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NHL Trade Rumors:Rick Nash and 10 Players We Can Expect to Be on the Move

Louis HamweyAnalyst IIIFebruary 23, 2012

NHL Trade Rumors:Rick Nash and 10 Players We Can Expect to Be on the Move

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    With only days left before the 2012 NHL trade deadline arrives, teams are getting ready to make their final moves in preparation for the playoffs.

    Some players out there are hot commodities in these transactions, such as Rick Nash and Jeff Carter. Others are seen simply for their value and as pawns to be dealt away for better pieces. But in the end, they all recognize the profession they have chosen always has this uncertainty of future.

    There have been a lot of rumors and speculation out there about what teams are seeking and who exactly will be on the move.

    Here is a list of 10 of those names that almost surely will be wearing a different jersey come Tuesday.

Rick Nash

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    Nash has been the biggest name on the trade block this season.

    The Blue Jackets captain has faithfully served Columbus for eight seasons, but with the franchise realizing that they will not be able to build a competitive team around him, they will do better to cash in on his value for the future.

    The no trade-clause Nash has in his contract allows him the luxury of picking where he wants to go. Teams on his wish list include Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

    According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Rangers and Kings are currently the front runners in the Nash sweepstakes.

Jeff Carter

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    Carter was brought into Columbus for the sole purpose of proving to Nash that the club was doing everything they can to surround him with talent. However, the move turned out to be nothing more than a failed experiment.

    Carter, whose average goals per season hovered around 30 in season in six with the Philadelphia Flyers, had an injury-prone year and has only 15 through 39 games with the Jackets.

    His sizable contract makes him a liability for a team that is looking to rebuild for the future, and his past performances give him a lot of value in that regard.

    The San Jose Sharks are rumored to be interested in a deal that would bring both Nash and Carter to the Bay Area, giving their Cup hopes a much-needed boost.

    The Buffalo Sabres have also cited interest. Tweets from Jeremy White of WGR Buffalo have sparked a clamoring to bring in the center. The move would be welcomed, as the second-worst offense in the East could use an extra 25-30 goals a season.

Jack Johnson

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    The Los Angeles Kings have built up a deep blue line that would make any team jealous. However, it has also put them in a dilemma about what to do with their young stud, Jack Johnson.

    The Indianapolis native has been a quality pick-up for the Kings, but even after signing an extension a mere 13 months ago, they may be looking to use his value to increase the front line of the team.

    GM Dean Lombardi has been reportedly shopping Johnson around seeing what offers are out there. Everything from a blockbuster move to bring in Nash to smaller moves that would see more role players up front on the squad have been examined.

    There is yet no real preference known for what to do with Johnson, but odds are, he will not be a King at the end of Monday.

Luke Schenn

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    On a Maple Leafs team that rests just on the edge of playoff contention, Schenn has been the rumored piece that will be used to add to the depth necessary to secure that spot.

    The 22-year-old defender has been an excellent player for the Leafs since he was drafted fifth over all back in 2008. However, his value on the trade market is more important to the current success of Toronto this season.

    Already heavy in the defenseman department, one of five defenseman under the age of 25 and has the potential for the most return on any deal.

    Toronto’s issues in goal are much too large for Schenn to have any direct impact on their 184 goals against, third worse in the league. If the Leafs want to make the playoffs and compete right now, their best hope is to outscore their opponent.

    Schenn has been linked with a move to the Flyers that could see them sending forward James van Riemsdyk. The move would benefit both sides, as Philadelphia needs to bolster a mediocre defense if they want to go deep in the playoffs.

Ales Hemsky

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    With Edmonton all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, defenseman Ales Hemsky has been the topic of Oilers trade talk.

    The 28-year-old winger is by no means the kind of player that can come into a franchise and make it his own. But he could be the affordable missing piece that any top playoff side needs to ensure a championship.

    In the final year of his contract, the Oilers find it more suited to cash in on his value, as an overhaul of the entire squad is needed to ensure long-term success.

