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February 14, 2012 | 2:01am ET
Plenty to consider around deadline
 David Pagnotta takes a look at what each NHL team is toying with as the trade deadline approaches.

TORONTO, ON -- The silly season is definitely upon us. It actually crept up about four weeks ago, but whatever.

With the trade deadline just under two weeks away (Feb. 27, 3pm ET), there's plenty of reasons for everyone to be going completely apeshit crazy. There are rumors flying around left, right and center. And no, we here at TFP don't help the situation, but for the love of Howe, it's what we do.

This year is fairly unique, in a sense that there are so many teams disillusioned still in the playoff race. Usually, we've seen about two or three fairly significant trades occur around this time of year. With all due respect to the players traded since Jan. 1, only the Mike Cammalleri-Rene Bourque and Alexei Ponikarovsky trades (yeah, even Poni's deal) have been "significant."

Over the next few days, or week, we're going to see a lot of teams fall into the "seller" category. Two, three or four losses in a row will ease the minds of a few GMs out there.

Here is a quick, Coles Notes version of what's going on out there, and what could possibly happen by, or on, Feb. 27.

Disclaimer: Some of this is strictly my opinion based on conversations I've had with folks around the league. And to make it easy on you, I'll indicate "IMO" whenever that's the case... so after you read this, and feel the urge to email or tweet me about how insane something seems or how much I'm a Toronto homer (even though I'm a born-and-raised Montrealer), give your head a shake.

Okay, on to the fun:

ANAHEIM - Even when GM Bob Murray called out his team (kudos, again, Mr. Murray), deep down, everybody knew it would take the world for him to part with any of his Big 3. While Bobby Ryan still seems to be the most available, it's highly unlikely such a move will take place this month.

Instead, I'm looking at guys like Lubomir Visnovsky, Niklas Hagman and even Jonas Hiller as possible trade targets. George Parros has attracted some interest, though I believe the Ducks will try to keep him long-term.

As for Teemu Selanne, it'll come down to HIS decision, and so far he's given everyone every indication that he wants to stay in Anaheim. He also hasn't really said a word about it to anyone, publicly, so that could change in the blink of an eye (IMO).

BOSTON - The Bruins are looking to add a couple of pieces, one up front and one on the back end.

Boston GM Peter Chiarelli isn't afraid to pull the trigger, and there's some speculation (that's all it is, right now) that he's taking a look at Rick Nash, but I'm not sure how realistic that presently is. They've got the cap space to add someone like Visnovsky if they really wanted to, or a defenseman like Nicklas Grossman, which might be what Chiarelli opts to do if he can't make a big splash.

BUFFALO - The Sabres are sort of in limbo. They're sellers, but they're not. And with Darcy Regier behind the helm, you don't really know what he's up to.

They've been shopping center Derek Roy for some time, and Paul Gaustad and Brad Boyes are also available up front, while Robyn Regehr would consider waiving his no-movement clause for a Cup contender. Roy would look good in a Chicago uniform (IMO). (Refer to my Twitter feed for my response on the Patrick Kane/Ryan Miller crap rumor)

Sidenote: Just realized this is going to take me some time to write...

CALGARY - Not too many people expect much out of the Flames and GM Jay Feaster. A big splash is unlikely, at this stage, while they don't really have the pieces to obtain a top-tier talent; trading Mikael Backlund might be counter-productive.

CAROLINA - Once GM Jim Rutherford knows exactly what he's doing with Tuomo Ruutu, much of the non-action should begin to intensify. If Ruutu opts to re-sign with the Hurricanes, teams will focus their efforts elsewhere. If a deal can't be reached, the bidding war is back on. As many as 12 teams have serious interest in Ruutu.

Ruutu aside, the Hurricanes have players like Jaroslav Spacek, Bryan Allen and Jussi Jokinen attracting interest. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen is also out there, though I wouldn't expect to see him moved.

CHICAGO - No, Joel Quenneville isn't getting canned. No, Kane isn't getting traded. No, Brendan Morrison isn't the No. 2 center they're looking for. Chicago wants a second-line forward, preferably a center, and a physical, defensive-minded defenseman. If they can get their hands on a bottom-six (polite way of saying fourth-liner) forward -- like bringing back Adam Burish -- GM Stan Bowman will jump at the chance.

COLORADO - Likely to be in the race by deadline day, the Avalanche could make a lateral move or two in the next 13 days. David Jones and Shane O'Brien could be shipped out, while management would like to add a second-line scorer to the roster. I'd be surprised if Kyle Quincey moves, unless he's swapped for that second-liner that isn't going to be a UFA at season's end. As for all the Paul Stastny talk, while it's possible (IMO), a trade is more likely in the summer.

