2013 NHL Free Agency: Breaking Down Every Team's Cap Situation
The Stanley Cup has been handed out, placing the lockout-shortened 2013 season squarely in the rear-view mirror. Attention quickly shifts to the summer, when free agency, trades and draft maneuvers routinely reshape the NHL pecking order.
The league salary cap ensures that every squad has an opportunity to make inroads toward a title each offseason. Whether or not an organization chooses to take advantage of cap space is entirely up to the front office's agenda.
As the curtain opens on another busy offseason, here's a look at the salary cap situation for all 30 NHL teams. The cap is projected at $64.3 million, a $4.9 million increase from last year.
All salary cap figures courtesy of CapGeek.com.
Salary Cap Figure: $8.6 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Matt Lombardi; Defenseman: Toni Lydman
Overview: The Ducks have done an excellent job retaining talent. Corey Perry is the latest core player to re-up, agreeing to an eight-year, $69 million deal. After falling to Detroit in a tough seven-game series, Anaheim has room to tinker with its current roster.
Salary Cap Figure: $5.8 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Jaromir Jagr, Nathan Horton; Defenseman: Andrew Ference; Goaltenders: Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask (restricted)
Overview: The Bruins will have to be savvy this offseason in order to keep a talented group intact. Boston finished two wins shy of the team's second Stanley Cup title in three years but stands to be outbid for the services of talented playmaker Nathan Horton and promising goaltender Anton Khudobin. Priority No. 1 is locking up netminder Tuukk Rask after his predominately sensational postseason performance.
Salary Cap Figure: $14.4 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards Brian Flynn (restricted), Cody Hodgson (restricted); defensemen Adam Pardy, Mike Weber (restricted)
Overview: The Sabres remain stuck in mediocrity but may be just a few moves away from playoff contention. Buffalo doesn't have many free agents of its own and could use its cap space as an added weapon on the trade market. The team will likely explore contract extensions with some of its 2014 free agents, including goalie Ryan Miller and forward Thomas Vanek.
Salary Cap Figure: $19.1 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Mikael Backlund (restricted), Defensemen: Anton Babchuk, Mark Cundari (restricted)
Overview: The post-Iginla era is underway in Calgary, where improvements are needed across the roster. Calgary would be wise to invest on the defensive end and in net considering the Flames surrendered more goals than any team in the Western Conference.
Salary Cap Figure: $7.3 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Chad Larose; Defenseman: Joe Corvo, Marc-Andre Bergeron
Overview: Carolina finished tied for 29th in goals allowed during the regular season so there is plenty to improve. With a young core locked up for several years, the Hurricanes should look to sprinkle the roster with quality supplemental pieces this summer.
Salary Cap Figure: $2.1 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Michal Handzus, Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell, Marcus Kruger (restricted); Defensemen: Michal Rozsival
Overview: The Stanley Cup champions are built to last. Chicago has claimed two titles in four years and superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are each locked up through 2015. Free agents from a title-winning team tend to be overvalued so don't be surprised to see a few familiar faces walk away this offseason.
Salary Cap Figure: $10.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Milan Hejduk, Chuck Kobasew, Aaron Palushaj (restricted)
Overview: Colorado has hit the reset button on its organizational direction. Franchise legend Patrick Roy is now running the show as head coach and former Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has final say on personnel moves in the front office. The team is likely to be an active player in the trade market and holds the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Salary Cap Figure: $18.5 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Vinny Prospal, Blake Comeau, Artem Anisimov (restricted); Defensemen: Adrian Aucoin; Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky (resricted)
Overview: Netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, the surprise 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, is the team's top priority. He is on the verge of receiving a tremendous amount of interest from the KHL and other NHL squads. Columbus began a new phase when it traded Rick Nash to the Rangers. The Blue Jackets can take a step forward by retaining Bobrovsky and reloading on offensive talent.
Salary Cap Figure: $13.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Eric Nystrom, Lane MacDermid (restricted); Goaltenders: Richard Bachman (restricted)
Overview: The Stars unloaded at the trade deadline, dealing veterans Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy as the playoffs fell out of reach. Dallas acquired solid young talent and gave a young nucleus time to gel through growing pains. The Stars were active in free agency last offseason and could emerge as a surprise destination for one of the top available free agents.
Detroit Red Wings
Salary Cap Figure: $10.6 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary, Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist (restricted); Defensemen: Ian White
Overview: We're about to find out how much Detroit's front office likes its current roster. The Red Wings were able to lock up goalie Jimmy Howard to a six-year deal but a few key players could be on the way out. Filppula and White are proven playmakers set to cash in this offseason, while Damien Brunner is in line for a hefty pay raise after an impressive first NHL season. Detroit has some hard decisions to make internally before looking for help through free agency.
