Let the countdown begin.
The Feb. 27th NHL trade deadline is now less than two weeks away, and the rumor mill is heating up. With 26 teams still realistically battling for a playoff spot, the hockey world could see a lot of movement from here on out.
As the deadline nears, it becomes clearer who will not be moved before the deadline. For example, New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise has been all over the rumor mill since the season's opening, but now it looks almost certain that the Devils will try to re-sign him.
What won't become clear to us until the deadline hits is which players are moved.
It is likely there will be some deadline surprises. Players we never thought would be moved will be dealt, and players we thought were sure to have new homes will stay put.
For now all we can do is speculate, and that's exactly what this slideshow will do.
Here are the five players I believe have the best chance at being moved before the deadline.
No name has been thrown around more this year on the rumor mill than Tuomo Ruutu.
The Carolina forward seems likely to be traded, as Carolina is a bottom feeder in the Eastern Conference and Ruutu's contract expires at season's end.
Both sides are trying to work out a deal, but I believe he will be in a different uniform on Feb. 28th.
Most recently, Ruutu has been linked to the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins apparently want to add a top-six forward, especially if Nathan Horton continues to have concussion problems.
Ales Hemsky wants a five- or six-year deal. Edmonton isn't having it. Why should we expect Hemsky to remain an Oiler?
Hemsky's name has been brought up continuously in the past few months and for good reason.
The potential is there, but in Edmonton Hemsky hasn't quite been able to reach it. He probably wants to start playing for a winner, and a change of scenery might put him over the edge.
Perhaps the most realistic suitor for Hemsky is Nashville. It is unlikely that they'll deal Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, and a top-six forward would help put them in a better position heading towards the postseason.
While Marek Zidlicky's name hasn't been thrown around much in rumors this season, there is a huge possibility that he will have a new home before Feb. 27th.
Zidlicky recently expressed himself and stated he isn't happy in Minnesota.
He isn't an incredibly valuable forward, but Zidlicky could still bring a respectable return for the Wild.
If his situation in Minnesota doesn't improve, Zidlicky will certainly be on the move soon.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are awful. It is safe to say they're in a rebuilding mode, and Rick Nash is the team's best asset.
Trading Nash would net Columbus a lot of talent for the future, and in reality, the wisest decision is to deal the forward.
Nash currently has a no-trade clause, but why wouldn't he waive it to go to a contender like Boston or the New York Rangers?
The rumors are circling now more than ever on Nash. If a team is willing to bring him and his contract in, a deal will happen.
A Rick Nash mega-deal would certainly highlight the NHL season.
Hal Gill is a great asset to a team. He is an experienced leader, and the toughness he brings is hard to match.
This makes Gill the kind of player that teams drool over, especially teams in contention.
The D-man's contract expires after this season, and because Montreal is struggling, it is very likely that Gill will be traded before or on Feb. 27th.
Craig Custance of ESPN believes the Philadelphia Flyers will look long and hard at Gill if they are serious about wanting to add a blueliner.
Steven Conklin is a contributing writer for the Bleacher Report and a student at the University of Central Missouri. He joined B/R in October 2011 and is currently a B/R intern. Any comments, questions or suggestions are more than welcome.