Just a little re-focusing of this thread if you'll bear with me...
2012-13 NHL Salary Cap approx. = $64,300,000, based on speculation, this number could drop after the next CBA. A middle of the road assumption is a cap number VERY close to the current one.
Max Cap Number including call-up cushion of $800,000 = $63,500,000
Total Salaries = $63,606,667*
Total Guaranteed Salaries = $60,406,667 (w/ (2) F and (1) G to sign w/ $3,093,333). This scenario keep Lovejoy and sees Niskanen leave, but frees up enough space to sign a $2,000,000 (F), and two league minimum scrubs to fill out the roster…or a $1,750,000 forward, Tangradi, and league minimum backup goalie.
Add Niskanen and remove Lovejoy = $61,681,667 (w/ (2) F and (1) G to sign w/ $1,818,333). This scenario requires (3) NHL regulars to average @ $600,000 apiece…or basically scrubs to fill out the remaining holes, one of which is a top-6 forward.
The above scenarios are "standing pat," which also must (due to Neal's cap hit hike) exclude UFA's Sullivan and Park. Everything below is based on the most popular speculations on trades...
Trading Staal = $56,406,667 (w/ (3) F, and (1) G to sign w/ $7,093,333). Assume the player received for Staal is about $2,500,000, $4,593,333 is left for (2) F, and (1) G. A competent backup G approx. = $750,000, and bottom line banger forward = $750,000, approx. $3,000,000 to find a replacement 3rd line center or additional top-6 winger. (Note this scenario includes Lovejoy and excludes Niskanen. If Niskanen is in over Lovejoy, remove $1,300,000 from the cap space and adjust accordingly.)
Trading Martin = $55,406,667 (w/ (2) F, (1) D, and (1) G w/ $8,093,333). A competent backup G = $750,000, a bottom line banger forward = $750,000, and a serviceable top-6 forward (in the Sykora, Feds, Sullivan mold) = $2,000,000…approx. $3,000,000 is left to sign another defender, or Despres takes top-4 D duty, and we have approx. $4,250,000 to spend on another forward. (Note this scenario includes Lovejoy and excludes Niskanen. If Niskanen is in over Lovejoy, remove $1,300,000 from the cap space and adjust accordingly.)
Trading Malkin (or Crosby) = $51,706,667 (w/ (3) F, and (1) G to sign w/ $11,793,333). Assume two players in return for Malkin approx. = $6,000,000, $5,793,333 is left to sign (1) F and (1) G. A competent backup G = $750,000, and a bottom line banger forward = $750,000…thus approx. $4,293,333 is left to upgrade the D even without trading Martin/Michalek. If Martin is traded for a prospect/pick, $9,292,333 is open to find (1) D. (Note this scenario includes Lovejoy and excludes Niskanen. If Niskanen is in over Lovejoy, remove $1,300,000 from the cap space and adjust accordingly.)
* Includes assumed 2012-13 cap hits for RFA’s Niskanen, Tangradi, and Thiessen.