COLUMBUS - Oh boy, where do I begin? Okay, Jeff Carter is 100% available. Whether the Jackets get a sexy-enough offer remains to be seen (they want a young talent with first-line potential as a centerpiece). Derick Brassard is staying (IMO), whereas Sammy Pahlsson, Steve Mason, Antoine Vermette, R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin are on the block. In short, GM Scott Howson's a very busy man.

Now, to address these Rick Nash rumors. The Blue Jackets are not actively shopping him, however, if the right offer comes along, Howson will seriously consider it. Keep in mind, Nash owns a no-movement clause and will have final say, if anything pops up. From what I've been told, this is the first time in club history that they've tinkered with the idea of Nash not being a part of their organization. The price tag will be extremely high, though, so don't get too excited. A young, first-line forward is a must. A second-line forward, top-two defenseman or top, young goalie is next on the list. And, depending on the first two pieces, the third item includes a top-tier prospect or high draft choice. It's a steep price, and not too many teams are interested in paying it, while the ones that are don't have the goods to get it done (sorry, Toronto).

DALLAS - The Stars won't make a major acquisition, unless something falls into their laps. Instead, they're building for next season and beyond, and trading players like Grossman, Burish, Steve Ott, Sheldon Souray and Mike Ribeiro is possible.

DETROIT - For the first time in a long time, the Red Wings can spend and add a few players. Granted, that's not something GM Ken Holland is known for, but he's rarely had an opportunity to make these types of acquisitions around this time of year. A guy like Ales Hemsky could work wonders playing alongside Johan Franzen (IMO), while Holland will also look at a third or fourth line gritty player and a strong veteran defenseman.

EDMONTON - Outside of Hemsky, it'll be interesting to see what the Oilers do. Sam Gagner, believe it or not, is still "available," if GM Steve Tambellini can get his hands on a stud defenseman. IMO, it won't happen this season. The really intriguing part of the puzzle revolves around Nikolai Khabibulin. He has one-year left on his deal beyond this season, but the whispers are starting to get louder over a possible trade. His $3.75M cap hit isn't that bad, and a contender interested in a Cup-winning goalie might pay up. The Bulin Wall doesn't have a NTC or NMC, so it'll be up to Tambellini and his staff to make the final call.

The other factor in Edmonton is Ryan Smyth. Like Selanne, Smyth holds his fate. There's plenty of interest (Rangers like him, for example), but at the end of the day, if Smyth wants to stay, he'll stay.

FLORIDA - Buyers. It's that simple. With how well this team has performed this season, missing the playoff could be disastrous from an inner-market standpoint. If they can get their hands on any player who can help solidify a playoff berth, they'll try to grab him.

LOS ANGELES - First line goal-scorer, please. That's still atop GM Dean Lombardi's wish list. If they dangle a big-enough carrot in front of Columbus, MAYBE they can convince the Blue Jackets to part with Nash, but that's a big MAYBE. Carter's been talked about within Kings management, but that might be a last resort move. And Zach Parise isn't going anywhere, just yet. If they can't get a first-line star, they'll settle for secondary scoring in the potential form of Andrei Kostitsyn or Jussi Jokinen.

As for Jack Johnson... we've been saying it for weeks, yet it still gets misconstrued. The only want JJ gets dealt is if the Kings need to package him for a first-line star. End of story.

MINNESOTA - Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants to add a goal-scorer, but might not have the assets to get a deal done, primarily due to the competition out there. Goalie Josh Harding is going to test the waters this summer and could fetch a decent return now, while Marek Zidlicky seems to be on the outs.

MONTREAL - A couple more losses and the picture will be a little clearer in Montreal. Unless they get a can't refuse offer for Travis Moen, he might end up staying. However, Kostitsyn, Gill, Chris Campoli and Mathieu Darche could all be on the move. The Habs could surprise some and up their attempts to landing Brassard out of Columbus, but I don't believe that'll happen at this stage of the season.

A wildcard for the Canadiens is veteran winger Erik Cole. He has a no-trade clause and is locked up for three more seasons. If a Cup contenders come knocking, both Cole and the Habs will have some serious thinking to do.

NASHVILLE - Forget about Ryan Suter and Shea Weber being moved, it's not happening. The Predators are a very dangerous bunch and if they can get their hands on a little more offensive skill, they could make a lot of noise in the playoffs. Preds GM David Poile is itching to acquire a proven goal-scorer, and while the pickings are slim, I expect Nashville to add at least one guy who can help put the puck in the net and spread the offense around. At the same time, a sandpaper-like grinder is also on Poile's wish list.

NEW JERSEY - I don't expect much out of GM Lou Lamoriello this trade deadline season. He added some depth in Ponikarovsky, and the team should get Travis Zajac back by this time next month. If anything, the Devils might look at add a shot from the point.

