NHL Trade Deadline: A Trade for Each GM to Consider

Fernando Lima@@RooftopFlamesContributor IIIJanuary 20, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline: A Trade for Each GM to Consider

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    The NHL deadline is approaching fast, and aside from the Michael Cammalleri and Kyle Turris trades, the teams haven't been as active as they seem to be. In the backstage, I'm sure that GM's are working their phones like there is no tomorrow, but until now, there is nothing to show for it.

    This year, different from last year, we have a large amount of different players that could really help teams out in the long run or just as rentals.

    As Feb. 27 approaches, we already have a clear definition of teams that are making the playoffs or are fighting for the final spots and those who won't go to the postseason. 

    Here are trades that each GM should consider in order to either make their teams better in the future or to make a run in the playoffs.

Anaheim Ducks: Ales Hemsky

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    Ales Hemsky may not be the first option for a trade Bob Murray has in mind, but it might be interesting for him to take a look at this Czech forward. At the end of the season, Hemsky becomes an unrestricted free agent. Because of his awful points total in a contract year, this deal is more like a trial for next season.

    While Bruce Boudreau was coaching the Washington Capitals, he always had a powerful left wing with Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. His second line left winger is Niklas Hagman.

    Hemsky would provide Boudreau with a sniper, much like Semin, on the second line. 

    The Oilers won't give the Ducks a bargain deal for this piece, but if Murray works with intelligence here, he might end up grabbing another star for his top six.

    Besides that, the Ducks still have money to absorb Hemsky's cap hit until the end of the season, and if the trial works out, he might be signed on a longer-term deal.

Boston Bruins: Travis Moen

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    It is hard to find a flaw in team that is has been playing so well for the second season in a row. From top to bottom, the Bruins are the cream of the crop in the NHL. They have set the standard for success in the Eastern Conference and have showed no signs of letting down after winning the Stanley Cup.

    Despite being the team to beat, GM Peter Chiarelli, according to Pierre LeBrun, has been active in the backstage to improve the Bruins for a Stanley Cup defense this year. 

    Analyzing this lineup, there is one minor blimp that could be considered as a potential problem. The left wing in the last two lines, manned by Benoit Pouliot and Daniel Paille, might be considered questionable. 

    While Benoit Pouliot has been above reproach this season, playing a physical game and contributing with the odd goal here and there, Daniel Paille has been awfully quiet. Paille has 10 points and gathered his first PIMs on the season against the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

    If Chiarelli gets his hands on Moen, who should be one of the most sought-after commodities, before the trade deadline this year, the Bruins maybe building themselves a dynasty here.

Buffalo Sabres: Travis Moen

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    The Buffalo Sabres were very unfortunate this year. Not only has Ryan Miller, the team's MVP, sustained a concussion and not been himself since, but injuries to Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers, combined with the poor play of Drew Stafford and Ville Leino (to name a few), took the Sabres from being a sure playoff team to a lottery team.

    Even if the team had an injury-free season, the Sabres are still one of the smallest teams in the NHL. The lack of physical power automatically takes them out of contention in the Eastern Conference.  

    This year, Darcy Regier is faced with the task of injecting this roster with some size despite being up against the salary cap. 

    Travis Moen is a cheap third-liner that could stay in Buffalo for an extra three or four years. With the abundant prospect pool the Sabres have, they might be able to pull off a deal with the Canadiens. 

Calgary Flames: Trading Jarome Iginla

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    Jay Feaster needs to face it. Calgary needs to rebuild, and needs it urgently.

    Their most marketable piece is Jarome Iginla. I know he's the face of the franchise and has been that for the last 15 years. Iginla has almost brought a Stanley Cup to Alberta and kept this franchise alive for a long time, but it is time to part ways with the superstar. It is better for both parties.

