The Anaheim Ducks have finally picked up their game, going 6-0-1 in the last seven games. Unfortunately, the extent of their first-half slump has them 14 points out of a playoff position despite their recent success, making a postseason appearance highly unlikely.
Just over a week ago, Ducks GM Bob Murray sparked speculation even further when he said that Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne were the only "untouchable" players on the roster. The meaning of this is anyone's guess.
Is Murray listening to offers, or is he actively shopping his big-name players? Or is he following in Paul Holmgren's footsteps and completely dismantling his franchise players, the "RPG" line? Only time will tell what tricks Murray has up his sleeve.
Recently, there have been a number of rumors that Sabre forward Derek Roy is being shopped. An article from BuffaloNews.com states that:
The Anaheim Ducks are believed to have looked at both Roy and Drew Stafford when general manager Bob Murray was in town in late November.
Assuming that the Buffalo Sabres have already been in discussion with the Ducks regarding Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, this article will explore nine other teams that should pursue these players as the trade deadline approaches.
Despite recently acquiring Mike Cammalleri, the Calgary Flames aren't ruled out from making more major moves prior to the deadline.
Age is a growing issue with the Calgary Flames. At some point, they will be forced to accept what inevitably sits in their near future: a rebuild.
Many will argue that this isn't the season to make moves, as the Flames are surprisingly close to the eighth position in the West. But if a "rebuild" involves picking up a mid-20s superstar, they will be back on their feet before they know it.
One thing is for sure: There are too many players on the Flames' roster that are on the decline. If not this season, a move will be necessary soon, and there's no guarantee that players like Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf will be on the market in the upcoming seasons.
Which Duck should the Calgary Flames target? Ryan Getzlaf.
What could they offer in return? Jarome Iginla, second-round draft pick.
At 34 years of age, Jarome Iginla is nearing the start of his decline, yet he still has an incredible amount of trade value. The experience and talent he brings would benefit any team.
While Iginla has a no-trade clause, that doesn't necessarily mean he can't be moved. It simply means he has the ability to say no to certain teams.
The Carolina Hurricanes are a relatively young team with lots of promise, and lots to offer.
This season, things haven't been going their way. The slow start for Eric Staal and the injury to Jeff Skinner are largely to blame for their position in the standings, but there is something else missing: a right winger.
Carolina not only has the need for a right winger, but the means to make it happen.
With Selanne, Ryan and Perry all being natural right wingers, the Anaheim Ducks appear to be the perfect trade partner.
Which Duck should the Carolina Hurricanes target? Bobby Ryan.
What could they offer in return? Tuomo Ruutu, first-round draft pick.
With Tuomo Ruutu headed to unrestricted free agency, the Hurricanes will most likely be looking to send him elsewhere. Ruutu would also fill the void on the left wing in Anaheim, which has typically been occupied by Bobby Ryan, a right winger.
On the Carolina side of things, both Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner are top-line centers, leaving one of them (Skinner) on the wing. Skinner is usually placed on the left wing, but as such a dynamic player, that isn't always the case. So who better than Bobby Ryan to take that spot? A right winger with experience playing on the left wing. Sounds like a perfect fit.
Currently, the Avalanche rank 25th in the league for G/G. The acquisition of Ryan, Perry or Getzlaf from Anaheim would surely boost their numbers in this category and push them further into playoff contention.
The only thing holding Colorado back is that they have just eight players on their roster who are signed through next season. Maintaining as much cap space as possible is essential going into the offseason.
Which Duck should the Colorado Avalanche target? Bobby Ryan.
What could they offer in return? Paul Stastny, second-round draft pick.
Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog are the future of this franchise, which leaves one player out of place: Paul Stastny.
Stastny showed an extreme amount of potential when he first entered the league, posting 78 points in his rookie season. Since then, his production has slowly dropped, fueled by increased secondary scoring and injury problems.
Stastny, as well as Duchene and O'Reilly, is a center. There isn't room for all three. In addition, with Milan Hejduk headed to unrestricted free agency at the end of this season and his future intentions unknown, there will be a need on the right wing. Whether it's next season or a few years down the road, Milan Hejduk will need to be replaced.
Bobby Ryan is not only a right winger, but plays with a style that suites Colorado perfectly. If this trade were to happen, I would not be surprised to see Bobby Ryan and the Colorado Avalanche among the league's best come next season.
The Minnesota Wild are among the league's best defensively, led by goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
After an impressive start to the season, they've slipped to eighth place. Things aren't looking bright after news that team captain and star forward Mikko Koivu will be out for over a month with a shoulder injury.
The news was salt in the wound, coming out just days after it was announced that the oft-injured Pierre-Marc Bouchard was yet again sidelined due to concussion symptoms.
If the Wild want to maintain their playoff position, offensive help will be needed.
Which Duck should the Minnesota Wild target? Corey Perry.
What could they offer in return? Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse, third-round draft pick.
The addition of Corey Perry would fill a gap on the right side, as the Wild are led offensively by Mikko Koivu (center) and Dany Heatley (left wing).
While injuries are a concern regarding Pierre-Marc Bouchard, he has proven to be a dangerous playmaker when healthy, posting 13 goals and 50 assists in the '07-'08 season.
Guillaume Latendresse, like Bouchard, is currently out with concussion symptoms. When healthy, however, he can be a highly effective power forward.
If both players could return to 100 percent, this could be a very beneficial trade for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Nashville Predators are the definition of building a team from the net out. They have a top three netminder (Pekka Rinne) supported by a stellar top defensive line (Shea Weber and Ryan Suter).
Shea Weber is set to become a restricted free agent in the summer, while Ryan Suter is headed towards unrestricted free agency.
After signing Pekka Rinne to a $49 million extension earlier this season, many have questioned the Predators' priorities as well as their ability to re-sign both star defensemen.
