This year's trade deadline presents some significant roadblocks for teams looking to add. The flat salary cap, cross-border quarantine rules, and impending Seattle expansion draft are all major hurdles that could mitigate the yearly frenzy excitement.
But no number of limitations can prevent the wandering minds of fans and pundits alike from cooking up hypothetical trade scenarios that would make this year's deadline one for the ages.
With that in mind, let's identify dream deadline fits for each 2021 Cup contender.
(All salary cap figures courtesy: Cap Friendly)
27-9-3, 1st place, $9.326 million in deadline cap space
Carolina is deep at each position, so it may not be all that desperate to add. However, with this much cap space, it would be wise for the Hurricanes to weaponize and gear up for what promises to be a difficult postseason path through the Central. General manager Don Waddell said he'd like to add a right-shot blue-liner to shore up the bottom portion of his defense corps, and David Savard would give Carolina arguably the best right side in the NHL if he slotted in behind Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce.
Savard isn't a flashy player but is dependable in his own zone and provides the physicality coaches crave come playoff time. He can kill penalties as well, and the Canes could likely reel him in from the Blue Jackets without surrendering significant assets.
Tampa Bay Lightning
27-11-2, 2nd place, $0 in deadline cap space
It's next to impossible for the Lightning to make a trade due to cap constraints, and general manager Julien BriseBois knows that. However, we'd be remiss not to at least mention the defending champs on a list of contenders, so let's get them out of the way first.
While it's doubtful the Bolts acquire anyone, technically speaking, Tampa is making the biggest addition of any team, as Nikita Kucherov is set to return to the lineup for his season debut in time for the playoffs.