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The trade that sent Brian Campbell from Chicago to Florida could become a benchmark deal and his face could become symbolic for what the salary floor means in the NHL.
When Campbell signed his "career" deal in Chicago, the assumption was that he would be in Chicago until he retired. Certainly there wasn't a team that could or would afford a defenseman with a cap number over $7 million per for the better part of a decade...right?
But the NHL forcing teams to reach the salary floor can change the fortunes of an organization overnight.
Dale Tallon took over as the GM in Florida and immediately went about the business of cutting dead weight off his roster and then brought in quality veterans. Because he had to spend money, he was able to overpay for guys that had been role players on other teams—like Kris Versteeg—and give them the opportunity to reach their potential.
In the past, players like Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and the other veterans added by Florida this summer would have served as the exceptional bottom-six "fillers" on would-be dynasty teams. But now that teams have hope to move "unmovable" contracts, and teams are forced to spend money, the competitive balance in the NHL should continue.
Remember: 28 of 30 teams have made the playoffs since the lockout, and the way recent bottom-feeders like Florida are playing this year, that trend should continue.