The Detroit Red Wings may be forced to trade a player before the start of the regular season because of NHL salary-cap issues.
"If everybody is healthy when we get to opening day, we'll probably have to make a move," general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com on Monday. "I'm anticipating we'll be over [the salary cap] by a little bit."
The Red Wings are close to $4 million over the cap of $75 million, according to CapFriendly.com. Holland told the website players who had surgery this offseason, including forwards Tomas Tatar and Luke Glendening, and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, are expected to be ready for Detroit's season opener against the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 5, the first NHL regular-season game to be played at Little Caesars Arena.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has a cap charge of $4.75 million, is expected to be ready for training camp on Sept. 15 despite missing 25 games last season because of a knee injury.
Detroit's cap situation has made it difficult to sign restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou. The 23-year-old had 29 points (18 goals, 11 assists) in 64 games last season.
"I made a number of offers; we continue to talk," Holland said. "We've had a number of conversations."
Holland also said he wants to have 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders on the roster to start the season. If Athanasiou is signed, the Red Wings would have 12 forwards and eight defensemen.
Left wing Johan Franzen (concussion) will provide some cap relief ($3.95 million) when he's placed on long-term injured reserve, which would give Detroit the ability to sign Athanasiou.
The Red Wings could trade defenseman Mike Green, who is in the final season of a three-year, $18 million contract (average annual value of 6 million). Center Riley Sheahan is also in the final season of his two-year, $4.15 million contract ($2.075 million AAV). He can become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2017.