Who has cash?
Two days in, and for some teams, the well is running dry.
By my count, Chicago and Philadelphia are over the salary cap. Teams with less than $2.5-million salary room include Anaheim, New Jersey, Dallas, Calgary, Boston and Detroit, none of whom is likely to add another impact player from the list of who's left.
Other teams have their own self-imposed caps, and are likely to remain well below the $56.7-million limit. Nashville's spent $43-million and won't go much higher. Ditto for St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Phoenix.
Throw in clubs that have restricted free agents to sign, contracts that will put them close to the cap, and you can eliminate even more teams from the spending spree. Washington and Florida fit the bill.
By my count, half the NHL's teams aren't likely to buy significantly into the free agent market at this point — which has to be just a wee bit troubling for those still waiting and available. There are not enough homes, and there will be bargains to be had.
So, who will spend?
Vancouver: The Canucks are a "have" team in terms of cap space, with roughly $17-million to use and an owner willing to spend. They desperately need help up front but have six NHL defencemen and two goaltenders signed. The city's hockey fans are in full panic mode.
Colorado: Even if you factor in a return for Joe Sakic, the Avs have nearly $10-million to play with and only Marek Svatos to sign. The fact they went bargain basement in goal has given them options elsewhere although GM Francois Giguere may opt for a rebuild of sorts.
Minnesota: Another team in the Northwest with cash to spend, the Wild have to sign Pierre-Marc Bouchard but should still have $10-million cap space to use on replenishing their forwards.
Pittsburgh: The Penguins lost out on Marian Hossa and got Brooks Orpik back on a bargain of a contract, but Marc-Andre Fleury's likely to cost a pretty penny. Even still, they'll have about $9-million (or more if there's a salary-cutting trade) to find forwards to play with Sid Crosby and friends.
Atlanta: Even after giving Ron Hainsey a big-time contract, the Thrashers have $25-million cap space with only Kari Lehtonen to re-sign. They need help at centre and on the wings, but don't expect perennial money-loser Atlanta to spend close to the cap. Even still, there's about $8-million in play.
Los Angeles: The Kings have the most cap room in the NHL, $27-million, a figure that will drop to about $20-million once the team signs its RFAs. Los Angeles needs at least one more NHL defenceman, but GM Dean Lombardi has indicated he will not spend to the cap.
Buffalo: The Sabres are closing in on their self-imposed cap once their three key RFAs are signed, although GM Darcy Regier is looking to add a defenceman from the free agent pool.
Other teams with cash (estimated after signing RFAs): N.Y. Islanders ($12-million), Columbus ($11-million), Ottawa ($8-million), Montreal ($7-million), Toronto ($7-million), N.Y. Rangers ($5-million)
*Note that teams like the Islanders and Blue Jackets are unlikely to spend to the cap.
The only teams I didn't list are Edmonton and San Jose, both of whom are likely to spend $3- to $4-million for upgrades (barring salary dumps).