Who wants a piece of Rick Nash?
With one week until the NHL's trade deadline, teams are trying to determine if they're looking to add pieces to a winning formula or ready to direct their aim at October. With 12 teams realistically looking at playoff contention in both conferences, it's hard to know which team will buy and which will sell.
What follows is our predictions of what all 30 teams will do in the coming week.
The Ducks raised more than a few eyebrows when they started handing extensions to veterans many thought would be valuable trade pieces as the Ducks struggled to stay out of last place in the Western Conference.
But to their credit, Anaheim stayed the course and has rebounded in miraculous fashion to be within smelling distance of the postseason. No longer are people wondering if Teemu Selanne will be moved, but rather if they add someone to help him.
With the core back from a Cup win last year, there isn't much that they necessarily need to sell/buy with where they currently sit in the standings. The situation in Boston isn't bad, but another injury may push them into the buyer category.
The wheels came off early this season for the Sabres, and they have a number of players that might be somewhere else next week. Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad have been the most popular names in rumors, but even Ryan Miller has been mentioned. After grossly overpaying some guys (cough... Ville Leino) last summer, the once-buyers in Buffalo are now looking to get value for veterans.
The Flames are in the mix for anywhere from the six to 12 seed in the Western Conference right now, and could certainly entertain the idea of adding a few pieces. As is the case with many teams in the West, the dust likely won't be settled enough for an appropriate decision to be made by the deadline, but Calgary certainly could look to add.
This certainly isn't a knock on the improved play by the Canes, but they have a few veteran pieces that will almost certainly be moved before the deadline. The injury to Tuomo Ruutu clouded his trade prospects, but defenseman Bryan Allen will likely get a look from more than a couple scouts, especially when you consider the value veterans have been getting already.
The Blackhawks might be one of the most intriguing teams to watch as we get closer to the deadline. They have some players that could get a lot of interest if the "sell" category, such as Andrew Brunette, Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell, Ray Emery and even Viktor Stalberg.
But the Hawks have won three straight and are still sixth in the Western Conference. They could look to upgrade with a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman. With good organizational depth, they could look to move some veterans and add pieces at the same time.
Both NHL Network and NBC Sports Network mentioned Jean-Sebastian Giguere's name as a player that could become available, but apparently nobody has noticed the Avs are only three points out of the playoffs with Matt Duchene coming off IR soon. With a lot of free agents coming up this summer, they may look to move a player or two for players under contract after this season, but selling might be premature in Denver.
Who wants a superstar? If you can afford the king's ransom, Rick Nash is available.
Who wants a disappointing could-be-70-point center? If you can stomach 10 more years of him, Jeff Carter's available.
Want a center? Antoine Vermette is a name that might intrigue more than a few teams.
As Dennis Bernstein outlined on Monday, GM Scott Howson could take advantage of a desperate market to fix the problems he's created in Columbus.
They've already moved one defenseman, Nicklas Grossman, and have a number of other assets that could be in play between now and the deadline. If they can save money and add picks/prospects between now and July (when they need to give Jamie Benn a lot of money), they'll do it.
If it ain't broke, no need to fix anything. They can't lose at home and have more Hall of Famers on their roster than most teams have 20-goal scorers.
The Oilers would more appropriately be described as "stockpilers" at the deadline, as they look to continue adding young pieces while potentially moving veterans like Nikolai Khabibulin and Ales Hemsky are "sold." The current standings are an indication of this season, not the future in Edmonton; they're building.
Florida's in the mix to win a division title for the first time in...a while. They have some veterans that might be moved, but they certainly would be more closely aligned as a team looking to fix any outstanding holes in their roster that might be possible.
Bob McKenzie is the latest to indicate the Kings are all-in on the Rick Nash sweepstakes, and they have also been linked to James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter, former teammates of Mike Richards in Philadelphia. They have the defense and goaltending to go deep, but are the lowest scoring team in the NHL. They'll certainly look to add some offense.
