Insightful post, I liked what Nonis was doing for different reasons, but never really thought of the way defensive players are underpaid while offensive players are either at market value or overpaid (though I do agree that preventing a goal is as important as scoring one, and possibly easier to do).
I think some other things to consider are that if you pick up players that are "coachable", you can dramatically improve your goals against (which as you pointed out is equally part of winning as scoring is) by instituting solid systems, as these players will go along with it, and this prevents goals without really driving anyone's market value up. This is what I think Nonis is doing, guys like Burrows and Bieksa are now able to shut down multi-million dollar opponents by following Vigneault's system, now that is cap value!
I also think that some superstar offensive players with game-breaking ability are needed, and Naslund is in that realm, with the Sedins rapidly approaching that status. These guys can get you goals in make or break situations. At the same time, you don't need to load up on them, if you get third/fourth-line players and again, going back to basics with coaching, they can get goals, doing the dirty and the ugly, crashing nets and screening goalies, not rocket science. So the trick offensively would be to draft a bunch of high upside offensive guys, wait for a couple to pan out, and then lock them up long-term below market value (this will take time, but we've begun it with the Sedins), and the rest can be filled in with guys who've got more guts and heart than talent (Burrows, Rypien, etc.). The fact that we've traded away draft picks is why we're paying a guy like Chouinard $1.1 mil for the third/fourth line, and because we've gone with the "safe" players like Smith and Kesler (he's solid, but we passed up a potential scorer like Tambellini) is why we're going to have to wait for Grabner before we can confidently let go of even second-tier scorers like Morrison.
This will make us a contender, what makes us a champion will be adding seasoned vets, but I really have to emphasize that the whole system will come crashing down if you don't have buy-in, players with no quit in them, I loved Bert, but I don't think you build championships around him. His talent level, yes, the consistency of his work ethic, no. As much as I hate guys like Iginla or Forsberg, they are power forwards who don't disappear like Bert (yes, Iginla can have his bad days, but he'll try SOMETHING to be valuable).