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How does the (new) Northeast Division shape up financially?

 

 

Four weeks ago we looked at a breakdown of the salary cap situation for all 30 NHL teams. The message is clear: there will be fewer dollars available for free agents this summer than there are normally due to the salary cap ceiling dropping to $64.3 million. The impact on fantasy hockey, mainly cap leagues, is significant as there will be many players who will be forced to sign for less than what we may think they are worth.

 

This week we will continue a team-by-team breakdown of potential moves that could happen this summer. Hopefully we can stay ahead of the curve in trying to determine which players could potentially become cap bargains when they sign their new contracts.

 

Since the 2004-05 lockout, the popular course of action is for teams to take care of their own. Many pending contract expirations are settled during the season rather than waiting until after July 1st. Then, those who become free agents get whatever money is left, often with limited potential destinations.

 

So with that in mind, it is highly probable that free agents who re-sign with their current teams will have more odds of signing contracts that resemble what we would have seen last summer. On the other hand, players who hit the open market may get the short end of the stick.

 

Here is a breakdown of the NHL’s new Northeast division:

 

Boston Bruins

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

17

6

$6,657,857

$1,109,643

Rask, Caron

Jagr, Horton, Ference, Redden, Khudobin


This is going to be an interesting summer for the Eastern Conference champions. The contract extensions given to Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin take effect in July which will put the team in a difficult spot in terms of re-signing the rest of the roster. It is worth noting that Marc Savard’s contract will be put on long-term injured reserve which should cover most of the new contract that Tuukka Rask will sign.

 

Up front, it is possible that the team loses both Jaromir Jagr and Nathan Horton depending on how much cap space is taken by Rask. One could take a discount to remain with the team. If it is Horton that takes the smaller deal then he becomes an excellent cap bargain in roto leagues. Just be careful not to overpay for him in points-only leagues because his career-high is just 62 points and he is also injury-prone. If there are openings up front then there will be opportunities for prospects like Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner to make their mark next fall.

 

There could also be some trades or buyouts on the horizon in Boston. The team will try to keep the core together as much as possible but one player who could be on the outs is Rich Peverley, who had a disappointing campaign with just 18 points in 47 games. His $3.25 million cap hit would help preserve the team depth elsewhere and would give additional value to the aforementioned forward prospects.

 

Buffalo Sabres

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

15

8

$17,392,143

$2,174,018

Hodgson, Flynn, Weber, Enroth

Pardy, Sulzer


The Buffalo Sabres are in a great position to add some pieces to their roster this summer. They have $17 million in cap space with no key unrestricted free agents to sign. Sulzer and Pardy will probably be let go and by the time everyone is re-signed there will be enough cap space to add to the roster.

 

Despite the available cap space, the team may be looking to dump a couple salaries. The main point of interest is goaltender Ryan Miller who has one year left on his contract and could benefit from a change of scenery. Moving Miller would likely mean that the Sabres would either sign or trade for another veteran goalie.

 

Meanwhile, it is possible that the contract of Ville Leino could be bought out. Leino has been a massive disappointment since signing a contract that has four more years remaining at a cap hit of $4.5 million. He appeared in eight games this year and posted six points, so he may have bought himself another year to try to prove himself to management.

 

Detroit Red Wings

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

17

6

$13,362,121

$2,227,020

Kindl, Nyquist, Smith

Filppula, Cleary, White, Brunner


 The Detroit Red Wings also have a lot of cap space but have a more challenging summer ahead with a few key free agents about to hit the open market. There is a good chance that Valterri Filppula does not return which will allow Gustav Nyquist to get some more ice time and responsibility in offensive situations.

 

If the team wants to clear additional cap space it can do so by using an amnesty buyout on defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. By ridding themselves of Colaracovo and letting Ian White walk, the Red Wings create more space for young defensemen Brendan Smith and Danny Dekeyser while allowing Brian Lashoff, who signed a three-year one-way contract, to be in the NHL full-time.