    If Calgary ships off Iginla, they'll manage to get rid of a lot of money in their salary cap, and despite Iggy's age, they'll still get a huge chunk of assets and draft picks. Since Calgary is a lottery team this year, this deal is exactly what they need to jump start an accelerated rebuilding process. 

    Teams, like the Maple Leafs, that are considering making an offer for Shane Doan would certainly rush to make an offer for Iginla even if has only two or three more seasons left in him.

Carolina Hurricanes: Trading Eric Staal

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    Carolina and Buffalo were both teams that were fighting each other for the last playoff spot in the east. Buffalo got hampered by a ridiculous amount of injuries, while Carolina just isn't that great after all. This summer, the only significant move to bolster this lineup was signing Tomas Kaberle to a huge deal.

    Jim Rutherford messed up greatly on this one, but to correct his mistake, he pulled a fast one on Pierre Gauthier and dumped Kaberle's insane contract on Montréal. For me, this might be the best trade in the season.

    Analyzing Carolina's lineup, they aren't as deep as they thought they were on pretty much every position. This makes it insanely hard for Cam Ward to steal every single game. This year, the whole team is under-producing, especially captain Staal.

    If Rutherford was to trade Staal, I'm sure he could get at least a star defenseman, a very serviceable forward and a first-round draft pick or more in return. But, Staal is the face of the franchise, having led them to a Stanley Cup, so it'll be hard for the Hurricanes to part ways with him.

Chicago Blackhawks: Ales Hemsky

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    Currently, the Blackhawks lie in first in the Western Conference and have been playing better as of late. Andrew Brunette is starting to get his touch back, and that bodes really well for the team that is finding its form again now after winning the Stanley Cup two years ago. 

    Analyzing their lineup, there are not many holes they need to fill. They could add another bottom-pair defenseman, but their most glaring hole is at the left wing. While Viktor Stalberg has performed very well this season, so far amassing 28 points, the other left wingers have greatly under-performed.

    Brunette was expected to fill the void at the second line, but his point total this season has been disappointing. If the Blackhawks could trade for a guy like Ales Hemsky without parting with too many prospects, it would be ideal.

    Hemsky could prove to be a valuable rental, as the Blackhawks still have space to absorb his cap hit. 

Colorado Avalanche: Tuukka Rask

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    Tuukka Rask and Cory Schneider are both backup goaltenders that are ready to take up the starting job. If either club is willing to part ways with them, they could get a premium in return.

    Having picked Gabriel Landeskog in last year's draft, Colorado showed mistrust in T.J. Galiardi. WIth 12 points and a minus-five rating, Galiardi proved them right, but that does not mean he didin't show promise in Colorado.

    Though all their forwards are greatly underperforming, the Avalanche's single biggest problem is their shaky goaltending. Semyon Varlamov had starter status after being acquired from the Capitals for a first-round draft pick and has more losses than wins this season. His save percentage is below .900.

    If the Avalanche could give Galiardi and Varlamov for Rask and a prospect like Alexander Khokhlachev, that wouldn't be too bad for the Avalanche since they are just outside the playoff bubble in the Western Conference.

    Rask has the potential not only to steal some games this season, but they may find in him their franchise goaltender. It is a risk worth taking.  

Columbus Blue Jackets: Trading Rick Nash

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    The Blue Jackets are by far the worst team in the NHL. They spent a premium this summer to acquire James Wisnewski and Jeff Carter as the whole project blew up in their faces. Now, they have fired Scott Arniel. With several injured players and underperforming acquisitions, they need to blow it all up once again.

    Trading Rick Nash would be the apex of demolition for this club, and as far as I'm concerned, they should try it. There are teams out there who would give the Blue Jackets their underwear for Rick Nash.

    If Scott Howson could get a deal like, for example, Evander Kane plus Johnny Oduya and prospects or draft picks, I think it would be worth looking into. Not are the Blue Jackets getting a young, star center with franchise potential, but they might be set for the future.  

