How a Stagnant Salary Cap Would Affect All 30 NHL Teams

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2014

How a Stagnant Salary Cap Would Affect All 30 NHL Teams

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    Bill Smith/Getty Images

    The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports there's concern among NHL officials that next season's salary cap might not increase by very much, if at all. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports there's speculation the cap might reach $70.5 million, which is a modest increase over the current $69 million.

    A stagnant cap ceiling will have significant consequences for a number of NHL clubs. CapGeek.com indicates 20 of the 30 teams have over $50 million invested in payrolls for 2015-16. The site also makes it possible to review the cap space for each team at the current ceiling and at $70.5 million.

    Here's a look at how a stagnant salary cap could affect every NHL team, including efforts to improve their respective rosters and re-signing key free agents.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $18,630,000 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $20,130,000 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Jakob Silfverberg and Emerson Etem.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Jason Labarbera, defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Souray and forwards Dany Heatley and Matt Beleskey.

    Analysis: With over $50 million invested in 20 players, the Anaheim Ducks will have no difficulty re-signing their key free agents. None of them are having the type of performances this season that merit substantial raises.

    Of their unrestricted free agents, all but Beauchemin could be easily replaceable. If they're willing to spend up to the cap ceiling, management could have sufficient room to pursue some depth in next summer's free-agent market.

Arizona Coyotes

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $30,749,722 as of November 20, 2014 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $32,249,722 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forward Mikkel Boedker.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Devan Dubnyk, defenseman Zbynek Michalek and forwards Antoine Vermette and Martin Erat.

    Analysis: The good news is the Arizona Coyotes have just over $38 million committed to 14 players. The bad news is they're among the lowest-spending teams in the league.

    If ownership insists on keeping payroll close to the cap minimum for 2015-16, it will have enough to re-sign Boedker but could risk losing Michalek, Vermette or Erat to free agency. Maintaining a low payroll also limits significant additions via trade or free agency. 

Boston Bruins

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $12,508,690 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $14,008,690 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include Niklas Svedberg, defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug and forwards Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Adam McQuaid and forwards Carl Soderberg, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.

    Analysis: With over $56 million tied up in just 14 players, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli can't re-sign everyone. If pressed for cap space, Chiarelli can get some relief by placing center Marc Savard ($4.027 million) on long-term injured reserve.

    Hamilton is coming off an entry-level contract, so Chiarelli could sign him to an affordable one-year deal akin to those signed in September by Krug and Smith. Speaking of that duo, they have arbitration rights next summer and could seek lucrative, longer-term extensions.

Buffalo Sabres

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    Jen Fuller/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $33,107,500 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $34,607,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Unrestricted free agents include goaltenders Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth, defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Andre Benoit and forwards Chris Stewart, Drew Stafford and Patrick Kaleta.

    Analysis: Considering the Buffalo Sabres are a rebuilding team playing poorly this season, it's unlikely most of their unrestricted free agents will be back.

    With over $35.8 million invested in just 13 players, there's plenty of room to pursue talent via trades or free agency next summer if ownership is willing to spend to the cap. General manager Tim Murray could target teams with limited cap space attempting to shed salary.

Calgary Flames

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    MIKE MUNDEN/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $22,145,833 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $23,645,833 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Mikael Backlund, Josh Jooris, Lance Bouma and Paul Byron.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Karri Ramo, defenseman Raphael Diaz and forward Curtis Glencross.

    Analysis: The rebuilding Calgary Flames have over $46.8 million invested in 16 players. Most of their restricted free agents should be affordable signings, as they're coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. There's sufficient space to re-sign Ramo, but Glencross' fate depends upon his asking price.

    Though among the league's lowest-spending teams, the Flames have shown a willingness to pursue unrestricted free agents. Whether they do so next summer hinges upon how much ownership wants to invest in payroll. 

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $15,477,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $16,977,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Riley Nash and Chris Terry.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Andrej Sekera and Tim Gleason and forwards Jiri Tlusty and Jay McClement.

    Analysis: With over $53.5 million invested in 14 players, the Carolina Hurricanes will be hard-pressed to re-sign all their key free agents. General manager Ron Francis told Sportsnet 590 (via NBC Sports' Mike Halford) Sekera is a player he hopes to retain but that it could prove to be an expensive move.

    Unless the Hurricanes shed some salary, they won't have much room to pursue experienced depth via free agency next summer.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $3,211,538 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $4,711,538 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival and forward Brad Richards.

