Re-Evaluating Every NHL Team's Cap Situation After the Start of Free Agency
The 2013 NHL lockout had several repercussions—the least of which wasn't the salary cap ceiling sinking to $64.3 million for at least the 2014 season.
Teams were allowed compliance buyouts to get under the new limit, and squads like the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning used this option to try to get out of cap hell.
Then free agency hit and all caution seemed to go out the window. Teams were right back to shelling out ridiculous big-money, long-term contracts like the ceiling was doubling instead of falling a few million. While it's believed that the cap will go back up after 2014, that doesn't make the situations certain teams put themselves in for the entire season any less serious.
Following a noisy first few weeks of the NHL offseason, here's how teams are sitting in regard to the salary cap.
Remaining Cap Space: $7,840,833
Moves Made This Offseason: Acquired Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen by trading Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators. Re-signed Saku Koivu and Matt Beleskey.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Anaheim Ducks have a bit of cap room to play with and are likely awaiting news on the Teemu Selanne front before making any other moves.
If Anaheim isn't comfortable with either Hampus Lindholm or Sami Vatanen jumping into the lineup out of training camp, it could pursue a quality depth defenseman as well. That will be a near certainty if Toni Lydman decides not to return to Anaheim.
It's the same situation in the top nine as well. If the Ducks like Silfverberg enough, he could take Ryan's spot on the top line. If he doesn't impress, the team could actively seek to move one of its goaltenders for some goal-scoring help.
Remaining Cap Space: $5,638,690
Moves Made This Offseason: Acquired Loui Eriksson, Joseph Morrow and Reilly Smith from the Dallas Stars for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Signed free agent Jarome Iginla.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Boston Bruins have tinkered with nearly every aspect of a team that went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. While it's likely that the Bruins are done making big splashes, they desperately need to make one more announcement this offseason.
And that's the signing of starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.
That deal will consume most of the cap space that the Bruins have, limiting their ability to do much else. Barring another barnburner trade, of course.
Remaining Cap Space: $11,142,143
Moves Made This Offseason: Re-signed Matt Ellis and Alexander Sulzer. Traded for Jamie McBain and Henrik Tallinder. Bought out Nathan Gerbe and traded Andrej Sekera away.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Buffalo Sabres were relatively quiet during the opening days of free agency. They secured some solid depth on the blue line via several trades, and the deal for Tallinder will be worth it, if for no other reason than to get Tyler Myers back on track.
The Sabres are still dangling Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek as trade bait, and it's entirely possible that one or both will be missing from the opening-day roster once October rolls around.
This is a team that is fully committed to a long rebuilding process, so any chance to get younger and more promising will be taken very serious by Buffalo.
Remaining Cap Space: $11,315,000
Moves Made This Offseason: Signed Kari Romo. Traded for Kris Russell and TJ Galiardi. Re-signed Brian McGrattan and Chris Butler. Drafted Sean Monahan.
What to Expect Before Next Season: Miikka Kiprusoff has yet to officially announce his retirement, but the writing is on the wall for the Calgary Flames. They handled that gaping hole in net by handing Romo a two-year pact.
He'll likely get the first shot at becoming the goaltender of the future in Calgary.
The Flames also have RFAs in Galiardi and Mikael Backlund in need of new deals. After trading Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester at the trade deadline the Flames don't have many trade chips left to play, so this appears to be the bottom of the steep "respectability" mountain that the Flames will slowly begin to climb in 2014.
Remaining Cap Space: $5,435,000
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Anton Khudobin, Andrej Sekera, Mike Komisarek and Elias Lindholm. Lost Jamie McBain and Dan Ellis.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The trade for Andrej Sekera flew under the radar, but for the Carolina Hurricanes, adding a sizeable and dependable player on the blue line was priority No. 1 heading into the offseason.
The 'Canes aren't likely to add any big names before the start of the 2014 season, but they could certainly use another depth forward or two. Guys like Dan Cleary or Milan Hejduk could be stellar fits.
Remaining Cap Space: $2,508,205
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Nikolai Khabibulin. Retained Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus, Michal Rozsival and Nick Leddy. Lost Ray Emery, Viktor Stalberg, Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik, Rostislav Olesz and Steve Montador.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The list of moves is long, but nothing major for the defending champions. The Chicago Blackhawks managed to re-sign playoff hero Bickell but were forced to deal Bolland and Frolik to make that happen.
Marcus Kruger is a RFA and needs a new contract, but the 'Hawks aren't likely to burn through their remaining cap space until they figure out if prospects Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes can plug the holes left by the jettisoned forwards.