Sure, they'll eventually dump Marek Zidlicky for whatever they can get, but the recent three-year extension given to Kyle Brodziak indicates the Wild aren't looking to dump any of their core veterans. After all, they're only four points out of the playoffs entering Tuesday.
Hal Gill has already been sent packing, and indications are that others will follow. McKenzie reported on Monday night that Travis Moen may be off the market now, but Andrei Kostitsyn and Chris Campoli may soon follow him to a new home. Their one trade, acquiring Rene Bourque for Mike Cammalleri, has been break-even so far, which isn't what they needed.
If the premium paid by Nashville to rent Hal Gill indicates anything, it's that the Preds are going all-in this season while trying to convince Ryan Suter and Shea Weber to stick around Music City. They're rumored to be actively looking still, likely with a scorer in mind.
The Devils are fourth in the Eastern Conference after Monday's game, but are only two points ahead of seventh. Their primary concern is holding onto Zach Parise after this season, but cap constraints and limited organizational depth may keep them from making a bold move to add before the deadline.
Once again, the Islanders will be playing golf in mid-April this year. They will probably get a number of calls for Evgeni Nabokov, but looking to move anyone else on their roster could be tricky before the deadline. Frankly, if they could trade 2011-12 Michael Grabner for the 2010-11 edition, they would be thrilled.
They might be rumored to have interest in Rick Nash, but everything we said about Detroit is also true here. Things really aren't broken at Madison Square Garden... maybe they'll trade for a few Jeremy Lin-free headlines in the tabloids?
Ottawa's currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but they're the team that's only two points behind the fourth-place Devils. They could use a backup goalie and some more scoring, and could look to be active before the deadline to add some depth if possible.
The Flyers have been the bold, market-setting team early in the trade market, sending away a handful of picks to acquire defensemen Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina. But they've been all over almost every rumor out there since mid-January, and might look to make a blockbuster at some point. Philly will be fun to watch for the next few days.
They need a buyer before they can be buyers, so they have to be sellers until there's nothing left to be sold. But will they have the (lack of) confidence in their future to move Ray Whitney or, heaven forbid, Shane Doan? And if they did, who would sign off on the deal?
Currently sixth on the Eastern Conference, one point behind fourth, the Pens could stand to gain the most at some point in the next five weeks if Sidney Crosby can return to the ice. They just handed James Neal a big extension, but they clearly need to have their captain back on the ice.
The Sharks quietly emerged in the last week as a potential favorite to land Rick Nash, but they have a number of issues to address. Antti Niemi hasn't been very good lately, and heard about it from his coach through the media a couple times in the last week. They could use help in a number of places, but could stand still and still win the Pacific Division.
They've been the surprise of the season, and continue to play well. They might look to made a depth move, but the top end of their lineup is set and working really well right now.
Steven Stamkos isn't going anywhere, but the move of Pavel Kubina indicates that GM Steve Yzerman is ready to address his 2012-13 roster now.
Toronto has as many points as the Winnipeg Jets (but with two fewer games played), and will likely be in a battle for a playoff spot well past the deadline. Brian Burke has never been shy around this time of year, so seeing him doing anything but buying isn't logical.
The Canucks may have made their biggest move earlier this year, when they added David Booth. They're close enough to the cap that they'll likely continue playing well with the players that have them second in the Western Conference right now.
One of the more frustrating teams to figure out this year, the Caps are close enough to the bottom of the playoff picture that they might buy before the deadline.
But with Alex Semin and Tomas Vokoun possibly bringing enormous value back to Washington, and the team lacking any consistency all year, they might wisely choose to address their future rather than pouring additional assets into this year's team.
The Jets have quietly won three in a row, and have as many points as the eighth place Leafs (with two more games played). They might look to deal a veteran like Johnny Oduya in a market that's been overpaying for rental defenseman, but could also look to utilize those assets to bolster a playoff run in their first season in Winnipeg. They could be a dark horse to make some noise before the deadline.