    Analysis: With over $65.7 million tied up in 15 players, the Chicago Blackhawks must shed salary next summer. Re-signing Saad and Kruger could take up all their remaining cap space. They must trade away some high-salaried players to become cap compliant before next season, replacing them with affordable young players from within their system or via trades.

    Among those signed through next season, the only untouchables are Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. Brent Seabrook has one year left on his contract at a cap hit of $5.8 million. He could become a trade candidate if he proves too expensive to re-sign.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $10,124,405 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $11,624,405 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Unrestricted free agents include Daniel Briere, Ryan Wilson and Jan Hejda.

    Analysis: With 22 players under contract for next season, the Colorado Avalanche have sufficient space to re-sign most of their key free agents (if they wish) and seek experienced depth via trade or free agency. Given their woeful shots-against stats this season, perhaps that space could be best used bolstering their defense.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Mike Munden/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $23,478,690 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $24,978,690 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forwards Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Curtis McElhinney, defenseman Jordan Leopold and forwards Nick Foligno and Mark Letestu.

    Analysis: The Columbus Blue Jackets have over $45.5 million invested in 16 players. If they spend to the cap ceiling, they could re-sign nearly all their key players. Bobrovsky, who's eligible for arbitration, will prove the most expensive to retain.

    ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reports Bobrovsky is earning $6.25 million in actual salary and that his previous contract talks with the Jackets weren't easy. He's also eligible for unrestricted free agency in a year's time unless the Jackets re-sign him long term. It could cost over $7 million per season to keep Bobrovsky in the fold, which will significantly bite into their cap space.

Dallas Stars

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $29,125,000 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $30,625,000 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defensemen Brenden Dillon and John Klingberg.

    Unrestricted free agents include forwards Jason Spezza, Shawn Horcoff, Erik Cole and Rich Peverley.

    Analysis: With over $39.8 million invested in 14 players, the Dallas Stars have more than enough space to re-sign their restricted free agents. The Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika reports Stars general manager Jim Nill acknowledged having contract talks with Spezza's representatives but declined to go into details.

    Having acquired Spezza last summer from Ottawa, it's understandable why Nill hopes to re-sign him. It's unlikely Horcoff and Cole will be back, while Peverley's heart condition could force his retirement. There should also be sufficient space to pursue an experienced defenseman with a right-handed shot.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $11,697,121 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $13,197,121 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Brendan Smith and forwards Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Jurco.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

    Analysis: The Detroit Red Wings have over $57.3 million invested in 19 players. Of their key free agents, Nyquist and Smith could prove expensive re-signings. Both have arbitration rights next summer and will seek substantial raises that will use up a healthy chunk of their cap space.

    Wings general manager Ken Holland won't have sufficient cap space to make any significant additions via free agency. If Holland hopes to land that top-four right-handed defenseman he's sought for months, it will have to come via the trade market, provided he can swap some salary in the deal.

Edmonton Oilers

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $18,437,500 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $19,937,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defensemen Justin Schultz and Martin Marincin  and forwards Nail Yakupov and Mark Arcobello.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Viktor Fasth and defenseman Jeff Petry.

    Analysis: The Edmonton Oilers have over $50.5 million invested in 14 players. Yakupov and Marincin are coming off entry-level contracts without arbitration rights and should be affordable re-signings. Schultz could seek a significant raise via arbitration.

    It remains to be seen if Fasth and Petry have futures in Edmonton. Given the Oilers' difficulty in attracting notable free-agent talent, they could be forced into the trade market to bolster their depth.

Florida Panthers

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $23,228,792 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $24,728,792 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad.

    Unrestricted free agents include forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim.

    Analysis: During the summer of 2011, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon used his cap space to make a number of trade and free-agent acquisitions. It'll be interesting to see if he tries that tactic again next summer. It's unlikely he'll re-sign his unrestricted free agents, as they haven't produced as expected.

    Huberdeau and Bjugstad are coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. Don't be surprised if Tallon uses that leverage to re-sign the duo to affordable short-term deals.

Los Angeles Kings

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $12,835,606 as of November 20, 2014 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $14,335,606 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include goaltender Martin Jones and forwards Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Alec Martinez and Robyn Regehr and forwards Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll.

    Analysis: With over $56 million tied up in just 13 players, Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi faces some tough decisions next summer. Toffoli and Pearson are coming off entry-level deals and lack arbitration rights, so Lombardi can use that leverage to re-sign them to affordable short-term contracts.