While it has not been said publicly, there is speculation that Shea Weber wishes to take his talents elsewhere. The one-year contract extension awarded to Shea last summer hints that he may not be convinced that Nashville is the team for him.
If the Predators were to pick up one of the Ducks' forwards, it would result in a complete makeover of their system. What is the most defensive system in the league would be somewhere near the middle with a superstar up front.
Which Duck should the Nashville Predators target? Bobby Ryan, third-round draft pick.
What could they offer in return? Shea Weber.
With a deficit on the left wing, and their top left winger, Sergei Kostitsyn, set to become a free agent, the Nashville Predators could greatly benefit from the acquisition of Bobby Ryan. While he is a right winger, his experience and incredible talent on the left wing would suffice.
On the flip side, this move would completely alter the structure of the Anaheim Ducks. After years of relying heavily on their high-powered first line, they would be making the transition to a more defensively sound team.
The New Jersey Devils have a need for talented right wingers. The Anaheim Ducks have a surplus of talented right wingers.
It's a simple example of supply and demand, and the two teams appear to be a perfect match to do business.
One thing that could prevent a trade is that both Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg are on the decline, fast approaching the end of their careers. If not now, the need for a new No. 1 goalie is on the horizon.
Many would argue that it's in the Devils' best interest to address the goalie problem before picking up more forwards. Many would also argue that the two goalies have a number of seasons under their hats.
Which Duck should the New Jersey Devils target? Corey Perry.
What could they offer in return? Zach Parise.
Much like Shea Weber, Zach Parise is headed to free agency, and it's very unclear whether or not he intends on staying or moving on.
Parise would be a great fit on the Ducks, who as mentioned, are in need of a left winger.
The Devils may want to unload Parise at this year's trade deadline. After all, as an upcoming UFA, they could lose him for a lot less.
The Pittsburgh Penguins entered this season as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Now they're eighth in the East with a record below .500 in the last 10 games.
It has been yet another season hampered by injuries for the Penguins. Whether it be Sidney Crosby's failed return, Kris Letang's concussion or the recent injury that has Jordan Staal sidelined for four to six weeks, it hasn't been the Penguins' season.
They somewhat dodged a bullet with the news that James Neal had a bruised bone rather than a broken foot, which was the original diagnosis.
Although a healthy James Neal will help, the team needs to make a deadline move if they don't want to be a "bubble team."
Which Duck should the Pittsburgh Penguins target? Corey Perry.
What could they offer in return? Jordan Staal, second-round draft pick.
The Ducks' season is essentially over. Unless they are unbeatable for the next two months, they will not make the playoffs, so acquiring an injured player shouldn't be a concern.
In addition, although it seems it will never happen, when the Penguins are healthy, they have a surplus of centers. With Crosby, Malkin and Staal all being natural centers, one is usually forced to the wing.
Let's face it: Pascal Dupuis plays well with Sidney Crosby, but he isn't a top-line right winger, and Jordan Staal plays a grinding style, but he's too talented to be a third-line center.
The addition of Corey Perry would solidify the Penguins as a playoff team and help regain their status as a Cup contender.
If they could get Crosby or Letang (or both) by the time playoffs roll around, they would be the team to beat.
Joffrey Lupul, Mike Brown, J.S. Giguere, Jason Blake...the list goes on of players that have played for both Anaheim and Toronto.
Whether it's the GMs simply admiring each other's style, a strong relationship between Brian Burke and Bob Murray or Burke trying to bring the team he built as GM in Anaheim to Toronto, trades between these teams are a common occurrence, and we may be seeing one more.
Toronto is not a top team in the East. They're a "bubble team" at best this season, and they need to make an addition if they plan on making a Cup run.
Like so many times in the past, when Toronto needs to make a move, they should look the the Anaheim Ducks.
Which Duck should the Toronto Maple Leafs target? Ryan Getzlaf.
What could they offer in return? Tim Connolly, Mikhail Grabovski.
The oft-injured Tim Connolly is a risky signing for any team, but when healthy, he is one of the more dangerous players in the league.
Mikhail Grabovski, on the other hand, is an incredibly dynamic center with a great future ahead of him. Cutting ties with the young star would be a tough decision for the Leafs to make, but if Ryan Getzlaf is the name coming back, then it would be worth while.
Getzlaf is a superstar center, and if moved, he has the ability to make any team a serious contender.
On the other side, acquiring two centers and losing one could be greatly beneficial for the Ducks, who are often criticized for their lack of secondary scoring.
Winnipeg finally has their team back, and despite all the skepticism, they're actually putting wins together. Sitting at 10th in the East, the Winnipeg Jets have been a huge surprise this season. Unfortunately, 10th place means the golf clubs come out in April.
If the Jets intend on making the postseason, they're going to need help.
They've got the team. They've got the fans. They've got the goals. They're just missing one thing: a star forward.
Luckily, the Ducks have plenty of stars, and they will almost surely be sellers this spring.
Which Duck should the Winnipeg Jets target? Ryan Getzlaf.
What could they offer in return? Zach Bogosian, Alexander Burmistrov.
Ryan Getzlaf would not only bring the scoring support to push the Jets into the playoffs, but he would most likely love playing there.
This season, Winnipeg arguably has the most passionate fans. After getting their team back after 15 years, the Jets' season tickets sold out in 17 minutes after being available to the public. This is a fanbase a Canadian superstar would want to play for.
The fact that Getzlaf grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, just a seven-hour drive away, makes it even more viable.
On the other side, Anaheim would be acquiring two young players who could spread out the scoring while adding depth to the Ducks' blue line.
If the Ducks were to ever trade their captain, there isn't a place that seems more fitting than Winnipeg.