NY ISLANDERS - Though they've played much better of late, the playoffs just don't seem realistic this season. PA Parenteau is their most tradable asset, and would command the highest return, while Mark Eaton, Steve Staios, Milan Jurcina and Evgeni Nabokov (regardless of what GM Garth Snow says publicly) could also be on the move in the coming days.

NY RANGERS - The Rangers could be one of the most creative teams leading into the trade deadline. They have plenty of young, NHL-proven and NHL-ready talent to dangle, if they so choose, and a decent amount of cap space to play with. They're looking for some extra fire power up front and grit on the back end (Pavel Kubina or Hal Gill, anyone?).

As for these Nash rumors, while the Rangers would love to have him, I just don't know if they're able to do it. Brandon Dubinsky's name has been linked, primarily because of his $4.2 million cap hit (he's the likeliest player with a big-enough salary to fit in a package), while you'd have to image one of Carl Hagelin or Derek Stepan would have to be added into the mix, along with another top prospect. It's potentially a hard pill to swallow, for any team.

OTTAWA - The Senators made their big move, already, by acquiring Kyle Turris a month ago. Right now, a two-way forward and a depth defenseman could suffice.

PHILADELPHIA - Another very interesting team to watch. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren isn't afraid to make a bold move (d'uh), and if that means trading James van Riemsdyk (who is feeling much better these days), so be it. Philly definitely wants to add a young star to its blueline, but they could settle for a veteran like Visnovsky. We're hearing the Maple Leafs' Luke Schenn isn't entirely high on their list, which simply means it would take more than him to justify them parting with JVR.

PHOENIX - They're currently 8th in the West and will likely be in and around that same position two weeks from today. This means Ray Whitney isn't doing anywhere. Neither is Shane Doan. Like almost every playoff team, the Coyotes want some extra goal-scoring, but they'd settle for a reliable third-line threat.

PITTSBURGH - Could a return of Gill be in the works? Perhaps. But the Penguins not only want to shore up the blueline, they're hoping to add someone like Gaustad or Jussi Jokinen up front. I wouldn't expect a major deal coming out of Pittsburgh, but those are three potentially significant pieces.

SAN JOSE - Depth. That's what they want. Two-way forward, and possibly a No. 4 defenseman like Bryan Allen.

ST. LOUIS - Even though they say they're cool with sticking with what they've got, an extra second or third line forward wouldn't hurt.

TAMPA BAY - It's only a matter of time before Steve Yzerman and the Lightning realize the climb, this season, is just too much. Dominic Moore, Kubina, Ryan Malone and Brett Clark could bring in some decent young prospects and draft picks. Malone's locked up for three more seasons, though, while the other guys can become unrestricted free agents this July.

TORONTO - Leafs GM Brian Burke wants to make a move and improve his team's playoff chances. He's been looking for a top-six forward for some time, and has plenty of pieces to trade. Defensemen are his biggest asset, with guys like Carl Gunnarson, Cody Franson and Schenn available as bait. Keith Aulie could also be tossed in the mix, though the Leafs would prefer to keep him.

Up front, Nikolai Kulemin, Nazim Kadri and Clarke MacArthur are expendable, but that doesn't mean they'll be traded. van Riemsdyk is still on Burke's hit list, and I'm led to believe a "hockey" trade is the most likely scenario in Toronto. The addition of a two-way forward is also needed, as the Leafs rank 29th on the penalty kill. Someone like Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets would definitely help their cause, and brings a winning attitude into the locker room.

VANCOUVER - I wouldn't expect the Canucks to make a major trade, but adding someone to their third line appears to be a priority for GM Mike Gillis. Buffalo's Gaustad is of interest, as are Montreal's Moen and Dallas' Ott.

WASHINGTON - Outside of finding anything to light a fire under Alex Ovechkin's ass, I'm not entirely sure what the Capitals are genuinely looking for up front. On the backend, though, the Capitals wouldn't mind adding some more stability. They're willing to swap out Jeff Schultz for a veteran presence, while a player like Grossman or Tyutin could definitely help.

WINNIPEG - The Jets are still molding their team under first-year GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. They're in a similar situation to the Avalanche, but if the Jets lose their next two or three games, they might fall back far enough to consider selling guys like Johnny Oduya and Kyle Wellwood.

An couple of players to keep an eye on are defensemen Zach Bogosian and Ron Hainsey. If the Jets dip down the standings, both could be used in larger deals for a proven scorer up front. Bogosian's value is much higher than that of Hainsey's, primarily due to his age and potential level. Hainsey has dramatically improved upon his defensive game over the last two seasons, and while he still has offensive capabilities, he hasn't been given the opportunity to exploit them under the Jets' system.

David Pagnotta is the Editor-in-Chief of TheFourthPeriod.com and The Fourth Period Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.


 

 

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