NHL Takeover Candidates: Atlantic Division –


The window for National Hockey League clubs to buy players opens Friday and with the salary cap only increasing by $1 million to $82.5 million next season, most general managers could seriously consider opening up cap space to make improvements by finding a way to get rid of those who do not honor their contracts.

Some clubs that won’t be close to the cap limit can serve as drop zones for bad contracts or long-term injured reserve players, but the majority of clubs have a deal or two they could look to drop.

We end the potential buyouts with a look at the Atlantic Division.

Buffalo, Detroit and Tampa Bay

The Sabers continue to be a low-budget team in the early stages of a youth rebuild Rasmus Dahlin and first choice 2021 Owen Power. General manager Kevyn Adams needs to add $13 million in salary to reach the floor of the NHL salary cap and Buffalo seems to be more focused on adding or signing short-term contracts (like acquiring the retiree Ben Bishop of Dallas and veteran goaltender Craig Anderson for $1.5 million) and less on opening up more space to spend on big free agents.

The Red Wings are also undergoing a methodical rebuild under general manager Steve Yzerman and need to add more than $15 million to hit the cap. Detroit only has one player on its NHL roster who signed next season, so that’s a clean slate.

The Lightning, coming off their third straight Cup final, are close to the cap, but don’t have any bad contracts that could be seen as obvious buyouts. The most likely scenario to open cap space could be to trade veterans Alex Killorn Where Ryan McDonagh as long as they still have value.

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Boston Bruins

Nick Foligno (1 year @ $3.8 million)

The former Blue Jackets captain struggled with injuries and appeared to be losing steam after signing a two-year, $7.6 million contract. A last-year buyout would wipe out nearly half of his 2022-23 success, which could open up some of the headroom needed to re-sign Selke winner Patrice Bergeron.

Florida Panthers

Patrick Hornqvist (1 year @ $5.3 million)

The two-time Cup winner was acquired by the Panthers two years ago and posted his lowest goal tally (11) in more than a decade. A final-year buyout of the 35-year-old winger would open up more than $3.5 million next season, which, with the potential to put Antoine Duclair on LTIR (Achilles injury) would open up enough cap space to re-sign a pending free agent Claude Giroux.

Montreal Canadiens

Mike Hoffman (2 years @ $4.5 million)

The Canadiens embark on a rebuild under team president Jeff Gorton and general manager Kent Hughes, and seek to get rid of longtime veterans Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagherand Carey Award (if uninjured) but also might be willing to buy out veterans they can’t move without keeping their salary. Hoffman was added last summer to provide secondary and power-play scorers, but the 32-year-old was disappointed with 15 goals in 67 games last season. A buyout of the past two years would save Montreal $3.33 million a year.

Ottawa Senators

White Quail (3 years @ $4.75 million)

The Senators have three viable candidates for the goalie position Matt Murray ($6.5 million AAV), defender Nikita Zaitsev ($4.5 million AAV) for two more years and White for three more years. Murray’s injury status could complicate a buyout, but Ottawa would save $10 million of the $15 million owed to the two-time Cup winner, while Zaitsev’s signing bonus would dampen any savings.

Buying out one-third of White (for being under 26) would save the Sens $10.5 million and result in a tiny cap of $875,000 for five of the next six seasons.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Petr Mrazek (2 years @ $3.8 million)

The 30-year-old goaltender has signed a three-year, $11.4million contract to share duties with the goaltender Jack Campbell and struggled with injury and inconsistency (12-6-0, 3.34 GAA, .888 save percentage). With Toronto likely needing to open up space to re-sign or find a replacement for Campbell, a buyout would open up $2.76 million of cap space in 2022-23 and nearly $3 million in 2023-24.

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