-move clause to provide the Hawks with flexibility in the expansion draft.
If Hossa retires, Chicago would be hit with a cap recapture penalty with the contract being signed pre-2013 CBA of $3.675 million per year for the next four. Almost all of his salary is paid out already with the deal being front-loaded, as his actual salary is $1 million for the remaining four seasons in comparison with his $5.3 million cap hit. The Blackhawks would pay, unless he gets put on long-term injured reserve, something that the Arizona Coyotes know well with Chris Pronger as well as the Detroit Red Wings with Johan Franzen. If Chicago is able to do this, it would be a huge relief to the team’s financial situation, because even with a $2 million boon with the cap going up, Stan Bowman is still $2.5 million in the red.
Outside of the financial situation, Hossa retiring marks the end of an era for a consistent player that adapted to the game as he got older. In seven of eight years from 2000-2009, he scored 30+ goals, hitting 40 three times. He had four consecutive 80+ point seasons in that span, topping out at 100 in 2006-07.
In Chicago, he topped 30 goals just once but was integral in all three Stanley Cup victories the team had in his tenure, something that he desired after going to two consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and losing both times with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit.
His defensive play ultimately shined and kept him productive as his offensive numbers decreased a tick, as he had three finishes in the top ten for the Selke Trophy, all coming in consecutive seasons from 2013-15. The Hawks won two Cups in that span. While he wasn’t the scorer he once was, the former 12th overall pick of the Ottawa Senators had four 25+ goal seasons to go along with his defensive work.
No matter how he leaves the game, Hossa will be a Hall of Famer, and it’s difficult to argue that he won’t be a first-ballot man. If it’s over, it’s a sad end to a pretty impressive career.