Actually Toronto is probably going to look fairly good this year and in the future. You also have to remember that us buying major names at the trade deadline is a recent move, heck the first time we did it was for Nolan and that was only what? 2 years ago?
Montreal, and Ottawa have done the same over the past few years. So yeah, as much as you wish it, the leafs aren't going to suck this year.
Toronto has 11 players under contract for 05-06 totalling 28.2 million, leaving 10.8 mill for the rest of the team. Last year, their payroll was 6th highest (62.4 Million), behind Detroit, Dallas, Philly, and Colorado. Their payroll for the 3 seasons prior was:65 (6th), 51.5(6th), and 41 million (8th). They are big spenders. Despite this spending they mange to win how many Cups? A lot of the other big spenders have won, but not all, or come close: Detriot, Colorado, Dallas, San Jose, etc. TO doesn't have a lot of room.
Ottawa has 13 players for $24.8 million, they are in the same boat as TO.
Montreal has 12 players for $17.5 million, which isn't too bad. They'll be ok but they don't have a ton of room.
Edmonton has 13 players at $13.5 million, but they won't hit the cap, and are expected to only spend around 33 million, so pro-rated to a cap limit, that's 19.5 million, which is still not too bad, but not great.
Calgary has 13 players at $14.1 million, with no reports of them not spending to the limit, so they have 24.9 million to spend...that's quite a bit if they can get their top players signed cheap.
And now for Vancouver, who have 9 players at 13.5 million (including Bertuzzi), and only Naslund and May as unrestricted. They have 25.5 million to spend. If they pay Naslund say, 7 million, which is possible, they will have 18.5 million for 2nd/3rd line guys...pretty good I'd say.
TO will be lucky to get middle of the pack this year, Calgary and Vancouver will be really good, and the rest will be right behind them. Assuming they all are equally sucessful in trading and drafting.