NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Best Defensemen Likely to Change Sides by the Deadline

Jeff Langridge@@JeffLangridge1Correspondent IIIFebruary 16, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Best Defensemen Likely to Change Sides by the Deadline

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    Earlier today, I wrote an article profiling the top-13 forwards that are most likely to change hands. Now, I profile the defensemen.

    As I noted in the earlier article, contending teams will more than likely be going after offense at the deadline. Now, while some defensemen will go to contenders, I would hazard to guess that the d-men will be going the other way in the deals for the forwards.

    Here are the top 10 defensemen that will most likely be finding a new home come February 27th.

Pavel Kubina

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    2011-12 Stats: 52 games played, three goals, eight assists, 11 points

    While not a big point-producer anymore, Pavel Kubina is a veteran defenseman who has won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004. It's pretty clear that Kubina doesn't want to leave the Sunshine State, but he might not have a choice.

    With Steve Yzerman choosing to sit Kubina and explore trade possibilities, it's inevitable.

Marek Zidlicky

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    2011-12 Stats: 39 games played, zero goals, 13 assists, 13 points

    It looks very possible that Marek Zidlicky will be on his way out of Minnesota in the next few days, especially with rumors flying around that he asked to be traded to New Jersey (GM Chuck Fletcher immediately denied it).

    Maybe he's not going to New Jersey, but expect him to be dealt by the Wild for offensive help.

Hal Gill

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    2011-12 Stats: 53 games played, one goal, seven assists, eight points

    If anyone needs a big, physical force on the blue line, Hal Gill should be their first target. He's the defensive force that a contending team with a weak blue line will be after.

    If Montreal falls any farther out of the playoff race in the coming days, Gill will be the first to go as he is the most valuable of all of Montreal's trade pieces.

Bryan Allen

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    2011-12 Stats: 57 games played, zero goals, eight assists, eight points

    Once Carolina re-signed Tim Gleason, Bryan Allen became the No. 1 trade piece in Carolina when it came to defensemen.

    If Tuomu Ruutu is dealt, it's very possible that Allen could be traded along with him to give the other team additional depth on the blue line and allowing Carolina to gather more picks.

Jaroslav Spacek

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    2011-12 Stats: 32 games played, two goals, seven assists, nine points

    Jaroslav Spacek has already been traded once this season in the Tomas Kaberle deal. If Carolina can find a willing partner, his stay there will be quite short.

Andy Sutton

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    2011-12 Stats: 34 games played, three goals, seven assists, ten points

    Even with the one-year extension, Andy Sutton could still be on the move. It was just a move so they could get more in a return.

    I think it's a bad idea for Edmonton to trade Sutton as he is one of their older players and one of their more reliable defenseman. If he leaves, the Oilers' defense will be even worse.

Lubomir Visnovsky

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    2011-12 Stats: 44 games played, five goals, 17 assists, 22 points

    Lubomir Visnovsky was regarded as a Norris Trophy candidate. This year has been quite the opposite as he has now become a potential trade piece.

    While the Anaheim Ducks have fought their way to six points behind the playoffs, they might still decide that it's time to recoup some assets for a player they could perhaps afford to lose.

Nicklas Grossman

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    2011-12 Stats: 52 games played, zero goals, five assists, five points

    One of the more unheralded players in the NHL, Nicklas Grossman has perhaps benefited by playing for a team such as Dallas, who are not in the spotlight as much as they used to be.

    A contending team in need of defensive help, such as Philadelphia, could go after Grossman first.

Jack Johnson

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    2011-12 Stats: 57 games played, eight goals, 16 assists, 22 points

    Okay, I know the title of the article is "Defensemen Most Likely to be Dealt", but I wouldn't exactly put Jack Johnson in that category.

    The only way Johnson is likely to be dealt is if Los Angeles gets a player with the first name Rick and the last name Nash in return. If they truly want Nash, Johnson will have to be involved.

Johnny Oduya

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    2011-12 Stats: 57 games played, two goals, 11 assists, 13 points

    One of the only pieces remaining from the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, Johnny Oduya has been a steady force on the Winnipeg Jets' blue line.

    The Jets' problem has been their offense, and to get the offensive help, they might have to sacrifice some of their defense. Oduya is one of their most valued trade pieces.