NHL Trade Rumors: Top 15 Players Definitely on the Move at the Deadline
The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and teams are looking for the right fit to complete their championship formulas.
But this year's trade market is very cloudy. Realistically, maybe three teams are "out of it" in the Western Conference (Columbus, Anaheim and Edmonton), while in the East, there are only four teams more than 10 points out of the final playoff spot.
So, there's a lot that can happen in the next 20 days to determine who's a buyer and who's a seller. But there are some teams that will undoubtedly be looking to make some changes between now and the deadline with specific players.
What follows are 15 players that have the highest likelihood of wearing a new sweater when March begins. Injuries happen, and teams go on streaks (both good and bad), so not many players are guaranteed to be moving.
But these guys should probably be renting.
Derek MacKenzie, Columbus
Derek MacKenzie isn't a household name (even in Columbus), but he's a guy that could get a lot of interest from a team looking for one final piece.
He's set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and is winning over 55 percent of his faceoffs this year.
Also important, the 30-year-old has a low cap number ($600,000 this year), which makes him affordable for any team in the league.
Chris Campoli, Montreal
Chris Campoli was dealt before the deadline last year and could be headed to a fourth team in 18 months.
The Habs are one of the teams in the Eastern Conference that hasn't hit 50 points yet and isn't likely to make the playoffs, so dumping players for picks/prospects/anything is going to make sense for them at some point.
Campoli's one of the guys on their roster that will get attention with so many teams looking to add an affordable defenseman.
Mark Eaton, New York Islanders
Everything I just said about Chris Campoli could be cut-and-pasted here. Mark Eaton is going to be an unrestricted free agent capable of playing effective minutes on a team that's not going anywhere.
If the Islanders can get anything of value for Eaton, they'll probably pull the trigger.
Bryan Bickell, Chicago
Here's your first player on a potential playoff team to make the list, that will almost certainly be in a different city after the deadline.
Bryan Bickell scored 17 goals last year and is making barely above the league minimum...but he's been ineffective this year and was clearly outplayed by rookie Jimmy Hayes earlier in the year.
Chicago's looking for a defenseman and might put Bickell in the package to get one.
Johnny Oduya, Winnipeg
Johnny Oduya is one of the veterans that will probably garner a lot of interest in the coming three weeks, and the Jets could become motivated sellers if the gap between where they sit (currently 10th) and the bottom playoff spot gets bigger than the seven points it's at today.
And with a number of teams looking to add a defenseman growing almost nightly, he'll certainly be a guy to move.
Travis Moen, Montreal
What I said about the Habs on the Chris Campoli slide is going to be true for a couple of his teammates as this list continues.
Travis Moen, who needs to be healthy to get traded, is a forward that will be a free agent in July and could be a physical bottom-six guy for a team looking to add toughness. If/when Montreal decides to start moving dead weight to add assets to its future, Moen could be out the door.
Samuel Pahlsson, Columbus
I could probably say all of the same things about Samuel Pahlsson that I did about Derek MacKenzie. He's a good defensive center that wins faceoffs and won't bring a financial burden to his new team when dealt.
Chicago received decent play from him when they added him at the deadline, and other contenders could look for the same influence in their bottom six.
Marek Zidlicky, Minnesota
It's been pretty well documented over the last couple weeks that there is a divorce coming between the Wild and Marek Zidlicky, and this is only a matter of time.
Bryan Allen, Carolina
Carolina signed Tim Gleason to an extension, which leaves Bryan Allen hanging out there as an unrestricted free agent-to-be on a team going nowhere.
He's a guy that could be a cheap Band-Aid on the blue line for a team looking for fit a guy in a walk year.
Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders
There are a number of teams, like Tampa, that desperately need to improve their goaltending and might overpay as we get closer to the deadline.
The Islanders are going nowhere, will likely stick with Al Montoya next year and could use the addition of any picks/prospects they can get their hands on.
Other names that will garner interest, like Cory Schneider, Jonathan Bernier and Anders Lindback, won't likely be dealt off playoff rosters, so a guy like Evgeni Nabokov's value goes up as a rental.
Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we'll CliffsNotes the "decent player," "bad team," "free agent-to-be" discussion we've had with a number of Kostitsyn's teammates already.
Again, it all comes down to when Pierre Gauthier decides to pull the plug and start adding pieces for the future.
Hal Gill, Montreal
Yes, another Canadien on the list. All of the reasons his teammates could be dealt still apply, as do the "big, physical defenseman in a thin market" arguments.
Hal Gill might not skate like Brian Campbell, but there's value to be had in a guy that kills penalties and blocks shots...especially when he's gone in July.
Vinny Prospal, Columbus
Vinny Prospal's actually having a nice season in Columbus, which makes him even more likely to be traded.
A team looking for a veteran who can score a little bit with no future impact on their cap might move something for him at the deadline, and the cost could be minor for a guy Prospal's age.
Ales Hemsky, Edmonton
Ales Hemsky is having a bad year on a bad team and is in the final year of his contract. He probably wouldn't mind the change in scenery, as strong playoff performances have always done well by free agents.
Teams looking for a rental in their top six could see Hemsky as one of maybe two options to fill that role before the deadline. The other?
Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina
Tuomo Ruutu is the top name on the trade market, and he'll continue to be there until the Canes move him (or give him an extension like they did with Gleason).
A physical guy who can finish around the net, he's the best forward on the market, and a losing team that can get value for a guy that's leaving for nothing in July would be foolish to keep him on their roster.
He'll go, the only questions are: Where to? And for what?