The 2012 NHL trade deadline may well go down as the Bourque-ist of all time.
By that, of course, I'm referring to Ray Bourque, the Hall of Fame defenceman who spent 21 years with the Boston Bruins before finally hoisting the Stanley Cup as a member of the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.
The current crop of names being bandied about the trading block is replete with All-Stars who've spent their entire careers with the same organization but have yet to drink from Lord Stanley's magnificent chalice. These three franchise cornerstones, in particular, have toiled for long enough and more than merit being sent to contenders, even if they won't demand to be traded themselves.
Which franchise star is most likely to move?
Rick Nash came into the NHL in 2002 as the savior of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who'd come into existence just two years prior to his arrival as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Nash has certainly held up his end of the bargain, accounting for 522 points in 644 games over the course of eight-and-a-half seasons.
The Jackets, on the other hand, have done little TO reward Nash's commitment (other than pay him, that is). They've made the playoffs just once ever and are currently sitting all alone in the basement of the league, with the bloated contracts of Nash and 2011 free-agent signees tying up their payroll.
Not surprisingly, Nash isn't particularly happy with the direction the franchise is headed, though he'd rather not be the one to ask for a trade.
Nash's cowardice aside, it would behoove the Jackets to find a taker for their 27-year-old star so that they may finally embark upon a full-fledged (and much-needed) rebuilding project.
Like Nash in Columbus, Shane Doan has spent his entire career with the Phoenix Coyotes organization, dating back to their days as the original Winnipeg Jets.
Doan has at least been fortunate enough to play in the postseason seven times in his 13 seasons with the 'Yotes, though he's never advanced past the first round.
As it stands, Phoenix is just two points out of the playoff picture. The franchise, however, is in greater danger, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman struggling to find a buyer who wants to keep the team in Arizona.
Doan certainly deserves better than a spot on a sinking ship for his Hall of Fame efforts, but, as is the case with so many stars these days, he appears unlikely and/or unwilling to ask out and the team won't move him unless he does.
With free agency just around the corner, the 35-year-old Doan could easily request a trade to a top-tier team with which to finish the season and return to Phoenix to finish up his career if he so pleases.
Shane Doan isn't the only loyal star to come out of the 1995 NHL Draft.
Jarome Iginla is currently stuck in a similarly awkward detente with the Calgary Flames. Iginla has no desire to leave Calgary, and the Flames seem wholly content to keep him, if only as an attendance draw while the team flounders on the fringes of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
He still believes the Flames can compete for the Western Conference crown and is determined to hoist the Cup with them after coming so agonizingly close eight years ago.
Problem is, Calgary's roster isn't exactly suited for making a serious run right now, with its mismatched hodgepodge of young guns and seasoned veterans.
From the Flames' point of view, holding onto Iginla is the only way to go, despite his annual $7 million salary running through 2013, because of the limited value they'd be able to garner in return for the 34-year-old and what he means as the face of the franchise.
But, as far as Bourqueian hockey justice is concerned, the Flames "owe" it to Iginla to get him back to the Stanley Cup Finals, be it in Calgary or elsewhere.