BY: Scott Burnside

MONTREAL -- At the end of the day -- or two days, as is the case with the NHL's annual draft -- there might be a tendency to suggest that when all was said and done, all those rumors and all that speculation amounted to little more than a hill of pucks.

Fair enough.

Yet never in the league's history has making a hockey deal been more difficult, given the ponderous contracts with which many teams are currently saddled and the uncertainty of where the salary cap may go in a year.