The NHL salary cap is expected to increase for next season from its current figure of $64.3 million. Earlier this year it was projected to rise to $71.1 million. However, The Globe and Mail's James Mirtle recently estimated it could reach $69.6 million.
While the increase in the cap ceiling is good news for most NHL clubs, the 10 teams on this list could find themselves needing to shed salary before next season.
One budget-conscious team won't allow payroll to climb too high. Another appears to have sufficient cap room for 2014-15 but must ensure there's space to re-sign top free agents prior to next summer.
A few could consider rebuilding, which would necessitate shedding high-salaried veterans for affordable youth. Several lack cap space this summer to re-sign their key free agents. While cap-strapped teams are allowed during the offseason to spend over the cap by 10 percent, they must be cap compliant when the 2014-15 season begins.
The following slideshow examines each club's cap situation, the prime concerns and the players who could become trade or buyout candidates. Cap space, free agency and roster needs factored into the rankings.
All salary information via CapGeek.com, based upon the original $71.1 million salary cap projection.