Let's say the league goes on a lock-out this year (which they will by the looks of it), and the lock-out lasts a whole season, which team do you think would this hurt the most?
Not as in terms of money, but as in "this was probably their last season they had a chance to playoff/ cup contender before they go on a rebuild mode/ starts to suck"?
How is Toronto the answer to the OP's question? In no way is Toronto or anybody on the team a "this was probably their last season they had a chance to playoff/ cup contender before they go on a rebuild mode/ starts to suck" situation.
We've sucked for a decade now. Taking a year off isn't going to hurt us as much as it would actual good teams. With the finances the Leafs have, the potential of bad contracts burning a year/expiring completely and a decent chance at 1st in the draft, I'd say the lockout would benefit Toronto more than anybody.
Teams like Ottawa or Anaheim who would possibly lose Alfie/Selanne, etc to retirement are hurt much much worse.
If it lasts the whole season won't Nashville have to pay Weber 26M in bonuses before he even plays on his new contract. That has to hurt a team.
Also Minny has to pay Parise and Suter 10M each I believe.
Edit: Woops, just read the rest of the OP and you aren't talking about money. I would say NYR is hurt as they lose some cheap years on their young defenders. Also Philly with all their cheap young talent.
The answer to this question is the team with the most good contracts (or quality players on ELCs) that is competing.
I'd say Anaheim, due to Perry and Getzlaf being UFA's. NYR also has a a contract time-bomb a la 2010 Chicago created that is set to go off in a few years and if there's a lockout they lose a year with all the pieces still together
You'd have to think it actually would be the teams that have the most contracts coming up in a year, and older players who might not be able to play after a year off. Anaheim potentially losing Perry, Getzlaf and Selanne was mentioned in the trade boards.
Dallas has Jagr, Morrow, Roy and Ryder as important UFA players (even if half of them haven't played a game for Dallas yet.
Edmonton will likely improve, but having another year off of all those ELCs (and a few new big contracts coming into effect) will hurt, but easily a net improvement. Risk of losing Smid there too, which would kill their defensive depth.
New Jersey has Elias, Zajac, Zubrus and Clarkson going UFA, a few key ELCs ending (Henrique) and the risk that Brodeur can't return. New Jersey has to be my vote I think.
Islanders lose Visnovsky and Streit, meaning they don't have a solid defence for the first time in who knows how long. Nabokov is a retirement risk, but with their young goaltending developing, maybe that works out for them.
Phillie has Timonen hit UFA, or he may even retire. Either way, creates a huge hole on defence with the potential loss of 1 piece.
Phoenix has Smith go UFA, along with OEL and Boedker's contracts come up (RFA, but more expensive). A bunch of other players UFA too, but those 3 seem to be the worst of it.
San Jose has Clowe, Handzus and Murray go UFA. Potentially big holes without anything coming back.
Blues have McDonald hit UFA, and a whole bunch of RFAs that might need raises.
Leafs get freed of most of the contracts their fans complain about all the time. 1 more year of Komisarek though. Negative side: Grabo is the only center they have signed on the roster (and Kadri is RFA, so 2 centers with NHL experience). Could lose Lupul.
Canucks have Higgins, Lapierre, Malhotra and Edler come up, along with a bunch of mostly replaceable parts. Along with aging...worst case I think Canucks are as big of losers as any contender.
Jets have a bunch of RFAs in line for raises (let by Bogo and Wheeler), and a bunch of mostly replaceable parts as UFAs.
Definitely surprised to see Toronto being mentioned so many times.
Ducks seems like a team that would get hurt, with Selanne and Koivu being a year older as well as Getzlaf and Perry being ufa.
San Jose isn't getting any younger either.
I was thinking Detroit as well, but then again another shot at free agency might not be so bad for them either.
Anaheim for sure: with the potential of losing Getzlaf and Perry to UFA automatically, not to mention Selanne and Koivu, this would set the team back years if it were to happen (not saying it will, but there is the potential for it to happen). Nevermind the upcoming promise of Etem, DSP, and the continued development of their defensive core (either currently in the NHL or in junior leagues), losing a #1 center, dominating skill / power hybrid winger, and two future Hall inductees would be absolutely devastating for an already crumbling team. This of course would extend to the economics of the team and the revenues they generate.
It's going to hurt LA a fair bit in trying to build momentum on the Stanley Cup win. If you wanted to buy playoff tickets during the run, you had to put a deposit down on season tickets for the 12-13 season. It got them to 15,000 season ticket holders for the first time in their history. Everyone knows LA is the ultimate bandwagon town. There are plenty of diehard Kings fans but a ton of bandwagon fans hopped on during their run. How many of those people that jumped on the bandwagon are going to give up those tickets if you go a full year without hockey? How many kids that might have got interested in the sport during their run are going to forget about it if you go a year without hockey.