NHL Lockout: Which Teams Would Undergo Biggest Makeover Under Reduced Salary Cap

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2013

NHL Lockout: Which Teams Would Undergo Biggest Makeover Under Reduced Salary Cap

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    When the NHL lockout comes to an end, teams are going to have to form rosters with a reduced salary cap.

    The NHL allowed its teams to pay $70.2 million in salary in the 2011-12 season. While negotiations are still ongoing, the salary-cap figure for the 2013-14 season looks like it will be in the $60 million range.

    According to CapGeek.com, 16 teams currently are paying $60 million or more in salary. Six of those teams are paying $65 million or more.

    Here's a look at the six highest-paying teams that will need to go through roster makeovers as a result of the reduced salary cap.

    All salary figures are courtesy of CapGeek.com.

Boston Bruins

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    The Bruins are on the books for just under $69 million in salary.

    General manager Peter Chiarelli has a lot of talented players on his roster, and he is not going to be able to keep all of them.

    He is not going to get rid of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and goalie Tuukka Rask, but it would seem that every other Bruin player may be in jeopardy.

    He is going to have to cut money from the payroll, and it would seem likely that David Krejci will be among those that have to go. Others will follow, and the Bruins roster may not look like the one that won the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Minnesota Wild

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    The Minnesota Wild made the biggest splash of any team in the offseason when they signed free-agent stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to huge contracts.

    Both players are scheduled to earn just over $7.5 million per season. That's going to eat up a huge portion of Minnesota's salary cap.

    General manager Chuck Fletcher was thrilled to sign Parise and Suter, but he will have a lot of work to do in order to get the Wild down to the $60 million mark in salary. The team has just under $69 million committed in salary.

    Dany Heatley, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi might all be long shots to remain with the Wild.

Vancouver Canucks

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    The Canucks remain on a mission to win their first Stanley Cup after losing to the last three Stanley Cup winners in their last three postseasons.

    The Canucks have plenty of talent, but they also have just under $68 million committed in salary to their many star players.

    General manager Mike Gillis will have a lot of work to do bring the roster in proper salary-cap shape.

    Former Panther David Booth could be among those who have to go, and Mason Raymond may also become a former Canuck. Raymond will be a free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Calgary Flames

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    The lockout and the subsequent reduced salary cap may force the hand of the Calgary Flames.

    Calgary has a huge payroll of $66.6 million, and that's far too much for a team that finishes on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

    It has big names like Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, and the Flames should probably pare their most marketable names from their payroll and get younger and acquire more draft picks.

    Jay Feaster may not want to do this on his own, but the reduced salary cap will force him into action.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadelphia Flyers are scheduled to pay out $66.6 million in salary, just like the Calgary Flames.

    That means GM Paul Holmgren is going to have to change the look of his roster. The Flyers are likely to have problems on defense as a result of injuries and their inability to land Nashville's Shea Weber in the offseason.

    Holmgren will have to make hard choices about several key players, including Danny Briere and Ruslan Fedotenko.

    Also, what about goalie Ilya Bryzgalov? If Holmgren comes to the conclusion that Bryzgalov is not the team's Stanley Cup goalie and he is overrated, then Bryzgalov will have to go.

San Jose Sharks

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    The San Jose Sharks have been perennial contenders in the Western Conference.

    They have never made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but they have been among the most talented teams for years.

    The window of opportunity for Doug Wilson's team is not going to be open forever. The reduction of the salary cap may force his hand, and he may decide to make significant changes to his roster.

    The Sharks have a payroll of $65.2 million.

    Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Martin Havlat are the names at the top of the salary chart among forwards, while Dan Boyle and Brent Burns are the highest-paid defensemen. The Sharks may have to say goodbye to one or two of those players.