Dallas Stars: Teddy Purcell

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    As of now, the Dallas Stars are in 10th place in the Western Conference, only a win out of a playoff spot. With surprising acquisitions such as Eric Nystrom awith his 13 goals and Sheldon Souray's 17 points, the Stars, as it stands, have a legitimate shot at the playoffs with this lineup. 

    This is a surprising team, but they could certainly do with more scoring. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the worst team in the East and might be willing to trade a few guys in an effort for a quick rebuild. Teddy Purcell and his 24 points would be second among right wingers in the Stars lineup. 

    Joe Nieuwendyk could certainly make his case for this player due to the abundance of prospects the Lightning have. Purcell is a cheap option that gives them the extra push they need to make the playoffs.

Detroit Red Wings: Maintain the Course

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    If were Ken Holland, I would not touch this roster. Despite their age, the Red Wings never cease to amaze and are always in line for deep layoff run. The most victorious franchise in the last decade also does not show signs of relenting due to their various European prospects gathered by scout Hakan Andersson. 

    Despite an underwhelming regular season by their left wingers, especially Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, the team is still in fifth in the Western Conference. Due to the aforementioned ridiculous pool of prospects like Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and Marek Tvrdon, the Red Wings are pretty much set for offense in the next decade.

    Now, on the defensive part of the lineup, the Red Wings might be in trouble once Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom retires, but if he decides not return next season and both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter make it to free agency, they'll be in position to sign at least one if not both. Also coming up from the minors is Brendan Smith, a prospect that has shown tones of promise and seems to be NHL-ready right now.

    So, in my opinion, Holland should maintain the ship on its course.

Edmonton Oilers: Karl Alzner

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    The Edmonton Oilers for two consecutive years have had the first pick overall in the NHL draft, but to no avail. Despite performing a little bit better this year, the team still battles injuries and the growing pains of being one of the youngest teams in the NHL.

    What the Oilers need is some respect. They need a player that can pile-drive everyone and still hold his own. They tried that with the acquisition of Andy Sutton, but after some hefty suspensions, they need someone else to fill that void. 

    The Washington Capitals' Karl Alzner is one of the cheapest, youngest options of defensive defensemen available. Alzner's huge frame allow him to compete with the most physical forwards in the East, and it would certainly come in handy for the Oilers. 

    With Tom Gilbert being perennially injured, the Oilers need a durable defenseman to protect the kids still being young. Alzner is one of the most mature defensemen in the game under 25.

Florida Panthers: Francois Beauchemin

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    The Florida Panthers are the ultimate Cinderella story in the NHL this season. Standing in eighth place in the East with 51 points, Dale Tallon has turned, in a year, this team from a lottery team into a playoff certainty. Of course, they have been leaning on the surprise contributions of Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann, Jason Garrison and Brian Campbell, but this does not invalidate the work that Tallon has done.

    If the Panthers want to go deep in the playoffs this year, they might want to add a little bit of scoring to their defense. Jason Garrison has 12 goals this season, but the rest of the defense hasn't scored that much.

    A journey man like Francois Beauchemin could come in cheap, as he is leaving one of the worst teams in the West and can chip in the odd goal or two. In my opinion, the Ducks wouldn't want a lot for Beauchemin due to their poor performance this year. Beauchemin is an expensive player at $3.8 million, but because the Panthers can absorb that cap hit and then some, he might prove to be a very nice rental at this point of the season. 

    The calloused Beachemin might be what the Panthers need to have a nice run in the playoffs.

Los Angeles Kings: Tuomo Ruutu

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    Despite being in the seventh spot in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings are not the same team from last season. Because they were in such a funk a wihle ago, Dean Lombardi got rid of Terry Murray and brought in Darryl Sutter.

    While that might have sparked the team, their left wingers have been utterly disappointing this season. 

