Looking through the rosters of many of the teams in the NHL I noticed how many teams lacked a top line forward. By top line I mean a talent player that you would realistically call a top 3 forward. I consider a front line, top 3 forward as a player who is a legitimate 30+ goal scorer and point per game player. Not a player who can have a 30 goal or point a game over a whole season but is a disappointment if not achieved.
Looking through the teams I found 5 teams that don't even have one of these type of players. Those teams include Nashville, Phoenix, Columbus, Florida, and Montreal. They have top 6 type players but nobody you really consider a true top 3 player. With each teams top player David Legwand, Antoine Vermette, Brandon Dubinski, Stephen Weiss, and Tomas Plekanec You could argue if they were top 3 forwards they'd be the 3rd of the 3 at best.
If you add teams with just one front tier players the list expands a lot. That adds Buffalo(Vanek), Calgary(Iginla), Edmonton(Eberle), New Jersey(Kovalchuck), New York Islanders(Tavares), St.Louis(Backes), Toronto(Kessel), and Winnipeg(Kane). That's 8 more teams that rely of one player to really carry the load. Edmonton may have a ton of young kids on the verge of being top flight players but at the moment only Eberle has achieved it over a full season.
The salary cap is suppose to spread these players around but with 13 teams in the league that can't even produce a terrible two-some this doesn't hold water. What was the last full line that really inspired fear into another team? The Legion of Doom line in Philadephia from the mid 90's? Thats nearly 20 years ago.
Having top line players will help teams more that success will with teams. Look what Crosby has done with Pittsburgh who was on the verge of moving to Kansas before he came. Washington has been revitalized with Ovechkin. Detroit was having trouble drawing fans in the 70's and 80's until Yzerman came.
The league has expanded too much with not enough talent to go around. I am not saying go back to original six, but having a 26 or even 24 teams League would go a long way with making the game a lot better and more exciting.