While there has been some turnover, Chicago kept every key piece from its Stanley Cup run and should still be one of the better teams in the Western Conference in 2014.
Remaining Cap Space: $11,951,667
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Nate Guenin, Nick Holden, Andre Benoit and J.T. Wyman. Lost Greg Zanon and Milan Hejduk. Drafted Nathan MacKinnon.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Colorado Avalanche needed a lot of help on the blue line, and secured the services of Guenin, Holden and Benoit in an attempt to fix the issue. Three depth defensemen don't equal a Seth Jones, however, and it'll be interesting to see how these moves play out for the Avs.
As it stands right now, it isn't likely that they'll be much better in their own end following this offseason. Barring any further moves, that is.
MacKinnon is nearly a lock to make the lineup out of training camp, so at least Colorado will be able to score a few more goals while giving them up by the truckload.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Remaining Cap Space: $2,691,191
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Nathan Horton. Re-signed Sergei Bobrovsky. Lost Nick Holden.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The top priority for the Columbus Blue Jackets was getting Vezina-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky back in the fold. If took some time—and a little bit of hardball—but they managed to retain him for two years at a decent cap number.
The only other big move the Jackets made was the addition of Horton, who won't be able to suit up for the team until winter following shoulder surgery.
Vinny Prospal has yet to decide whether or not he wants to re-up with the Jackets, and aside from adding him, it's unlikely that Columbus makes any other moves before the start of 2014. The team made its impact addition in Horton and secured its starting netminder moving forward.
Remaining Cap Space: $3,801,389
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Shawn Horcoff and Dan Ellis. Drafted Valeri Nichushkin. Lost Loui Eriksson, Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith, Philip Larsen, Richard Bachman and Eric Nystrom.
What to Expect Before Next Season: Jim Nill's first offseason at the helm of the Dallas Stars has been a doozy. It's clear that he identified center as a position of need and addressed it during a wild 24-hour period that saw the Stars secure Seguin, Horcoff and Peverley.
Nill also managed to add an intriguing prospect in Nichushkin to the system. It isn't every offseason a manager is able to land impact youngsters like him and Seguin.
Based on what we've seen so far, Nill won't hesitate to pull the trigger on another move if he feels it will improve his team moving forward, but nothing is imminent at the moment.
Detroit Red Wings
Remaining Cap Space: $2,307,121
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson. Lost Valtteri Filppula and Carlo Colaiacovo.
What to Expect Before Next Season: There's been much ballyhoo about the Detroit Red Wings being one of the "winners" of free agency. They managed to secure the services of Weiss for less than what Filppula was requesting, and they more or less hijacked Alfredsson from the Ottawa Senators.
With only $2.3 million left in cap space and three big RFAs to sign, it's likely the Wings aren't done yet, however. They need to clear up some cash for Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson—all three of which proved their worth during the playoffs.
Smith and Nyquist in particular are very important pieces of Detroit's future. Keep an eye on the Wings the rest of the way. Odds are very good that they'll end up moving a roster player or two before the offseason is through.
Remaining Cap Space: $11,460,833
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Philip Larsen, Jason LaBarbera, Jesse Joensuu and Richard Bachman. Re-signed Ryan Jones. Lost Shawn Horcoff, Nikolai Khabibulin, Yann Danis and Eric Belanger. Drafted Darnell Nurse.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Edmonton Oilers finally figured out that they needed to be able to prevent goals and win faceoffs before even breaking into the playoffs. They drafted Nurse—arguably the best defensive-defenseman in the draft—and signed free agent Ference to shore up a suddenly solid blue line.
The addition of Gordon may be the most underappreciated occurrence of the offseason as well.
Edmonton finally is starting to come together as a contender and could look to make another bold move or two before the 2014 season starts. The Oilers have the cap space to make a splash, but they need to be careful with term.
Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi both need new deals as RFAs, while players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov will need extensions within another year or two.
Remaining Cap Space: $18,457,125
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Mike Mottau and Joey Crabb. Drafted Aleksander Barkov. Lost Stephen Weiss, George Parros and Jack Skille.
What to Expect Before Next Season: There's no two ways about it: losing Weiss hurts. He's been the most consistent Florida Panther since 2006, and replacing his production won't be easy. Barkov will get the chance to slide into the spot that Weiss vacated, but how much production can we honestly expect from a fresh 18-year-old?
