As we approach the last interesting days of this hockey season some of the blogs I have read recently have given me thoughts to ponder. I wrote before that we might see the beginning of 'parity' as star talent looks like it will disperse further from the traditional concentrations. If the cap increases that may not happen but certainly it will take a few more years for that to happen and really...how much revenue can the league increase each year with no major TV deal?
What has got my frail brain tweaked right now is the amount of teams with 'cap space' who want a good player or two. I think there are at least 10 teams in that category but are there enough players? I think not. In my humble opinion this is the beginning of 'parity' of talent and the tightening of the league. There will always be 1-2 teams in each conference who will rise above the rest but the bottom 13 will be tighter than ever.
So how do teams with equal talent get ahead? I think it's comes down to one key position goaltending. Nowhere else on the ice can one player make such a difference as the goalie. Right now some teams have it and some don't. No matter how good your players are in front without a good goalie you have a weak spot in the most precarious of positions. If UFA prices are a bit steep and talent thin expect to see some teams opt for goalies if they do not have a true top tier #1.
Teams like Philly, LA, Tampa, Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, Colorado, Boston, Toronto, Montreal all need to improve between the pipes. Even teams with a better #1 than these may choose to try and upgrade. If I am Nashville, San Jose and Minny I can get a good player or picks for my extra keeper.
If my crystal ball is working(and it rarely does) I believe the teams that falter this season are the ones who do not have solid goaltending as everything up front is getting tighter and tighter as there is less money for teams to spend when player's salary demands go up and the contract lengths increase.
Just some thoughts for this upcoming off season and what we might see in the next season.