"I'm scared to death of 2010."
And in that, you might see why the Caps did not make a deal today. Rule One of cap management these days is to get bargains, and that means guys performing -- and contributing -- on their entry or early career contracts. If you deal those guys for rentals or players with term left on their contracts, you run a substantial risk. If the cap contracts in 2010 due to bigger problems in the larger economy, and you've moved your young guys for short-term -- not to mention uncertain -- benefit, you have decimated your capacity to get bargains.
Guys like Karl Alzner, Simeon Varlamov, John Carlson, Oskar Osala, Michal Neuvirth...they and others might be contributors in 2010/2011. They will be bargains if they do so, allowing the Caps to keep guys like Semin, Green, and others without shedding other salary and becoming what Tampa became...a shell of Lecavalier and St. Louis with little else underneath.
As Burke put it, GM's aren't interested in the snapshot, they're looking at the movie. It suggests a longer view than a lot of fans have, especially when their team didn't make any deals today.
Another thing to keep in mind...NHL teams are permitted four recalls after the trade deadline. It will be something to watch.