Let's take a gander at what the new GM will be looking at this summer.
We need to fill almost a dozen spots and will have roughly $18m to do it with.
I put Jokinen and Niskanen in there, although I think they'll fall out of our price range on the open market.
The 4 RFAs I think we can bring back without breaking the bank much, and I think we should. Gibbons and Engelland should be affordable and retained. Stempniak I think would be a decent 3rd-line player if we can get him at a reasonable price(~2m/yr).
One guy under contract through next year stands out as possible trade bait. Paul Martin. I like him, and thought he had a solid playoff, but he's taking up $5m in cap space and will be unrestricted after in the 2015 summer. Thoughts on trading him for a younger, cheaper player and a draft pick?
All in all, it's not a great situation to walk into with so much tied up. Still, let's say that Bortuzzo, Despres, Samuelsson, and Engelland can be everyday NHL players for us next year(or 3 of the 4). OK, so defense is set without hurting the cap much. Now we have maybe $14m to focus on re-signing Sutter and Co. and chasing down "gritty" forwards to compliment our star players up front. Not too shabby.