    Scott Burnside of ESPN has linked Hemsky to powerhouses Boston, New York and Detroit, as well as contenders Nashville and Los Angeles.

    Each team would like to acquire him for that added depth, but each also has their hesitations. With no clear frontrunner, this may be the most interesting one to watch as the clock counts down.

Mason Raymond

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    Raymond suffered a vertebrae compression fracture in Game 6 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. Since then, he has never been able to fully regain his form, as he has only 14 points through 34 games this season.

    The Canucks are looking for nothing short of avenging their embarrassing loss to the Boston Bruins in last year’s final. They need a team right now that can do that, and unfortunately, Raymond does not fit that formula.

    At 26 years old, he still has potential to regain the form he once showed. His raw speed could be of value to a team looking to rebuild, and the fact that he is underperforming could make him a steal should he come back to his career averages.

    Faint rumors suggest Nashville, Toronto and Columbus as spots he could end up, but none hold much weight. Odds are, it could be a deadline deal, as Vancouver is not in a position to make any rash movements.

Bobby Ryan

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    Ducks forward Bobby Ryan has been one of the most interesting young names on the trading block. The second-overall pick in 2005 has averaged nearly 33 goals in his first three NHL seasons and possesses all the abilities to become the next great American player.

    With four years left on his contract, Anaheim is in no desperate need to make a move, but offers have been coming in from teams on the playoff fringe knowing that he will help now and for the future.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs were reportedly interested in bringing in the youngster, along with Ryan Getzlaf, but talks have since cooled over that as the Ducks themselves have worked their way into playoff contention.

    Still, it does not mean the deal is done. As teams assess their positions in the standings, deals will come alive again with desperation setting in.

Ryan Malone

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    One year removed from the Eastern Conference finals. The Tampa Bay Lightning seems to be treating this market as a time to sell, having already dealt Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina.

    Ryan Malone also appears to be on his way out. The 32-year-old winger is in the fourth of his seven-year contract and will most likely not be re-signing in Tampa.

    At 6’4”, 220 pounds, he is a big, strong player that can add some physicality to any team looking to bolster their forward line with some tough play.

    Toronto has most recently been linked to the forward, but nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors. However, it seems logical for a team that could use help on both ends of the ice. Given Malone’s size, he could prove valuable in the defensive zone.

Jimmy Hayes

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    Hayes has been a consistent contributor for the Blackhawks this season since he made his debut late last December. A 6'6", 220-pound winger can be a valuable asset on any team.

    However, GM Stan Bowman is looking to upgrade his side with “a top-four defenseman who can skate and move the puck well and a veteran forward, preferably a center” to ensure the success of the current squad.

    Hayes is Bowman’s most logical bargaining chip for such a move.

    Again, the Maple Leafs are rumored to be interested, with plenty of notable defenders that could meet Bowman’s criteria.

Cory Schneider

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    The Canucks back-up keeper's chances of finding ice time will be less and less as Vancouver nears the playoffs. Even though Roberto Luongo has been shaky at times, he has proven that he is the No. 1 on the team.

    Schneider has had a fairly successful season. In his 22 games, he has a GAA of 2.32, 10th best in the league, and at only 25 years old, there is time for improvement.

    Ultimately, he is being wasted sitting on the bench in Vancouver. The team would be much better off getting something out of his value.

    Rumors suggest this may be the team’s plan, with him gone before the deadline and getting some emerging prospects in return.

    The Blackhawks and Maple Leafs are both in the market for another keeper, but neither has been linked publicly to Schneider.

Who Do You Think Will Be on the Move?

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    This is just a short list of the many names out there rumored to be making a move by the trade deadline. But this is by no means the end all be all.

    So what rumors are you following? Did I miss any big names? Are any of these I listed wrong?

    Please leave your comments below to help expand this list and make it more accurate!

     

    Follow me on Twitter: @thecriterionman

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