    Clifford and Nolan should also be affordable re-signings, but it'll prove costly to retain Martinez, Williams and Stoll. Unless those players agree to pay cuts or Lombardi sheds salary elsewhere, they could depart via free agency.

Minnesota Wild

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $12,411,994 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $13,911,994 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Marco Scandella and forwards Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Josh Harding, defenseman Keith Ballard and forward Kyle Brodziak.

    Analysis: The Minnesota Wild have 15 players under contract totaling over $56.5 million. As they've recently re-signed young players such as Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin and Nino Niederreiter to long-term contracts, expect their focus to be upon Granlund, Haula and Scandella.

    They won't have much cap space to pursue expensive talent next summer. Any additions could be affordable depth signings unless management opts to shake things up via trade.

Montreal Canadiens

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $15,337,500 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $16,837,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Mike Weaver and forward Manny Malhotra.

    Analysis: The Montreal Canadiens have over $53.6 million invested in 14 players. They have all their key veterans under contract for next season. There's enough cap space to re-sign their notable free agents and perhaps make a depth signing or two. 

    Galchenyuk and Gallagher are coming off entry-level deals without arbitration rights. Don't be surprised if they're re-signed to affordable short-term contracts. 

Nashville Predators

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $29,644,524 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $31,144,524 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Colin Wilson and Craig Smith.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Anton Volchenkov and forwards Mike Fisher, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Matt Cullen and Olli Jokinen.

    Analysis: With just over $39.3 million tied up in 13 players, the Nashville Predators have sufficient cap space to re-sign all their key players if they wish. It remains to be seen, however, just how many of their unrestricted free agents will return.

    Much also depends upon how much ownership is willing to invest in the roster. The Predators currently carry one of the NHL's lowest payrolls. If they opt to remain near the cap minimum, general manager David Poile could find it challenging to retain most of his best free agents.

New Jersey Devils

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $22,654,167 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $24,154,167 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Eric Gelinas and Adam Larsson.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky and forwards Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat and Damien Brunner.

    Analysis: The New Jersey Devils have over $46.3 million tied up in 13 players. Many of their key unrestricted free agents are aging, and their best days are behind them.

    If ownership allows general manager Lou Lamoriello to spend toward the cap ceiling, he could have room to land some younger and durable talent via free agency or trade.

New York Islanders

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $24,450,357 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $25,950,357 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defensemen Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey and forwards Brock Nelson and Anders Lee.

    Unrestricted free agents include defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky.

    Analysis: The New York Islanders have over $44.5 million invested in 16 players. While general manager Garth Snow will put his focus upon his restricted free agents, he will also try to re-sign Boychuk. On October 27, Snow told SNY TV (via NBC Sports' Mike Halford) he considers Boychuk a long-term fit with the Isles.

    With new ownership taking over and the club moving to a new arena next season, Snow could be encouraged to use his available cap space to bolster his roster. There's sufficient room to retain his best free agents and seek additional depth via free agency or trades.

New York Rangers

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $23,002,500 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $24,502,500 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Cameron Talbot, defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello and Lee Stempniak.

    Analysis: The good news is the New York Rangers could have up to $24.5 million in cap space to work with next summer. The bad news is they have only 12 players under contract.

    Re-signing Stepan, Hagelin and Staal will eat up a considerable chunk of their cap space, which won't leave much to re-sign or replace their remaining free agents. Even if general manager Glen Sather retains them all, he won't have room to make any significant additions without first shedding salary.

Ottawa Senators

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $15,499,167 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $16,999,167 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include forwards Mika Zibanejad, Alex Chiasson, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Marc Methot and forward Erik Condra.

    Analysis: With over $53.5 million invested in 18 players, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray should have sufficient space to re-sign his restricted free agents. All but Hoffman are coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights, meaning they can re-signed to low-cost, short-term bridge deals.

    It remains to be seen if Methot or Condra will be re-signed or replaced. That could depend upon how much owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to invest in payroll. The Senators currently have the league's lowest payroll. If Melnyk insists on keeping it close to the cap minimum, Murray won't have much space to add veteran depth.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $1,820,238 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $3,320,238 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forward Jason Akeson.

    Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Ray Emery and defensemen Kimmo Timonen, Nick Schultz and Carlo Colaiacovo.

    Analysis: The Philadelphia Flyers will get an additional $4.9 million in cap space by placing defenseman Chris Pronger on long-term injured reserve. They'll need all the space they can get for re-signings and to bolster their defense corps, which is currently among the NHL's worst in shot against per game.