The biggest move Florida could make right now is to re-sign goaltender Jacob Markstrom. He's been one of the top netminding prospects for several years now and seems ready to take on the rigors that comes with being a starter in the NHL. He's an RFA, though, and needs a new deal before hitting the ice.
Operating on an internal budget, it's unlikely the Panthers do much else besides lose assets this offseason. There are several big promotions from within to look forward to in 2014, so they won't be looking for any flashy free agents at this point.
Los Angeles Kings
Remaining Cap Space: $5,203,106
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Jeff Schultz. Re-signed Keaton Ellerby. Traded for Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens. Lost Rob Scuderi, Jonathan Bernier and Brad Richardson.
What to Expect Before Next Season: After winning the Stanley Cup in 2012, Los Angeles did itself a favor in quickly locking up the core components of that championship team. For the second year in a row the Kings saw a top-four defender leave, only to be able to replace him from within.
Priority numero uno is re-signing those "Scuderi replacements," as both Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin need new deals. They are currently RFAs and a large part of LA's future.
Depending on the kind of deals that Martinez and Muzzin sign, the Kings may be forced to move a depth player to clear up space. Nothing major is on the horizon for a team that appears poised to make another Cup run, though.
Remaining Cap Space: $2,784,466
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Matt Cooke, Nino Niederreiter and Keith Ballard. Lost Devin Setoguchi, Matt Cullen, Justin Falk, Pierre Marc-Bouchard, Cal Clutterbuck and Tom Gilbert.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Minnesota Wild made their big moves a year ago when they added Zach Parise and Ryan Suter via free agency. They were quiet on that front in 2013 but made several trades and depth moves that could pay dividends.
The deal for Nino Niederreiter in particular could end up as a steal for the Wild.
Moving forward, Minnesota is likely wanting to evaluate its youth during training camp before making any other lineup shifts. The Wild have several young players that could seize roster spots and important roles for the team in 2014.
Remaining Cap Space: $4,086,667
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Daniel Briere and George Parros. Lost Michael Ryder, Yannick Weber and Tomas Kaberle.
What to Expect Before Next Season: There aren't a lot of offseason mysteries surrounding the Montreal Canadiens at this point. They added (another) smallish and talented forward in Briere, who will need to reverse his backslide to replace Ryder adequately.
After buying out Kaberle—who didn't see that coming?—management has some cap space to play with but may wait to see how things shake down early on in the season before making any further personnel shifts.
Remaining Cap Space: $7,097,024
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg, Eric Nystrom, Matt Hendricks and Carter Hutton. Drafted Seth Jones. Lost Sergei Kostitsyn and TJ Brennan.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Nashville Predators flat-out didn't score enough goals in 2013. While Cullen, Stalberg, Nystrom and Hendricks aren't going to blow anyone out of the water with their offensive output, they signify solid upgrades for the Preds across the board.
Drafting Jones at No. 4 was a coup, and he could play on the squad's top pairing as soon as 2014.
The team is now stacked on the blue line—especially when it comes to good, young players—and could move one of them for a bit more help on offense. If Nashville makes any more moves during the offseason, it would likely be for a forward.
New Jersey Devils
Remaining Cap Space: $7,187,500
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder and Rostislav Olesz. Re-signed Patrick Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Traded for Cory Schneider. Lost David Clarkson and Johan Hedberg.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The math on the additions of Clowe and Ryder is simple. They're expected to replace the production of Clarkson while providing even more of an offensive spark for a New Jersey Devils team that struggled to score goals in 2013.
Re-signing RFA Adam Henrique is a must for the Devils. He'll be the team's No. 2 center behind Travis Zajac and is an important part of New Jersey's forward group.
Preparing for life without Martin Brodeur is no longer on the "to-do list." Not after the Devils stole Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks at the draft. Expect the Henrique signing, and for New Jersey to look to add at least one more top-nine forward to the mix.
New York Islanders
Remaining Cap Space: $22,955,524
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Traded for Cal Clutterbuck. Re-signed Evgeni Nabokov and Travis Hamonic. Lost Keith Aucoin, Nino Niederreiter and Rick DiPietro.
What to Expect Before Next Season: More so than any other team in the NHL, the New York Islanders have the financial flexibility to quite literally do anything they want from a monetary standpoint. Of course, the team works on a tight internal budget and isn't likely to be a cap team any time soon.
Still, the Islanders managed to make some sound acquisitions through the offseason so far, and the new deal for Travis Hamonic is an absolute bargain.
