2010 NHL Playoffs: Thank You, Salary Cap

Derrick LightfootContributor IApril 17, 2010

Four days, thirteen games, ten one goal games (add in two more if you exclude empty net goals). Not much more you can ask for.

A few years ago, this would almost be unheard of. Especially in the first round

Most of the series have been nodded up one to one, but I think it's clear the salary cap is doing it's job.

Before the salary cap came into effect, you could pick three to four teams to win the cup. If you picked the Avalanche or Redwings to win the cup, you couldn't go wrong.

Aside from Montreal vs. Washington, Los Angeles vs. Vancouver (who all play tonight) and Nashville and Chicago, every series is tied up at one, and the potential that 7/8 series' will be tied after tonight is great.

When Captain Rob Blake was addressing his Sharks, he told them to take advantage of this, because you never know when you're going to be on a team this good again. How right he is.

Re-signing players and utilizing the free agent market is much harder now. Back in the day, the teams that had the money, won. The teams that won, attracted all the good players. This hasn't completely changed—obviously players will be more inclined to sign for a winning team, but due to the salary cap these winning teams can't sign players at will.

Sometimes you have to resist the temptation the free agent market brings. Ask the New York Rangers. Chris Drury and Wade Redden are pretty good players—but at a cap hit of 7 and 6.5 respectively they are not great assets. Building a team has become much harder.

A big emphasis has been put on the draft and the developing of young players. Watching games, you can tell that speed is now a much more valued asset. At the Olympics you could see younger players like Kane blowing by older guys like Pronger. That's why Team Canada relied so much on guys like Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty down the stretch.

That's why the Avalanche along with other teams are finding success.

March Madness is one of the most exciting sports events all year. The reason being, people love underdogs, they love games that go down to the wire. And that is exactly what we've gotten so far from these NHL Playoffs.

So sit back and enjoy these playoffs. It's early, but it's looking like this could be one of the best fights for the Stanley Cup in recent history. Who needs to go outside and have a life anyway when you could sit inside and watch eight teams battle for Lord Stanley's Cup every night?