    The Kings don't have much cap space, but if Dean Lombardi could get Jim Rutherford to accept Dustin Penner for Tuomo Ruutu, that would not only free up some cap space, but that would also provide the Kings with a guy that would be tied for third in team's scoring with the benefit of being a big body to throw his weight around in the Western Conference.

    If this trade were to materialize, this trade would make the Kings a lot more competitive in the West's playoff picture. Also, Ruutu is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and depending on his success, the Kings might be inclined to keep him.

Minnesota Wild: Dainius Zubrus

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    Just a while ago, the Minnesota Wild were lighting up the Western Conference due to some surprise contributions from Kyle Brodziak. Pierre-Marc Bouchard came back from his concussion on a mission, and in general, the rest of team was playing some of its best hockey in years.

    Now, they are the bubble team in the West, and they need to do something in order to either get back in form or to spark them towards the playoffs. 

    Because Bouchard is out indefinitely with a concussion, they need another center to replace his production. When thinking of a trade, Dainius Zubrus isn't the first name that comes to mind, but he might be one of the cheaper guys that the Wild can get to replace Bouchard's points.

    If the Wild were willing to part with a player like Devin Setoguchi, the Devils might be enticed to trade Zubrus, but due to their slumping performance, Zubrus might be a little more expensive than what I project him to be. 

Montreal Canadiens: Derek Roy

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    The Montreal Canadiens need a ridiculous push to make the playoffs at this point. While Pierre Gauthier hopes that his players make the playoffs, he is definitely working with the possibility of making trades to improve his team for next season. 

    The Canadiens urgently need a sizeable first line center. Derek Roy might be able to fill that role. Roy's 25 points would be good for fifth in the Canadiens lineup. He would certainly add an offensive punch that they so desperately need.

    Roy's cap hit is of $4 million for the next season might be a little too spicy for the Canadiens to be enticed. If Pierre Gauthier made a package of Travis Moen, Alexei Emelin and a top prospect like Nathan Beaulieu or Louis Leblanc, Darcy Regier would at least have to think about it.

Nashville Predators: Trading Ryan Suter

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    In the perfect world, the Predators wouldn't be a budget team and would have the money to sign all of the big three for the rest of their careers, but this is not the perfect world. David Poile did the right thing by committing to Pekka Rinne early in the season. Rinne has been a stellar goaltender and has maintained his level of play. 

    Weber, despite missing some games due to a concussion, is the team's top scorer, and he is the face of the franchise. The only semi-tradable piece in Nashville's defensive tripod of wonders is Ryan Suter.

    At a $3.5 million cap hit, Suter is a salty addition for any contender, but there are teams willing to bite the bullet to have this premium defenseman in their lineup. Reportedly, teams—most notably, the Philadelphia Flyers—are willing to give up a premium for this gem.

    Paul Holmgren is reportedly shopping the recently-concussed James Van Riemsdyk. Van Riemsdyk's cap hit for the years to come is set $4.25 million, which might be a little too much for the Predators. If they could get some prospects plus Van Riemsdyk for Suter, David Poile will have to ponder the trade.

New Jersey Devils: Hal Gill

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    Holding the sixth place in the Eastern Conference due to stellar seasons from Patrik Elias and Zach Parise, the Devils find themselves in a conundrum. To trade or not to trade Parise? That is Lou Lamoriello's question. 

    The Ilya Kovalchuk contract is not the only bad deal the Devils GM has done recently. Giving more than $4 million to Anton Volchenkov and more than $3 million to Henrik Tallinder was just crazy. Both of these players have been duds for the Devils and could be better off somewhere else. 

    In my mind, if Lamoriello could get Hal Gill and Alexei Emelin for Henrik Tallinder, he would be greatly improving his defense for the playoffs.

    Hal Gill is a proven playoff performer and was one of the stalwarts in their surprising run of two years ago and still might have something in his tank. Emelin was one of the premier defensemen in the KHL for the past few seasons. The Russian has a powerful shot and loves to hit. He might an excelent physical prospect for the Devils to keep.