Things could get interesting for the Isles if Tim Thomas decides to return to action. Re-signing Brad Boyes is still a possibility, but New York hedged his roster spot when it acquired Bouchard. Like most other small-market teams, nothing is imminent for the Islanders, but they won't turn away from a chance to improve on-ice product either.
New York Rangers
Remaining Cap Space: $6,555,833
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Benoit Pouliot, Dominic Moore and Aaron Johnson. Lost Ryane Clowe.
What to Expect Before Next Season: You know it's been a quiet summer for the New York Rangers when Benoit Pouliot is the gem free-agent acquisition. It's been all quiet on the Rangers front due to several key RFAs needing deals.
Ryan McDonagh has already received his extension, leaving Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin in need of new contracts.
Locking those two up long term would mean that—despite a quiet free-agency period—the Rangers will have had a successful offseason. Aside from those two signings, nothing is imminent for New York. Depending on what Stepan and Hagelin require to re-sign, the Rangers might move a depth player to free up a little more wiggle room.
Remaining Cap Space: $14,564,167
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur. Lost Daniel Alfredsson, Jakob Silfverberg, Peter Regin and Andre Benoit.
What to Expect Before Next Season: July 5, 2013 isn't going to be a date that fans of the Ottawa Senators will be forgetting anytime soon. They woke up to the news that their longtime captain in Alfredsson had bolted for the Detroit Red Wings.
With that sour taste still left in their mouths, the news then broke that the team had acquired goal-scoring winger Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks. Talk about a roller coaster couple of hours.
It's unlikely the Sens are going to seek out ways to shake up their roster any further. The Ryan move was a sound one, barring a major breakthrough season for Silfverberg. No other moves are imminent or expected.
Remaining Cap Space: -$1,053,522
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Vincent Lecavalier, Ray Emery and Mark Streit. Lost Ilya Bryzgalov, Danny Briere and Ruslan Fedotenko.
What to Expect Before Next Season: Another offseason and another new "starting netminder" for the Philadelphia Flyers. Bryzgalov was bought out of his lengthy pact, paving the way for Emery to join the team. He'll form the netminding tandem for the Flyers, along with Steve Mason, in 2014.
The team (for all intents and purposes) swapped out Briere for Lecavalier and tacked Streit onto the blue line corps.
The Flyers are over the cap until Chris Pronger is moved to long-term injured reserve. Until that point, their hands are mostly tied, unless the move they are making is shedding some salary.
Remaining Cap Space: $7,583,333
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Mike Ribeiro and Thomas Greiss. Re-signed Mike Smith and Kyle Chipchura. Lost Boyd Gordon, Jason LaBarbera and Chris Conner. Drafted Max Domi.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The big news for the Phoenix Coyotes is, well, that they'll actually be staying in Phoenix. They managed to keep their elite coach Dave Tippett and re-signed starting goaltender Mike Smith.
All of these things would have led to a successful summer for the Desert Dogs, but the team also managed to do something it hadn't been able to do in years prior: land the top free agent available.
Ribeiro automatically becomes the team's best forward, and the Coyotes seem set at center and defense. They are hurting for top-six wingers, though, and could seek to trade from a position of strength to acquire some more goal scoring.
Remaining Cap Space: $676,667
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Rob Scuderi. Re-signed Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams. Lost Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Jarome Iginla.
What to Expect Before Next Season: No NHL team has more money invested into top players than the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang received his big-time extension, forcing Kennedy, Cooke and Iginla out of town.
The Pens were able to add another excellent defenseman in Scuderi, but forward depth is an issue after the departures.
Given Pittsburgh's depth on the blue line and high number of defenseman prospects, don't be shocked to see the Pens make a move for a bottom-six forward. The big question mark surrounding this team is the future of Marc-Andre Fleury.
He's been decidedly average since going to back-to-back finals. If presented with the chance, would Pittsburgh add a proven netminder for the right price?
San Jose Sharks
Remaining Cap Space: -$406,667
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Tyler Kennedy. Re-signed Scott Hannan. Lost TJ Galiardi.
What to Expect Before Next Season: In an incredibly quiet summer for the San Jose Sharks, the only real news was the extension of Logan Couture.
This is largely the same group of players that pushed the Los Angeles Kings to Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs in 2013, signifying that management still likes this particular makeup for San Jose.
If they make any other moves over the summer, they'll likely be minor. They could stand to shake off a little bit of salary and could move another depth forward for a draft pick like they did with Galiardi. Aside from that, don't count on San Jose making any noise whatsoever between now and the start of the 2014 season.
