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NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Players Who Could Be Traded Before the Trade Deadline

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Players Who Could Be Traded Before the Trade Deadline

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    The NHL trading deadline can make the difference for a team on the brink of contention. There may not be a ton on the trading market, but often times it's the seemingly insignificant deals that can become the missing piece to a championship run.

    Let's take a look at some of the players who are most likely to be traded before now and Feb. 27.

Tuomo Ruutu

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    The Carolina Hurricanes are almost certainly going to be sellers at the NHL trading deadline. Tuomo Ruutu is a hot commodity, and he is the type of player who could help an offensively challenged team down the stretch.

Andrei Kostitsyn

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    The Montreal Canadiens are in sell mode. After the bizarre trade of Mike Cammalleri, the team is expecting more changes to follow, according to the Ottawa Sun. 

    Andrei Kostitsyn is a free agent this offseason, and the front office hasn't exactly been thrilled with him in recent years.

Shane Doan

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    With the Phoenix Coyotes slipping out of contention, there is an outside chance the team will trade free-agent-to-be Shane Doan. Doan has enjoyed a prolific career with the organization, but he deserves a shot at postseason success, and he is not likely to find that in Phoenix.

Derick Brassard

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    Derick Brassard has been being shopped by Columbus since the Blue Jackets began their slide early in the season.

    Brassard never lived up to the hype of a top 10 draft pick, but he could still be a valuable depth player for a team that needs scoring.

Ales Hemsky

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    The Edmonton Oilers have once again fallen out of contention. It's a shame that all of that young talent hasn't been able to put it together, but something has to change in that locker room. Ales Hemsky is a free agent and could generate some interest across the league. 

Ryan Suter

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    Something has to happen for the Nashville Predators at the trading deadline. Both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are set to become free agents this offseason, and either could bring in a major offensive piece that the team desperately needs. Of the two, Suter makes more sense to move.

Hal Gill

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    Hal Gill is a serviceable depth defenseman that would interest a handful of teams. As previously mentioned, the Canadiens are willing to sell, so anyone is fair game.

Evgeni Nabokov

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    There isn't a tremendous market for goaltenders at the moment, but a few teams could be interested in adding Evgeni Nabokov. With Rick Dipietro out for the season, the Islanders are out of contention, making Nabokov potential trade bait.

Drew Stafford

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    The Sabres have been a major disappointment this season.

    It's getting to the point where it is beyond repair for the rest of this season. Buffalo could very well be sellers at the deadline.

    Drew Stafford, who has a reasonable $4 million cap hit, would be an affordable upgrade up front for a lot of teams.

Ryan Smyth

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    Ryan Smyth loves to play in Edmonton, but we've seen them trade him before. Not to mention, Smyth will be a free agent at the end of the year, so the Oilers can just bring him back at the end of the year while getting a return on him now.

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