Updated: June 29, 2014 2:35AM
PHILADELPHIA — Somebody had to go. That somebody was Brandon Bollig.
The Blackhawks created some wiggle room under the salary cap Saturday by dealing Bollig to the Calgary Flames for the 83rd pick in the NHL draft. Bollig had just signed a three-year contract extension with a cap hit of $1.25 million a year in March and had just bought a condo in River North.
‘‘It definitely came as a shock,’’ Bollig told the Calgary Sun. ‘‘I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s obviously part of the business.’’
Bollig played all 82 games during the regular season, reinventing himself from an enforcer to a reliable, defensive-minded fourth-liner. He had seven goals and
seven assists, but he struggled down the stretch and in the postseason. He was a healthy scratch four times during the playoffs.
With the salary cap at $69 million and the Hawks about a half-million above it entering the draft, general manager Stan Bowman had to free up some space. And Flames GM Brad Treliving said he liked the idea of adding Bollig’s toughness and Stanley Cup experience to his young roster.
Bowman said Rockford center Brandon Mashinter, a 6-4, 220-pounder with 23 NHL games under his belt, could get a crack at Bollig’s role.
‘‘It’s always tough when you trade a player who has been a regular player for you,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘You have to make tough decisions these days. We’re not the only team that will go through that.’’
And the Hawks likely aren’t done. They didn’t make any other personnel moves during the draft, but with free agency starting Tuesday, only 21 players signed and less than $800,000 of cap space, there is still work to do. But while some GMs laid their cards on the table at the draft, Bowman played it close to the vest. He wouldn’t say if he would be a major player in free agency or if he was planning to dump more salary. He wouldn’t discuss any trade talks and wouldn’t say if Patrick Sharp was trade bait or untouchable.
The only thing he would say for sure was that Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen weren’t going anywhere and that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are going to sign massive extensions soon. The rest remains to be seen.
‘‘We’ve got some ideas,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘At this point, nothing concrete. We have several different possibilities that we’re going to pursue. I think every team
has the same game plan, where they have some ideas of players they want to add or things they want to do. And they’re not all
going to happen, but we’ll see where it goes.’’