I really think that all this team needs to be a competitive team is a center that works well with Kovy and a defenseman who can make the first pass out of our zone and run the point on the PP.
I believe this can be accomplished this offseason. I think that we can use picks to trade for one or both those players or sign UFAs to fill those slots. According to capgeek, we will have $9,124,168 in cap space assuming we don't acquire any players by then. If you add Salvador's $2.9 mil into that because I don't think he'll return to the NHL, that amounts to $12,024,168. If you believe what they say about the cap next year and they do raise the cap ceiling, we may have another 1-3 million to play with. Lets assume they raise it $2 million to put it in the middle of those predictions.
So now we have $14,024,168 to work with next season assuming we have not traded away anyone who is signed through next season and don't acquire anyone who is. Hopefully Zach will resign before this summer and I believe he will do so for a cap hit of around $6-6.5 million. I don't think he'll ask to be higher paid than Kovy, but I think he will get as much as Elias is, so this puts him between 6 and 6.5. Again, we'll place in in the middle at $6.25 million for the purposes of this speculation.
Now we have $7,774,168 left, which is not bad, but we still need to resign Zharkov and replace Arnott, Mair and Sestito. We should resign Zharkov. He gets $850k, $250k of which is in bonuses right now. Lets say he resigns for the same amount for next year and we either resign Mair+Sestito, bring in UFAs, find someone in the system or a combo of that for $500-600k each. So that's $850k for Zharkov and another $1.1 for two 4th liners for a total of $1.9mil.
Now we have $5,874,168 left. Time for a D man. So we sign a UFA d man for $2.5(don't ask me who, but I'm sure it's not out of the realm of possibility to do so) to play on the 2nd pairing. I think we can find a guy for this kind of money and have him be solid on the 2nd pairing.
Now all that's left is $3,374,168 for a Centerman and to resign some D that hit RFA or UFA at the end of the season. Greene, Corrente, Taormina, Salmela and Fraser's contracts are all up, so we need to resign a few of them. Greene I don't think will be around at this point, but I think the rest will. 2 of these guys will have to be on the NHL roster since they'd be the 7th and 8th dmen. I think all these guys other than Corrente can be had for less than $750k. So lets say we get Tao for $600k, Salmela for $700k, Corrente for $900k and Fraser for $600k. Only two of these guys make the roster, so lets assume it's Tao and Salmela for now, though Corrente could bump out either one depending on his play. Salmela+Tao is $1.3mil total.
Now we have $2,074,168 left for another center. A bit tight, but I think we can find someone for $2mil or less, it could even be Arnott if he'll take that type of money, though we could play Elias at center and use this money on a RW instead, so that would make our roster look like this:
Kovy-UFA-Elias (possibly switch the UFA and Elias)
Prospect-Josefson-Clarkson (Palmieri or Zharkov could fit in on this line as replacements for Clarkson if they're not already the LW here)
Rolston-Pelley-UFA (Clarkson would drop to the 4th line and so could the LW from the 3rd line if they're play drops off)
Elias could easily be the 2nd line center and we could so acquire a center or RW via trade at the draft using picks gained from trading Arnott and Greene, so that line is a big ?.
Salmela-Taormina (Corrente can be used to replace either of these guys if they're play is subpar)
This doesn't look awful to me. The defense could be better, but Corrente and Taormina I think could improve a lot and move up on the depth chart and handle 2nd pairing minutes, Salmela is also a bit of a wildcard as to how he'll fit in.
If the team looks like this and the UFAs brought in are productive players, I think we'll have a shot at the playoffs. Maybe not a top 4 seed, but definitely could make the playoffs. Also who know what happens at the draft, we might grab a true star that's NHL ready and can fill one of our holes for dirt cheap.
Edited by ATLL765, 11 January 2011 - 03:10 AM.