New York Islanders: James Van Riemsdyk

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    The Islanders are the NHL's little shop of horrors. When things seem to hit rock bottom, it gets worse.

    But, there is hope in the future of this franchise. Led by wonder kid John Tavares, the likes of Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo might have it in themselves to stir this boat back into its days of glory.

    Analyzing their roster, they look promising on most positions, except on the left wing. Apart from Matt Moulson's stellar season, the Islanders' left wing is pretty much nonexistent. They need someone to be there in the long run.

    With James van Riemsdyk having signed a long-term deal with Philadelphia, he might be just the contract that Garth Snow might be willing to accept while rebuilding this franchise.

    If he could trade Kyle Okposo for James van Riemsdyk, it would be a very good trade for the Islanders. 

New York Rangers: Full Speed Ahead

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    The New York Rangers, in my opinion, are the most pleasing team to watch this season. They have been playing the best hockey in the Eastern Conference, having fully adapted to the method of success imposed by the Boston Bruins. 

    Except for Brandon Dubinsky, the whole team is producing what is expected from each player with the physical edge that the John Tortorella teams have. Also, the Rangers have been playing with a swag stemming from the Vezina performances of Henrik Lundqvist to the clinic that Marian Gaborik has been putting on this season.

    In Brazil, there is this proverb, "You don't mess with a winning team."


Ottawa Senators: Maintain the Course

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    I know that some of you are going to bash me in the comments for this but I, in my most honest opinion, think that this season by the Ottawa Senators is a fluke. There is no way that this team is this good for more than one season in a row.

    I agree that Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen are the real deal, but Alfie is aging quickly. Gonchar, Philips and Kuba are also up there in age. Beyond that, I think that the seasons by Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris, Nick Foligno, Eric Condra, Zack Smith and Colin Greening are sheer luck.

    Because I think Bryan Murray is a very smart man, I believe he knows that he's not done yet, but right now, I think the Senators need to ride their hot streak until where it takes them. A trade right now would spoil the groove they have hit.

    Though I think the Senators are a very exciting team right now with a boat-load of prospects, this team needs at least two more years to hit its apex. Then, they'll have a shot at Lord Stanley, but as for now, they should remain quiet on the path they're in.

Philadelphia Flyers: Clarke MacArthur

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    Another team that is playing some of the best hockey in the NHL today, the Flyers have been a very good team for a few years, but never seem to do enough to win the Stanley Cup. This is a team that, with a few adjustments here and there, might be the best in the NHL. 

    Of course, this season, the Flyers had to deal with injuries to Claude Giroux and are still dealing with the concussions of team captain Chris Pronger and James van Riemsdyk. In spite of all of this, the Flyers are still able to compete with the best.

    Analyzing their lineup, I see only one flaw. Paul Holmgren could add a third line left winger with a scoring touch to his team. That would help to put the Flyers over the top in the East.

    A guy that fills this function exactly is Clarke MacArthur. Sometimes part of the second line, MacArthur's home in Buffalo, Atlanta and Toronto has been the third line. He has a fine scoring touch for a checker and should supply exactly what the Flyers need.

    Because this player is a favorite of Ron Wilson's, it'll be hard to pry him out of Toronto, but if the Van Riemsdyk-Schenn exchange happens, a trade between MacArthur and guy like Maxime Talbot becomes much more feasible.

Phoenix Coyotes: Matt Cooke

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    The Phoenix Coyotes are a team that just won't quit. No owner, no fanbase and they still maintain to be a win out of a playoff spot in the West. I don't know how Dave Tippett does it, but with the scraps he gets every season, he manages to piece together a competitive team. 

    Led by Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan and Ray Whitney, the Coyotes are team that sorely miss secondary production. They got a couple of possible low-risk, high-reward players in Gilbert Brule and Marc-Antoine Pouliot. At their cap hit, if these players put up 30 points in a season, they're doing their job. 

