Amber Searls - USA TODAY Sports

Take Town: Who's making moves?

I firmly believe that if you're not top-10 or so in the league, you should be trying to get as many picks and prospects as possible while pawning your overpaid veterans off on other teams that are trying to compete.

And I get it, that's not really feasible in the NHL, because this is a gate-revenue league where making money isn't nearly as baked into the financial system as it is in other leagues that allow teams to reduce the red ink on even the tankiest of tank seasons. But one of the big themes I've noticed in the first week of free agency is that teams were really eager to burn through all that extra cap space that magically appeared on their ledgers this summer. As with any summer where the cap goes up more than marginally, a lot of that money was spent on guys who weren't exactly worth the commitment but, given that the market is inherently inefficient, were always gonna get that money from someone. It seemingly does not occur to teams I personally view as not necessarily being in that "surefire top-10" group that there's no requirement to spend all that money.

People talk about weaponizing cap space sometimes, and unfortunately for a lot of competitive teams, the number of tanking clubs that will trade them an LTIR contract or eat salary on a three-way trade is dropping (as is the number of LTIRetired players in general). The last few years, there were very few teams that sat significantly below the cap floor, just because of how stagnant the upper limit was. I wondered how much that would change with the ceiling rising so sharply. Obviously teams aren't done shopping or re-signing their own RFAs, but the way things are shaping up, the number of clubs that will suffer through dead money in exchange for a pick, prospect, or both is gonna be small.

So I don't know how much these non-top-10 teams can really push their way into what seems like a fairly set group. Weird things happen every year, but the number of surprises seems to be shrinking. I wonder what it all means, but we'll have a better idea when training camps open and the vast majority of offseason business is taken care of.

Let’s go:

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NHL Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Vladimir Tarasenko Joseph Woll Brad Treliving Steve Yzerman
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