    Making significant improvements, however, means shedding salary elsewhere via buyouts or trades. Otherwise, the Flyers roster you see this season could stay pretty much the same next season.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Francois Lacasse/Getty Images

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $15,280,833 as of November 20, 2014.

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $16,780,833 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Unrestricted free agents include goaltender Thomas Greiss, defensemen Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff and forwards Marcel Goc, Steve Downie, Craig Adams and Blake Comeau.

    Analysis: With over $53.7 million invested in just a dozen players, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford can't afford to re-sign everyone. He risks potentially losing Martin and Ehrhoff from his defense corps. Given their depth in young defensemen, Rutherford could take that gamble.

    Unless Rutherford dumps some salary, he can't afford to add significant talent next season. He could face filling out his roster with cheap short-term depth signings.  

San Jose Sharks

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    Bill Wippert/Getty Images

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $14,043,333 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $15,543,333 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Scott Hannan and forwards Tyler Kennedy, James Sheppard and John Scott.

    Analysis: The Sharks have nearly $55 million committed to 17 players. All of their key players are under contract next season. Their notable free agents are easily replaceable.

    There's enough cap space to perhaps add one or two reasonably priced free agents. If they fall short again in the playoffs, management could attempt to move high-salaried veterans such as Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

St. Louis Blues

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $13,400,000 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $14,900,000 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include goaltender Jake Allen and forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Barrett Jackman and forward Maxim Lapierre.

    Analysis: With 14 players under contract for next season totalling over $55.6 million, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong must be very careful in how he invests his cap space next summer.

    Tarasenko is coming off an entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights, meaning he could end up with an affordable short-term contract. Allen, however, qualifies for arbitration and could prove more expensive to retain. 

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $5,545,357 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $7,045,357 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Andrej Sustr and forward Vladislav Namestnikov.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Eric Brewer and forward Brenden Morrow.

    Analysis: With over $63.4 million invested in 18 players, the Lightning seem squeezed for cap space. However, they'll get over $3.6 million in cap relief when defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee injuries) is once again placed on long-term injured reserve.

    It should provide sufficient space to re-sign their key players and make a few affordable additions from their farm team, free agency or via trade. Don't expect them to go shopping for big-name help.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $15,505,000 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $17,005,000 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include goaltender Jonathan Bernier and forward Nazem Kadri.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Cody Franson and forwards Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli and David Booth.

    Analysis: The Maple Leafs currently have over $53.4 million invested in 14 players. Re-signing Bernier, Kardi and perhaps Franson could use up over half of their cap space.

    Unless management opts to shake things up, it could be another summer of low-salaried depth additions via trade and free agency.

Vancouver Canucks

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $13,905,833 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $15,405,833 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defensemen Luca Sbisa and Chris Tanev and forward Linden Vey.

    Unrestricted free agents include forwards Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardson and Derek Dorsett.

    Analysis: With over $55 million tied up in 14 players, there's not a lot of cap space for Canucks GM Jim Benning to make any significant additions without shedding salary first. In other words, doing just what he did last summer when he dealt away Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison for more affordable returns.

    Fortunately, all his best players are under contract for next season. His key free agents should be affordable re-signings.

Washington Capitals

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Projected space with $69 million cap: $18,643, 205 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $20,143, 205 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include goaltender Braden Holtby and forwards Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

    Unrestricted free agents include defenseman Mike Green and forwards Joel Ward, Eric Fehr and Jay Beagle.

    Analysis: The Capitals have over $50.3 million invested in 15 players. There's sufficient cap space to re-sign their restricted free agents, but they could cut loose some or all of their key unrestricted players.

    That could leave room to bring in depth from outside the organization next summer, though not on the same scale as their signings of defenseman Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

Winnipeg Jets

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press
    1. Projected space with $69 million cap: $17,004,643 as of November 20, 2014. 

    Projected space with $70.5 million cap: $18,504,643 as of November 20, 2014.

    Notable free agents: Restricted free agents include defenseman Paul Postma.

    Unrestricted free agents include Michael Frolik and Jim Slater.

    Analysis: The Jets have 16 players under contract next season totalling nearly $52 million. The question is, how many (especially their higher-salaried players) will be still be on the roster? Since relocating from Atlanta in 2011, the Jets have yet to reach the playoffs, leading to trade speculation over several of their best players.

    The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch believes Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff could face tough decisions over Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and team captain Andrew Ladd. Much will depend upon where the Jets finish this season.

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