    To compete in the NHL, the Coyotes need an infusion of strength and scoring in their lineup. If they were to pick up Matt Cooke, he would be tied for fifth with the most goals in the team. He would be a legitimate bruiser in a Coyotes lineup that relies exclusively on Raffi Torres for that role.

    It would be very hard for Dan Maloney to pry this player out of Pittsburgh, but a deal composed of Taylor Pyatt for Matt Cooke would be enticing for the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Frattin

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    If the Pittsburgh Penguins nurse everyone back to health, even if Sidney Crosby never plays professional hockey again, they are a very deep squad. This year, Dan Bylsma has been doing some magic tricks to keep this team as competitive as it is despite injuries at times to Evgeni Malkin and now to Jordan Staal.

    Analyzing their lineup, the Penguins top-six forwards are very good, but their right wing in the bottom six is somewhat pedestrian. Having to juggle players between Arron Asham, Craig Adams and Richard Park, the Penguins could be doing a lot better if, instead of one of these, in came a new guy like Frattin that would add a pinch skill to their bottom six.

    With his five goals, Frattin has outscored all three forwards mentioned above. 

    Frattin would be a hard player to take out of Brian Burke's hands, as he's seen as a valuable prospect, but an offer involving one of these players plus a prospect in the likes of Tom Kuhnhackl might be enough to make Burke pick up his phone.

San Jose Sharks: Matt Moulson

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    The Sharks made waves this season with their two trades with MInnesota. While the trade that got them Brent Burns is paying off, the one that got them Martin Havlat was not that great. Havlat has been grossly underperforming for the Sharks and now he's injured.

    Havlat's troubles are not new. In his last seasons for the MInnesota Wild, he was not scoring the amount of goals expected from him.

    Matt Moulson has been lighting it up in New York playing with John Tavares, and he could totally fit in a line with Logan Couture. He would come for a little bit more than 60 percent of Havlat's cap hit and would give the Sharks a surge in production.

    The Islanders won't give up Moulson just for Havlat. The Sharks might have to throw in a couple of prospects and even draft picks to get the Islanders to consider the trade since Moulson is part of their core. Havlat, despite his scoring woes, is an established star in the NHL. The Islanders could certainly benefit from having a player of this caliber in their lineup.

St. Louis Blues: Maintain the Course

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    The St. Louis Blues are playing some of the best hockey the NHL has to offer after they fired Davis Payne and put Ken Hitchcock in his place. They aren't a spectacular team, and they don't have a star player carrying them along. With no player with more than 40 points, the Blues have six players that have more than 20 points. Also, they have seven players whose point totals fall in between 14 and 19.

    They have found such a groove and are currently in fifth in the Western Conference. The Blues are a team with grit and size, making them a threat in the NHL.

    Because of their youth, this team can only go better. Of course, this lineup will not hold for a lot more time with no improvements, but I believe they should ride this hot streak as far as they can into the playoffs.

    If they manage to get both Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak playing well until the deadline, they might have a powerful bargaining chip either for now or leading up to the NHL draft. Either way, the Blues are in a very good position right now. 

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Bernier

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning are currently in 14th place in the Eastern Conference after falling in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. With Steven Stamkos still performing like a freak of nature and Martin St. Louis showing no signs of relenting, the Lightning are well set in the offense not only with their players right now, but they have a deep prospect pool as well.

    Their pitfall this season has been the extremely poor play of Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon. Roloson is showing, finally, his age, and Garon is back to his menial level of play. 

    The Lightning need a quick fix in goal. The Los Angeles Kings are set with Jonathan Quick for a long time, and Erik Esberg is making waves in Europe.

    The odd man out in the equation might be Jonathan Bernier. The Canadian who is currently the backup for the Los Angeles Kings is one of the best backups despite being in a slumping season and might be a cheap addition for the Lightning.

