NHL Free Agency: How Much Room Each Team Has to Maneuver Under the Salary Cap

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2011

NHL Free Agency: How Much Room Each Team Has to Maneuver Under the Salary Cap

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    The NHL implemented a salary cap following the lockout of the 2003-2004 season. The cap often fluctuates from year to year, but in general certain teams have become known for spending right up to the limit, while others struggle to meet the minimum requirements set forth by the NHL.

    As the dust settles on another wild offseason, it's good to take a look at where each team stands in terms of salary cap space. A few teams have to shed salary to get under the cap, and others still need reach the floor.

    Here is where each team stands with just a few weeks before training camp opens up. The salary cap for the upcoming season is $68.4 million, and the floor is $48.3 million. All figures come courtesy of capgeek.com 

Anaheim Ducks

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    Cap Space: $10,033,667

    The Ducks have plenty of cap space to re-sign Teemu Selanne if he decides to play another season.

Boston Bruins

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    Cap Space: $7,617,024

    The Boston Bruins are currently in contract talks with restricted free agent Brad Marchand. They shouldn't have trouble fitting him under the cap.

Buffalo Sabres

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    Cap Space: - $3,595,357

    The Buffalo Sabres are one of the teams that will have to find a way to move some money around to be cap compliant before the start of the season. It was a busy offseason of spending for the team.

Calgary Flames

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    Cap Space: $3,631,666

    The Calgary Flames are dealing with a lot of overpriced contracts from the past regime. Jay Feaster has a bit of house cleaning to do, but the Flames still rest comfortably under the salary cap.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Cap Space: $14,525,000

    Even after dropping a solid amount of coin on Tomas Kaberle and Joni Pitkanen, the Carolina Hurricanes are still well under the cap for the upcoming season.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Cap Space: $3,415,706

    After the mess of a salary cap situation the Blackhawks dealt with last offseason, the team seems to have the situation under control a year later.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Cap Space: $15,866,666

    Typical of a team in rebuilding mode, the Colorado Avalanche are just above the salary floor.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Cap Space: $4,326,024

    The Columbus Blue Jackets spent more money this offseason than they ever have, and they still sit at over $4 million under the cap.

Dallas Stars

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    Cap Space: $14,395,000

    Anyone who thinks cap space factored into Brad Richards not re-signing with the Stars just needs to take one look at the figure above.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Cap Space: $5,845,455

    The Detroit Red Wings run one of the best hockey operations in the entire league, so it's no surprise that they are in an ideal cap situation.

Edmonton Oilers

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    Cap Space: $7,165,000

    The Edmonton Oilers are rebuilding with young, cheap players to go with a few pricey veterans. That bodes well for their salary cap situation.

Florida Panthers

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    Cap Space: $14,477,958

    The Florida Panthers spent an outrageous amount of money this offseason and still barely got themselves above the cap floor.

Los Angeles Kings

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    Cap Space: $9,343,690

    The L.A. Kings have plenty of cap space, but how much of it will they want to use on Drew Doughty's new contract?

Minnesota Wild

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    Cap Space: $9,494,222

    Despite taking on Dany Heatley's big contract this offseason, the Minnesota Wild still have roughly $9.5 million under the cap.

Montreal Canadiens

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    Cap Space: $3,979,490

    The Montreal Canadiens were unable to re-sign some of their top free agents this offseason due to the lack of cap space available to them.

Nashville Predators

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    Cap Space: $14,200,000

    Imagine how good the Nashville Predators could be if they actually spent some money.

New Jersey Devils

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    Cap Space: $5,293,333

    The Devils had to re-sign Zach Parise this offseason, which took up a solid chunk of the salary cap.

New York Islanders

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    Cap Space: $15,534,834

    The Islanders have tons of cap space, but unfortunately, it's a new arena the team really needs.

New York Rangers

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    Cap Space: $1,364,666

    The Rangers budgeted things out nicely for Brad Richards this offseason. They sit just barely beneath the salary cap.

Ottawa Senators

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    Cap Space: $12,454,166

    The Ottawa Senators are in complete rebuilding mode and have tons of cap space. However, they still may look to shed some of the salary on their blue line before the season starts.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Cap Space: $175,239

    In typical Flyers' fashion, the team is left with less than a million dollars to spare just before the drop of the first puck this fall.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Cap Space: $13,356,250

    Cap space is the least of Phoenix's worries right now. Finding a way to keep the team in town is a bit more pressing.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Cap Space: $1,562,500

    The Pittsburgh Penguins are another strong hockey market that loves to spend right up to the cap.

San Jose Sharks

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    Cap Space: $3,255,000

    The San Jose Sharks were forced to deal Dany Heatley's contract to make some cap room for a new-look defense.

St. Louis Blues

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    Cap Space: $12,395,834

    Once the St. Louis Blues secure new ownership, they will undoubtedly start spending some of the $12 million in cap space that they have.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Cap Space: $3,933,917

    Re-signing Steven Stamkos to a big-time contract certainly put a dent in Tampa Bay's payroll, but letting Stamkos go would have been a disastrous move.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Cap Space: $5,785,000

    Brian Burke knows how to manage a hockey team and appears to have had another efficient and progressive offseason in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks

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    Cap Space: $2,326,667

    The Vancouver Canucks were able to keep most of the core intact, but a few key contributors, including Christian Ehrhoff, were casualties of the salary cap restrictions.

Washington Capitals

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    Cap Space: -$890,128

    The Washington Capitals have a very minimal amount of salary to trim before opening night.

Winnipeg Jets

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    Cap Space: $16,015,834

    The Winnipeg Jets will actually have to spend some money in order to reach the cap floor before the start of their season.