NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Teams That Have Cap Space, and What They Need

April WeinerCorrespondent INovember 18, 2011

NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Teams That Have Cap Space, and What They Need

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    As we're getting further into the NHL season, more and more trades are likely to commence, especially the closer we get to February and then the trade deadline.

    There are five teams that currently are at the cap limit: Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens.

    Many more aren't too far behind, with very limited cap space left.

    However, there are plenty of teams on the opposite end of the spectrum, with millions in cap space left to possibly be partially filled before the trade deadline.

    Let's take a look at some of these teams. 

Colorado Avalanche

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    Cap Space: $15,067,807

    What They Need: The Colorado Avalanche have the fourth worst penalty kill in the league, with a penalty kill percentage of 76.2 percent.

    While the Avalanche are in the lower half of the league in penalty minutes thus far this season, they need to improve their penalty kill.

Nashville Predators

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    Cap Space: $14,711,270

    What They Need: The Nashville Predators could use a high scorer, particularly to help jumpstart their lackluster power-play unit.

    The Predators currently average 2.71 goals per game, which is more than the goals against they average, thanks to Pekka Rinne, but they need to improve upon that.

    They also need to improve their power play, which is at just over 14 percent. 

New York Islanders

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    Cap Space: $14,112,922

    What They Need: The New York Islanders desperately need another goal scorer, as the fourth-lowest scoring team in the league so far. 

    They currently average a mere 2.19 goals per game. 

    Meanwhile, they average more than three goals against per game, so they need another scorer to help with that discrepancy. 

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Cap Space: $13,756,239

    What They Need: The Carolina Hurricanes currently have the second-highest goals against average per game in the NHL.

    Since Cam Ward is one of the highest paid goaltenders and a franchise goalie, he's obviously not going to be replaced.

    Therefore, the team needs to improve their defense in front of him. 

Dallas Stars

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    Cap Space: $13,370,000

    What They Need: Surprisingly, despite being one of the lowest spending teams in the league, the Dallas Stars have very few issues that they need to improve upon.

    If anything, they have a higher goals against per game average than goals for per game average; which is something they could improve upon for the second half. 

Ottawa Senators

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    Cap Space: $12,458,202

    What They Need: The Ottawa Senators have the third-highest goals against average in the league, averaging 3.42. 

    Meanwhile, they only average 2.79 goals per game, which clearly is a problem.

    They need to improve that discrepancy with both a scorer and better goaltending. 

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Cap Space: $11,721,791

    What They Need: The Phoenix Coyotes have one of the lowest power-play percentages in the league, currently at 14 percent.

    Even though they are currently the least penalized team in the league, they still need to improve their power-play unit. 

Florida Panthers

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    Cap Space: $11,721,791

    What They Need: The Florida Panthers blew up their roster a lot in the past few months and at this point, they're doing pretty good actually. 

    Really they don't need much, even though they have plenty of cap space at their disposal. 

Winnipeg Jets

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    Cap Space: $11,314,789

    What They Need: The Winnipeg Jets currently have one of the highest goals against averages in the league, so they could use more reliable goaltending.

    They currently average more than three goals allowed per game, while they only score an average of 3.61 per game.

    Goaltending and goal scoring are necessities for the team. 

Minnesota Wild

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    Cap Space: $10,892,054

    What They Need: The Minnesota Wild are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, currently averaging 2.21 goals per game.

    They added Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi over the summer to help with their scoring, but they need more help.