2012 NHL Free Agency: 5 Teams Under the Most Pressure to Spend This Offseason

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2012 NHL Free Agency: 5 Teams Under the Most Pressure to Spend This Offseason
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While the playoffs continue to rage for eight lucky teams, the rest of the NHL sits in a silent wait for their opportunity to grab the spotlight—the free-agent market.

This year's class of players with expiring contracts lacks significant depth, but the star status of a few top free agents is enough to keep the money flying around the league this summer.

Twenty-one teams are currently poised to have at least $15 million to spend this offseason on both re-signings and free-agent additions, according to CapGeek.com's numbers, and the annual salary-cap increase could raise that total even higher.

With all of that cash to spend and such a limited number of grade-A players available, the bidding wars promise to be fiercer—and more inflated—than ever, come July. 

From the clubs seeking to make their way back into the 2013 playoff field to the squads more interested in gathering the assets for a legitimate Stanley Cup run, more than a few GMs have been given the go-ahead signal for an offseason of heavy spending.

Which teams are under the pressure to throw the millions around this summer? In the upcoming slides, we'll examine five specific clubs' motives to spend, and who they could each target with all of that money.

 

Note: All possible free-agent signings mentioned specifically are solely author's speculation unless otherwise cited to an outside source.

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