NHL Trade Deadline: 5 Players Teams Must Re-Sign or Trade

Harry Orbach MillerContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline: 5 Players Teams Must Re-Sign or Trade

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    With the NHL trade deadline arriving tomorrow afternoon, teams will be forced to make decisions that could alter the futures of their respective franchises. This is where pending free-agents make deciding that much more difficult.

    Many teams in playoff positions have key players who leave for nothing, but want to keep them for the playoff run. Others are trying to secure a playoff berth and the impending free agent may be necessary for their success.

    So trade and receive value or have your players potentially leave for nothing?

    This is the question that will be haunting general managers tonight, especially when it comes to these players.

Mikhail Grabovski, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The Leafs are in a interesting position this year. With Grabovski, the Leafs have a strong chance to make the playoffs. Without Grabovski, they have a great chance to play some golf in mid-April.

    The issue is that Grabovski is looking for a contract paying him north of five million per year. If the Leafs can get a first-round pick and a decent prospect in return, it could make sense to let another team overpay him. 

    Regardless, one thing is clear, the Leafs cannot lose him for nothing. Trade him and get value or pay the man. It's Brian Burke's choice now.

Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders

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    With the Islanders currently sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, it seems obvious that they assume the role of "seller" come tomorrow's deadline. This is where upcoming free-agent Evgeni Nabokov comes in.

    Many teams would love to acquire a veteran goaltender to help with their playoff push. The Islanders also want to keep their best goalie.

    Nabokov could fetch a good return if the Islanders choose to trade him.

    This return could make it worth the Islanders going into next season with uncertainty between the pipes, but only if they can't re-sign him. 

Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals

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    This season, the Washington Capitals find themselves in unfamiliar territory at this time of year. They are used being one of the top three teams in the conference and adding players on deadline day to gear up for another long playoff run.

    This year is a little different. The Capitals currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a very good chance at making the playoffs. 

    However, it is clear that this year's team will not be going on a long playoff run. 

    If the Capitals don't think they can re-sign Semin, or frankly don't want to, there will be teams who could use a player with Semin's talent to help push them over the edge. 

Shea Weber + Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators

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    Boy, are the Nashville Predators in a tough situation.

    On one hand, they have two All-Star defencemen and appear primed to contend in the playoffs this year.

    On the other is that they have two All-Star defencemen who are both free agents at seasons end; one of which could leave without any compensation going to Nashville.

    If the Nashville Predators feel that they are unable to re-sign their stars then they must trade them. Having them leave during the off-season without getting fair compensation would devastate the franchise and fan base. One playoff run isn't worth five years rebuilding. 

    Along with the rest of the league, the Nashville Predators have some decisions to make. Theirs just might be the toughest.