Between now and the league's Feb. 27 trading deadline, teams across the NHL will be swapping players and picks to jockey for position as the postseason approaches.
However, it's not always the big names that have the biggest impact. Prospects and minor leaguers will change hands before the deadline, and down the line, they could be huge contributors for their new organizations.
Let's take a look at some prospects and minor leaguers that could be dealt at the deadline.
Jared Knight is one of the top prospects in the Boston Bruins system, and they are on top of the hockey world right now.
So why would they look to deal a gem of a prospect? Well, general manager Peter Chiarelli has stated that Boston will be looking to beef up the roster before the playoffs. Trading Knight could be their best chance.
Ben Bishop is a solid minor league goaltender with some NHL experience under his belt. It wouldn't surprise me to see Bishop as part of a package deal. He is a solid depth goaltender.
Chris Bourque has bounced around from team to team throughout his hockey career. He definitely has some maturity issues, but there is definitely some upside to his game. The Capitals will be buyers at the deadline, so Bourque could be one of their pieces.
There has been a lot of talk about the Vancouver Canucks trading either Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo. But the team could also get very good value for their top goaltending prospect, Eddie Lack. Lack is having a terrific season in the AHL, so the Nucks may not be willing to part ways with him.
After a solid collegiate career, Cory Conacher signed an AHL contract with the Norfolk Admirals, the affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is now tearing it up in the minors, and the Lightning are desperate to upgrade their roster.
Michael Leighton appears to be damaged goods at this point, but he does have NHL experience as well as playoff experience. That may mean something to some teams, and the Flyers will not hesitate to deal him.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are likely to be very active at the trading deadline. Cam Atkinson is not an elite prospect by any means, but he has 19 goals in the AHL this season. The Blue Jackets have depth in their prospect pool, so they could spare Atkinson.
The Minnesota Wild are in serious contention for the playoffs in the Western Conference. Goaltending is a strength of this team, but both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom are securely in place at the NHL level. Matt Hackett has shown enough potential to be used as trade bait.
The Colorado Avalanche are fringe contenders with their recent surge in the standings. Goaltending is always a problem area for the Avs. They struggle with both the evaluation and development of their prospects. For Cedrick Desjardins' sake, he may be better of on the trading block.
Trevor Smith is having a breakout season in the AHL, and he is another prospect that the Tampa Bay Lightning could be willing to part ways with to have a shot at the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers always seem to be buyers at the trading deadline. Eric Wellwood is not an elite prospect, but when packaged with some other pieces, could net a decent return for the Flyers.
The Dallas Stars are once again in contention in the Western Conference's Pacific Division. I'm just no sure they will be willing to mortgage the future in order to make the postseason. Matt Fraser is one of the team's best prospects.
The Nashville Predators tend to be conservative when it comes to making acquisitions, and they are very patient with their prospects. While Chris Mueller has some value after his hot start to the AHL season, he is by no means untouchable.
Jeff Zatkoff's play so far for the Manchester Monarchs may be enough to make him decent value in a trade. The Kings will definitely be buyers at the deadline, and Zatkoff is far from the best Kings goaltending prospect.
Brian Connelly has emerged as one of the top defensive prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The Rockford Icehogs have enjoyed Connelly's services, but he could certainly be trade bait in a month or so.
I'm not sure how much trade value he will have, but Krys Kolanos has NHL experience and has posted some solid numbers in the AHL this season.