The true market for Brad Richards

Brad Richards seems to be the biggest name on the market -- but realistically, where can he go? Getty Images

In the days before the NHL lockout, being an armchair general manager was a lot easier.

Back then, when the pesky salary cap wasn't around to complicate matters, fans could slap together just about any reasonable hockey deal and make a compelling argument for why it was the right move for their team.

But those days are long gone. With more than half the league projected to finish the season within $1.5 million or so of the cap, every rumored trade must go through a financial litmus test before an on-ice assessment can be made.

It's fun to dream about Brad Richards throwing on your team's jersey for the stretch run -- perhaps for as little as a prospect and some draft picks -- but will the cap allow it to happen? If it can happen, is it worth it?

Without further ado, we break down some of the most talked-about trade rumors -- not necessarily the most valid -- from a cap perspective.

Please note: Teams "bank" cap space every day they are under the cap. This means many teams will have significantly more cap space to acquire a player at the deadline on Feb. 27 than they do today.