 

Florida Panthers

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

17

6

$19,339,625

$3,223,271

Mueller, Markstrom, Matthias, Skille

Weiss, Theodore, Strachan


The Florida Panthers are a small-budget team which means that despite finishing in last place in the East they are not expected to make an offseason splash to change their roster. Rather, they are far more likely to build through youth and seek cheap alternatives to round out their roster. Unrestricted free agents Stephen Weiss and Jose Theodore are not expected to be retained.

 

Up front, the ramifications of the likely departure of Weiss are significant. There will be nobody in the way of allowing prospect Nick Bjugstad from making the jump to the NHL and will also allow Shawn Matthias to continue developing.

 

Montreal Canadiens

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

19

4

$6,281,667

$1,570,417

Weber, White

Ryder, Armstrong, Halpern


The Montreal Canadiens did themselves some good by trading away Erik Cole in exchange for Michael Ryder’s expiring contract. This, along with the expected buyout of Tomas Kaberle, will give the team a lot of options this summer. They have no key free agents to re-sign aside from Ryder, who will not return to the club next year.

 

The team is deep at center but could use some help on the wings and would also benefit from an upgrade on the blueline. There will be enough players available via trade and free agency although the team will already have used their two amnesty buyouts which means the team cannot afford to make a mistake.

 

Ottawa Senators

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

17

6

$23,262,500

$3,877,083

Wiercioch, Condra

Alfredsson, Latendresse, Lundin


Cap space is definitely not an issue for the young Ottawa Senators. The one key free agent is Daniel Alfredsson who is contemplating retirement. If he decides to return it will be with Ottawa. Guillaume Latendresse and Mike Lundin will probably not return.

 

Should Alfredsson retire, the team will probably seek another veteran scoring winger. Beyond that, they would be smart to listen to the trade market. Their cap situation could make them a popular destination for cheap acquisitions that help other teams get out of their cap problems.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

17

6

$3,332,250

$555,375

Pouliot

Garon


The 2013-14 roster of the Tampa Bay Lightning is mostly set.  They only have $3.3 million in cap space but Mattias Ohlund’s $3.6 million cap hit will come off the books when the season begins and he is placed on long-term injured reserve. The team will continue going with the youth but may be a player on the trade market this summer to try to bolster the roster after failing to qualify for the playoffs for the second straight year.

 

It is not clear if Benoit Pouliot will be brought back. He had a pretty good year with 20 points in 34 games and could be a good cap bargain next if his new deal, whether signed in Tampa or elsewhere, carries a cap hit similar to the $1.8 milion he earned this year.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Plyrs Signed

Openings

Cap Space

$/Opening

Key RFA

Key UFA

12

11

$19,495,833

$1,772,348

Kadri, Gunnarsson, Franson, McLaren, Fraser

O'Byrne, Bozak, Orr, Kostka, MacArthur


The Toronto Maple Leafs finally ended their long playoff drought and they now face a busy summer with several key free agents. Their $19 million is not a lot considering the number of openings. This will be facilitated by the buyout of blueliner Mike Komisarek ($4.5 million).

 

If Komisarek is in fact bought out, it should give the Leafs enough space to sign the players that they need to get to next season. Of the unrestricted free agents, expect Ryan O’Byrne and Clarke MacArthur to hit the open market. MacArthur has a good history of producing points but may not be worth the $3.25 million he earned last season and could make a nice depth cap bargain should he sign a cheap deal somewhere.

 

Previously from Daoust:

 

 

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Comments (2)add comment

ericdaoust said:

ericdaoust
... Credit goes to Angus for that. He really does look like a child standing between those two!
June 13, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
Kane The picture you have chosen to use is phenomenal lol. With Chara in the background and Lucic in the foreground, Kane in the middle looks like one of those kids that joins the team in warmup haha (coming from a Hawks fan)
June 13, 2013
Votes: +0
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