I don't know, this has been throwned around quite a bit, so maybe not as moot as we think.
Our local season preview mag had Hossa as most likely to be bought out and Larry Brooks wrote in his last weeks NY Post column:
"It’s a spread-the-wealth mentality that may be attractive in the boardroom but is ugly on the ice. The NHL for decades has adopted a lowest-common-denominator approach — even in pre-cap days by refusing to enforce anti-obstruction rules on the ice, thereby negating the advantage of its most talented players and teams — rather a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats philosophy, even as the Blackhawks have done just that.
Chicago is going to face a painful decision over the summer regarding Hossa, the 34-year-old winger whose contract runs through the 2020-21 season. The cap-recapture formula would inflict penalties of a minimum of $4.6M per season and a maximum of $9.2M per if he were to retire before the expiration of his contract at age 42.
The Blackhawks, who will have approximately $4.6M to fill six NHL roster spots next season, may have to use an amnesty buyout on Hossa over the summer in order to avoid potential future debilitating dead cap space.
So it goes in a league that does everything possible to legislate a common one-size-fits all venture even while the sports world recognizes that uncommon excellence and uncommon excellence alone — such as demonstrated by the crossover Blackhawks — is worthy of celebration."
That's an interesting outlook, but I think Chicago could look at other options.
-They could buy out or try to move the contracts of Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz, who are both buried in the minors and will take up $4.075mil of cap space if they are buried next season. They they could move Michael Frolik, who's production in Chicago hasn't really lived up to his $2.3mil cap hit. He does still have value to teams that have space though, as he has been a pretty good bottom 6 and PK guy for Chicago.
That alone would give them almost $6.5mil more space while still retaining Hossa, and they can still resign their RFA's and have some flexibility to retain some of their UFA's. The rest of the roster could be filled with cheap UFA's or young guys.