St. Louis Blues
Remaining Cap Space: $7,850,000
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre and Keith Aucoin. Re-signed Jordan Leopold. Lost Kris Russell, Andy McDonald, Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nicol.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The St. Louis Blues chased a few top free agents but were passed over on several occasions before Derek Roy signed with the team on the second day of free agency.
It'd be surprising to see the Blues make any more moves before their top RFAs are locked up to new deals. Alex Pietrangelo is the top priority right now. St. Louis has the cap space to match any offers, but he's the kind of player that teams will eventually attempt to poach.
Chris Stewart is another important RFA looking for an extension, and Jake Allen needs a new deal as well.
Either Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott could be traded out of town to free up the cap space for the aforementioned RFA trio. A deal would also make room for Allen in St. Louis. The organization as a whole is very high on the kid and would likely love to see him as a full-time NHLer in 2014.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Remaining Cap Space: $2,609,523
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Valtteri Filppula. Drafted Jonathan Drouin. Lost Vincent Lecavalier, Benoit Pouliot and J.T. Wyman.
What to Expect Before Next Season: Ignoring the need to add a defenseman, the Tampa Bay Lightning went all-in on an offensive outlook that saw them sign Filppula to replace Lecavalier and pass over Seth Jones to select Jonathan Drouin at the draft.
General manager Steve Yzerman can't afford to be finished this offseason. The blue line still needs too much help, and the netminders aren't proven game-breakers at this point—if Yzerman is counting on one of them pulling a Bobrovsky, 2014 could be a long year in Tampa.
Walking into the 2014 season as-is would likely be walking into another lottery selection for the Lightning.
They don't have a ton of cap room, but if they can give some salary away in a deal, the potential is there to add a top-four defenseman prior to the season opener.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Remaining Cap Space: $10,320,833
Moves Made This Offseason: Added David Clarkson, Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland. Re-signed Tyler Bozak. Lost Clarke MacArthur, Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and Mikhail Grabovski.
What to Expect Before Next Season: You wouldn't know it by looking at their offseason acquisitions so far, but scoring goals wasn't the problem for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013. Preventing them was problematic.
Bringing in Bernier is an interesting choice, but it remains to be seen whether or not he'll be a massive upgrade over James Reimer. The blue line remains largely intact, and no moves were made to improve the back end in any way.
Clarkson and Bolland bring some toughness, but that in and of itself doesn't win hockey games.
There may or may not be some internal discussion going on revolving around Reimer and his future with the team. Would Toronto consider shipping him out while his value is high, retaining a defender in return?
Breakout center Nazem Kadri is also in need of a new contract, as he is an RFA. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those bargaining sessions.
Remaining Cap Space: $5,147,222
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Brad Richardson, Yannick Weber and Mike Santorelli. Lost Maxim Lapierre, Keith Ballard and Cory Schneider.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The goaltending controversy is over in Vancouver, albeit two years too late. After months of trying to extract full value for Luongo, the Canucks instead dealt Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall selection at the draft.
Now they are left with an unhappy incumbent goaltender and no scoring depth on the wings to boot.
Depending on how discussions with Luongo have gone, the 'Nucks might look to shake things up in the crease once again. If it's apparent that the goalie won't report for whatever reason, Vancouver could be in trouble.
Remaining Cap Space: $8,465,705
Moves Made This Offseason: Added no one. Lost Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb and Jeff Schultz.
What to Expect Before Next Season: No one in the NHL has made less noise this offseason than the Washington Capitals. They've literally signed zero free agents and allowed No. 2 center Ribeiro to walk via free agency.
The team understandably didn't want to give him the term he was looking for, but there is once again a void down the middle for the Caps.
The biggest moves for Washington will be re-signing RFAs Marcus Johansson and Karl Alzner. Those two extensions could but the Caps right up against the Cap. Whether they make any moves to fill their holes at center or move on as-is remains to be seen.
Remaining Cap Space: $19,716,500
Moves Made This Offseason: Added Devin Setoguchi, Michael Frolik and Adam Pardy. Re-signed Grant Clitsome and Al Montoya.
What to Expect Before Next Season: The Winnipeg Jets were very opportunistic in adding both Setoguchi and Frolik for marbles, more or less. Seto is getting yet another "new environment" in which he could thrive, while Frolik has evolved into a tremendous penalty killer.
This is a team that knows a slow rebuild is the best kind of rebuild. The Jets continue to re-stock the prospect cupboard that Atlanta stripped for parts and make savvy moves without overpaying.
The RFA situation with Zach Bogosian is worth keeping an eye on, as is the future of Dustin Byfuglien in Winnipeg.