    If Steve Yzerman gives up a forward and an offensive prospect, the Kings might be inclined to give up Bernier.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Ryane Clowe

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    The Maple Leafs are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference three points out of a playoff spot. Brian Burke, according to TSN, is very active on the trade front, looking for players with size and offensive upside to put on his wing. Though the Leafs might be inclined to pay a premium for an aged player like Shane Doan, it might be more wise if Burke turns his cannons towards a guy like Ryane Clowe.

    Clowe is a winger that can score goals, hit and isn't afraid to stick up for his teammates whenever he needs to. Also, Clowe fills an interesting void for the Sharks. He's a clutch playoff performer which might come in handy for the Maple Leafs.

    A lot younger than Doan, Clowe might be an interesting piece in the Toronto Maple Leafs down the road, but due to his vital role with the Sharks, the Leafs will have to play a steep price for him.

    Burke would have to give up a player like Nikolai Kulemin and some prospects for Ryane Clowe.

Vancouver Canucks: Maintain the Course

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    The Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup last season to the Boston Bruins in their home arena. It was an epic collapse that marred the winning of the Art Ross trophy by Daniel Sedin and the Frank J. Selke trophy win by Ryan Kesler.

    This season, the Canucks started a little bit slow, but they have picked up their slack and are in second place in the Western Conference just two points behind Chicago. 

    They have won the rematch with the Boston Bruins and showed the world that they are very skilled and tough. 

    This year, the Sedins already have 50 points each, and the whole lineup has been producing quite well. With the injury to Sami Salo, they'll have to replace his 16 points somehow, but Salo is an oft-injured player, so the Canucks aren't as worried with that.

    With Manny Malhotra back for a full season, the Canucks are on a mission to win the Stanley Cup.

    Their window of opportunity is closing, but I can't envision a trade that would improve the team as it happened with the Mikael Samuelsson trade earlier in the season.

Washington Capitals: Alexandre Burrows

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    The Washington Capitals are an enigma. After being the best team in the regular season two years ago and falling in the second round of the playoffs last year, they couldn't get it started this season. George McPhee had to fire Bruce Boudreau to shake things up. His stars, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin, are under-producing for the second straight season, and the Capitals seem to have lost their contender game.

    The Capitals are not a tough team, and they are getting tossed around in the Eastern Conference. What the Capitals need is a player that gets under the opponent's skin; They need a player that gives then an edge but, that player must have the skills to play with Ovechkin, Backstrom and Co. 

    Alex Burrows plays with the Sedins in the Canucks' top line and is their resident agitator, along with Maxime Lapierre. Evidently, he has the skill to play on the Capitals top-six, and he will give them the edge they need in the East despite being a small player.

    If McPhee wants to trade Semin to Vancouver, he can ask for Burrows, and due to Semin's cap hit, he might also be able to toss in another big body like Keith Ballard.

Winnipeg Jets: Paul Stastny

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    The Winnipeg Jets are currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a playoff spot. This team, ever since it moved from Atlanta, has been feeding off the home crowd to put some intriguing performances, but you can't expect a lot of this team.

    While Evander Kane and Tobias Enstrom are developing to be premier players at their positions, the rest of team is composed by guys that are perennial third-liners or players that would be in the roster bubble around the NHL. 

    For this team to successfully rebuild, they have to have a premier first-line center. To address this issue, they might have to part with one of their franchise cornerstones. 

    Paul Stastny is a premier young center that, despite being in a below-average season with a struggling Avalanche team, has the ability to make a lot of plays offensively. 

    To get Stastny, though, is a whole other story. Kevin Cheveldayoff would never trade a player like Dustin Byfuglien, who is the face of the franchise, for Stastny. 

    Because Byfuglien makes almost a million less than Stastny, the Jets might not be so keen on this trade, but if they could get Paul Stastny and a big body like Shane O'Brien for Byfuglien, then it would be a whole other story.