I think it is fairly safe to say Joe likes the core of this team going forward, including most of the defense. Here is a complete breakdown of salary committed to next season(keep in mind I am using the salary numbers not the avg cap hit, because cap hit for this team is basically irrelevant) using figures from nhlnumbers.com
I thought since I am in a good mood I would break down our entire budget situation for next season and discuss possible options going forward.
Kari Lehtonen- 3 million (assuming he is signed to a standard qualifying offer)
Total Hit- 3.75 million
Robidas- 3.250 million
Fistric- 1.0 million
Daley- 2.5 million
Karlis- 1.65 million
Total Hit- 9.1 million
Ribs- 5.0 million
Morrow- 4.1 million
Loui- 3.2 million
Ott- 2.95 million
Total Hit- 25.085 million
Overall Hit- 37.935 million
Team Budget- 50 million (based on on currect projected salary totals)
Remaining Money- 12.065 million
RFA`s (assumptions, open to discussion)
Neal- 3 million
Grossman- 2.5 million
Niskanen- 1.5 million
Fortunus- 650,000 (2 way deal)
Brunner- Don`t see him coming back....
Sawada- 650,000 (2 way deal)
Lindgren- 650,000 (2 way deal)
Barch- Not re-signed
Turco- Not re-signed
Total Signings- 8.6 million in NHL contracts
1.95 million 2 way deals
Remaining Salary- 3.465 (not including 2 way deals)
-Checking Line Forward
So after some assumptions and generally accounting for re-signing all the youth there is 3.465 million left, based on maybe a generous assumption for the team budget, with a few pressing needs.
I like what I have seen from Segal as a depth winger, however I still think there is a need for some veteran depth. Or maybe we just offset what we need with the likes of Lindgren, Sawada depending on how Joe views this teams direction. So really the cost of shoring up for forward groups is minimal at best.
possible options; Begin, Yelle, Comrie, Halpbern, Malholtra, Primeau, Morrison
Goalie....pretty simply veteran presence who can play at least 30 games given Kari`s history this will be vital
UFA`s; Lalime, Hedberg, Biron, Ellis, Raycroft, Leighton
Best for last ....Defense, based on what I have thrown out there, there is basically no salary room left over for a FA signing. However with this scenario there is about 13-14 forwards signed, as well as 8 defenseman. Point being there are quite a few options left with this siutation. You obviously do not need to make all of these signings 1 or 2 fewer signings along with moving Daley or Nisky and you can go after a FA with hopefully 3-4 million.
options; RFA; Grebshkov, Coburn, Lee, Ranger, White, Letang, Franson
UFA; Martin, Clark, Mitchell, Seidenberg, Hamhuis, Mara, Leopold, Ference, McKee
Clealry options are going to be limited, and I think we would be lucky to get 1 new guy on the blueline and the team is going to probably have to rely on the infusion of new prospects like Larsen, Fortunus, Lindgren. But I remain hopeful that time will serve the current d-corps well along with hopefully 1 solid addition . But as it remains on paper this team seems to have a lot of good pieces and I think it is just a matter of time, experience, some tweaks to figure this thing out....A new owner with big pockets wouldnt hurt tho.
***I totally forgot about adding in Avery's 2 million....but no one really knows if Hicks is counting that or not but here it is anyways.