Salary Cap Figure: $14.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Ryan Jones, Magnus Paajarvi (restricted); Defensemen: Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric; Goaltenders: Nikolai Khabibulin.
Overview: Edmonton appeared to turn a corner this season as touted players began to live up to lofty expectations. The Oilers have holes to fill on defense and are due for an upgrade on the wings.
Salary Cap Figure: $18.3 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Stephen Weiss, Jack Skille (restricted), Alexei Kovalev; Goaltenders: Jose Theodore, Jacob Markstrom (restricted)
Overview: Florida is set to part ways with franchise stalwart Stephen Weiss, who is looking for an opportunity to make an impact with a playoff contender after one postseason appearance as a Panther. The team should pursue a goaltender who can immediately compete for playing time. Florida accumulated the fewest points in the NHL (36) and surrendered the most goals so there's a long road ahead.
Los Angeles Kings
Salary Cap Figure: $6.6 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Kyle Clifford (restricted), Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson; Defensemen: Rob Scuderi
Overview: The Kings are tight on cap space one season after claiming the team's first NHL title. Though the squad could look to free agency to add a veteran scorer, it's more likely to develop talent already in the fold. Last year, Los Angeles locked up 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick through 2023 and now right winger Dustin Brown may be ready to sit down at the bargaining table before he begins the final year of his current deal.
Salary Cap Figure: $3.3 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Matt Cullen, Cal Clutterbuck
Overview: The Wild went on a shopping spree last summer, headlined by the signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. This offseason is bound to be significantly more subdued with little cash to spend. Minnesota managed to challenge the eventual NHL champion Blackhawks, at times during a first-round playoff series so expect the front office to move forward with a familiar group of players.
Salary Cap Figure: $9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Michael Ryder, Colby Armstrong, Ryan White (restricted); Defensemen: Tomas Kaberle
Overview: A splendid regular season didn't carry over to the playoffs, where Montreal was manhandled by Ottawa in a five-game first-round series. Montreal must determine how to approach negotiations with veterans Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder, who are both past their prime. If the Canadiens allow both players to leave, the team must search elsewhere to replace their presence in the rotation.
Salary Cap Figure: $12.1 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards Matt Halishuk; Goaltenders: Chris Mason
Overview: Nashville stunned most NHL analysts by matching Philadelphia's 14-year, $110 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Shea Weber last summer so it's hard to get a read on what to expect from this forlorn franchise. The Predators must find a way to pick up an offensive playmaker after finishing last in the league in goals scored.
New Jersey Devils
Salary Cap Figure: $24.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: David Clarkson, Patrick Elias, Dainius Zubrus, Steve Sullivan, Adam Henrique (restricted); Defensemen: Marek Zidlicky
Overview: Expect this proud franchise to make plenty of noise following a rough year. Team captain Zach Parise bolted for Minnesota last summer and the Devils collapsed during the season's final stretch to miss the playoffs. New Jersey is in store for a much-needed youth movement as several over-the-hill vets become unrestricted free agents. The Devils can't afford to low-ball David Clarkson during negotiations because another squad will happily overpay for one of the game's premier power forwards.
New York Islanders
Salary Cap Figure: $29.2 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: David Ullstrom (restricted), Marty Reasoner, Brad Boyes; Defensemen: Ty Wishart, Travis Hamonic (restricted); Goaltenders: Tim Thomas, Evgeni Nabokov
Overview: No squad has more salary cap space than the up-and-coming Islanders. New York is committed to just 15 players for next season so there is substantial room for retooling the roster, which is built around rising superstar John Tavares. The Islanders are sure to seek an upgrade at goalie and could target an elite netminder via free agency or trade. New York already parted ways with veteran defenseman Mark Streit, who is set to sign a four-year deal with Philadelphia.
New York Rangers
Salary Cap Figure: $14.1 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Ryane Clowe, Carl Hagelin (restricted), Mats Zuccarello (restricted); Defensemen Roman Hamrlik, Steve Eminger
Overview: The Rangers largely underachieved in 2013. New York stumbled out of the gates before getting hot in April and eventually fell flat against Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, costing coach John Tortorella his job. Ryane Clowe played well after arriving in a trade and will be a coveted player. The Rangers must also make progress toward a contract extension with star goaltender Henrik Lunqvist, who is entering the final year of his deal.
