Just ask the penguins how easy it is to have quality depth when you pay two players max contracts. There is a reason why the penguins have failed repeatedly. The hawks are better off than the penguins because they actually seem to draft properly, but it will be difficult to find quality 3rd and 4th liners that aren't literal plugs. But on the other hand you cannot let Toews and Kane walk ever if you are the Blackhawks.
Well, believe me, I'm not fan of the Hawks, or the Pens, but I think you're a little off base here. Any team that has Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Jokkinen, Dupuis, Sutter, Niskanen, Letang, Morrow (for a year), Iginla (for a year), Orpik, Martin, Scuderi, et. al. SHOULD be competing for Cups. There was no problem with their depth. They just have a mediocre coach and they underperformed.
As long as guys are willing to take less to play for contenders with top flight talent (as the recent signings of Ehrhoff and Richards suggest) then BOTH teams will continue to field competitive teams despite the money allocated to their star players.