Several teams will HAVE to make trades
There have been many articles lately speculating possible trades. I say look at the numbers and you’ll see who HAS to make some moves before the puck drops in October.
Colorado, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Philadelphia, Dallas, Vancouver and especially New Jersey: These teams all have something in common – They are either above the cap as of now, or they are pretty close to it (leaving them little room to manuver during the season should they need to). These teams will most likely trade away some higher priced talent for draft picks or unproven youngsters in order to fit within the cap. Dallas could move players like Arnott, Boucher, Morrow or Lehtinen. Colorado may be forced to move one of their top guns (Sakic, Tanguay, Hejduk, Blake). Toronto may need to part ways with McCabe (or even Belfour if there is a taker). Philadelphia may move Gagne, Handzus or package 2 -3 players in a deal. Vancouver still has to fill out their roster and don’t have much room left to do it.
Boston & Anaheim have a similar problem. They are not yet at the cap max, but they still have lots of roster spots to fill. They may have to cut someone loose, or suffer having 8 unproven guys in the lineup which would hurt them when it comes to depth.
I think at the end of the day, the teams that have consistently strong seasons /playoffs will not be the teams with the 2,3 or 4 superstars but rather the temas that manage to have lots of depth (this is why Calagary will be very strong, and Edmonton won’t make the playoffs). Pronger is one of the best in the world, but Peca is not a #1 center (you can’t even compare him to Sakic, Forsberg, Sundin, Koivu, Naslund, Lecavalier, Thorton etc etc et c. The Oilers just don’t have depth.)
With all that being said, The likes of Carolina, Washington, Florida, Buffalo, Pittsburgh & San Jose may still become more improved between now and October 5th. These teams have been patient (with the exception of Pittsburgh) and they will now be able to make some very good trades with the teams that are in a tight spot (especially Jersey – Will they shop Brodeur, rafalski, Elias?? They may have to lose several depth guys in order to keep their stars (langenbrunner, kozlov, freisen, madden) – New Jersey may look like a very different team before it’s all said and done.