Salary Cap Figure: $22 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Condra (restricted), Guillaume Latendresse; Defensemen: Mike Lundin
Overview: Team captain Daniel Alfredsson remains effective and is an ideal influential figure on a team filled with young talent. He is likely to either retire or return to Ottawa. The Senators surged past Montreal in the opening round of postseason play and gave Pittsburgh fits. This squad could be a star player away from challenging for an Eastern Conference title.
Salary Cap Figure: $1.5 million over cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Simon Gagne
Overview: Philadelphia bought out the final two years of Danny Briere's contract and still could use its second amnesty to dump pricey goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers are the only NHL team that must shed salary in order to comply with league rules. The sting grows worse when you consider this well-paid roster failed to reach the postseason. The Flyers are slated to sign former Islanders defenseman Mark Streit to a four-year deal upon clearing necessary cap space. Philadelphia has a league-high 24 contracted players.
Salary Cap Figure: $24 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Boyd Gordon, Jason Labarbera, Lauri Korpikoski (restricted); Goaltenders: Mike Smith
Overview: The cash-strapped Coyotes have long struggled to keep players in the desert. It would be an upset if goalie Mike Smith doesn't depart for greener pastures. He ranks among the most desirable free agents and should have several suitors. Phoenix finished just four points shy of a playoff appearance so there is talent on this roster. Adding to it will always be the challenge for a franchise devoid of true financial foundation.
Salary Cap Figure: $7.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy (restricted); Defensemen: Douglas Murray, Mark Eaton
Overview: Pittsburgh risks losing some serious offensive firepower this offseason. Restricted by a roster filled with hefty contracts, the Penguins won't be able to keep several standout players. Jarome Iginla was outstanding after arriving from Calgary and remains a point-per-game playmaker. Pascal Dupuis has really carved a niche in Pittsburgh but it may be his last chance to cash in with a large contract elsewhere.
St. Louis Blues
Salary Cap Figure: $23.9 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Chris Stewart (restricted), Jamie Langenbrunner; Defensemen: Jordan Leopold
Overview: Veteran center Andy McDonald retired, creating a need. Chris Stewart seems to be putting the pieces together and another team may be tempted to extend an offer sheet his way. The Blues finished fourth in the Western Conference but aren't far removed from the middle of the pack. Signing a quality scoring forward would push this team forward.
San Jose Sharks
Salary Cap Figure: $6.6 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Scott Gomez, T.J. Galiardi (restricted)
Overview: San Jose shouldn't look much different next season. Most of the team is signed through 2014 and an impressive playoff run shows things are still on track. The Sharks fell one win shy of the Western Conference Finals and control the rights of emerging star center Logan Couture through 2019. San Jose must add depth at right wing.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Salary Cap Figure: $2.4 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Goaltenders: Mathieu Garon
Overview: The Lightning are committed to 18 players for next season so substantial roster maneuvers would likely be facilitated through the trade market. Only Florida and Colorado tallied fewer points than Tampa Bay in 2013 so there's a concern about the direction this team is headed without much financial flexibility.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Salary Cap Figure: $19.6 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Tim Connolly. Nazem Kadri (restricted); Defensemen: Ryan O'Byrne
Overview: Many are eyeing the Maple Leafs as a major player in the free-agent market. Toronto is finally trending upward and came just moments away from upsetting the eventual Eastern Conference champion Bruins, in the opening round of playoff action. The Maple Leafs must address depth deficiencies at center and pick up a productive forward. Signing Clarke MacArthur makes too much sense for Toronto to ignore.
Salary Cap Figure: $47,000 under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Derek Roy, Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre; Defensemen: Andrew Alberts
Overview: Just two years after reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Vancouver finds itself at franchise crossroads. A coaching change was the first move of what should be a busy summer. The Canucks are limited by current contracts so the team could see its cabinet cleaned (especially at the center position) by more capable teams on the free agent market.
Salary Cap Figure: $5.7 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Mike Ribeiro, Marcus Johansson (restricted)
Overview: Washington enters the offseason with 20 players under contract through next year. The Capitals suffered another deflating playoff oust and the clock is ticking for this current group to get the job done. Star center Mike Ribeiro will field offers from several contenders and it's hard to foresee Washington coming up with enough cash to keep him interested.
Salary Cap Figure: $28.3 million under cap
Notable Free Agents: Forwards: Nik Antropov, Blake Wheeler (restricted) Kyle Wellwood, Mike Santorelli; Defensemen: Ron Hainsey
Overview: Winnipeg must find a way to keep Blake Wheeler because depth at right wing is a major concern. The Jets are knocking on the playoff door but it's going to take a stronger scoring attack to cross that threshold. Keep an eye on Winnipeg as a potential sleeper in the free agent market.