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Teams still over the salary cap

Alex Burrows and Sami Salo make a combined $5.5 million, but will not likely start the season on the roster due to injury. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Alex Burrows and Sami Salo make a combined $5.5 million, but will not likely start the season on the roster due to injury. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils aren’t the only team still sitting well above the NHL’s $59.4 million salary cap ceiling for the upcoming season.

Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun wrote Sunday the Vancouver Canucks ($3.6 million) and Boston Bruins ($3 million) must also shed salary prior to the start of the season, suggesting it could make some of the veterans on those teams nervous over which of them would be traded or demoted.

While it’s possible the Canucks and Bruins will trade or demote players to become cap compliant, they’re under no immediate pressure to do so.

Canucks blueliner Sami Salo ($3.5 million) and winger Alex Burrows ($2 million) are expected to start the season on long-term injury reserve, while Bruins left winger Marco Sturm ($3.5 million) will also be on LTIR, plus they could demote a lower-paid player to get under the cap.

Of course, both clubs will have to clear cap space once those players are ready to return to action later this season, but for now it’s not a pressing issue for their rosters.

However, it is pressing for the Devils. Barring training camp/pre-season injuries, New Jersey (currently over the cap by roughly $2.9 million) is under the gun to get cap compliant before the season begins.

Not only will GM Lou Lamoriello struggle to clear cap space without moving a key player, but he also must look ahead to next summer when star left winger Zach Parise will be eligible to become a restricted free agent and a prime candidate for an offer sheet if unsigned by July.

Unmentioned by Simmons were the Calgary Flames, who are currently over the cap by nearly $2.35 million. Like the Canucks and Bruins, Calgary may start the season with a notable player on LTIR, in this case Daymond Langkow, slated to earn $4.5 million in 2010-11.

Langkow is finally back on skates after being sidelined by a fractured neck vertebrae late last season, but he’s about two weeks away from participating in full-contact drills.

STARS SEEKING TO MOVE BRAD RICHARDS?

As the Dallas Stars prepare for training camp this week, Brad Richards’ long-term future with the team remains a question mark.

In a recent interview with Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News Richards acknowledged he won’t be able to talk contract with the Stars until they have new ownership, but said he understood the situation and wasn’t bothered by it.

Heika points out retaining Richards beyond this season won’t be easy as he’s coming off a 91-point performance, will earn $7.8 million this season and, at age 30, still has several good years ahead of him - all of which adds up to a large deal for a team pinching the purse strings.

Much depends on Richards’ desire to remain in Dallas, how much new ownership invests in payroll and how Stars management structures the deal.

Heika also suggested the possibility of Richards being dealt at this season’s trade deadline if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement.

For now, however, it looks as though Richards will play most of this season in Dallas, so we shouldn’t expect him to be dealt before February. 

AVALANCHE NEED TO PAY UP

Despite re-signing winger Peter Mueller last Friday to a new two-year, $4-million contract, the Colorado Avalanche remain below the league’s minimum salary level of $43.4 million by approximately $200,000.

The Avs are now the only club still below the “cap floor,” but that’s not going to last much longer.

They may look toward the remaining talent in this year’s unrestricted free agent market for an affordable veteran, but Adrian Dater of the Denver Post suggests they’ll give a roster spot to a rookie who makes a strong impression in camp.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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