NHL Trade Rumors: 6 Deadline Deals That Would Change the Playoff Picture
We're three days away from the NHL Trade Deadline and the ball is finally rolling. The Los Angeles Kings acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, marking the first high-profile trade made so far this season.
This move may pave the way for others to be made as teams are trying to solidify their respective rosters for a playoff push. This is the time where few playoff spots are safe and things really get shaken up.
These six potential moves will really jumble up the standings as some lower teams will begin to infiltrate the top eight spots.
6. Johnny Oduya to the Chicago Blackhawks
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The Chicago Blackhawks started this season on a tear and were heading into the All-Star break with one of the top spots in the Western Conference. However, they hit a snag and fell into a well-documented nine-game losing streak.
The Blackhawks are in serious need of another defenseman as their biggest problem has been stopping other teams from scoring. They have the offensive weapons in Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews (when healthy) and Patrick Sharp, but have had trouble in the defensive zone.
Reports indicate that the Blackhawks have been interested in Winnipeg Jets defenseman Johnny Oduya, as they had scouts at last Friday's Jets-Bruins game. Oduya can provide some extra physicality in the defensive zone and also help at the blue line.
Oduya would really solidify the Chicago defense and help the Blackhawks advance in the standings back up to where they once were.
5. James Van Riemsdyk to the Colorado Avalanche
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The Colorado Avalanche currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference but are only two points behind the eighth-seeded Dallas. Colorado has been a relatively mediocre team as of late (as illustrated by their current seeding in the West).
Colorado could really be aided by Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk, who the Avs have been reportedly contacting the Flyers about. It is unclear if the Avalanche have what Philly desires in return for their young forward, but Colorado really needs another spark on offense, and JVR could really thrive from a change in scenery.
4. Ales Hemsky to the Boston Bruins
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The Bruins have come across tough times as of late with the losses of forwards Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton. Now with only a two-point lead on Ottawa in the Northeast Division, Boston has its sights set on potentially adding another forward.
The B's have shown interest in a few bigger-name players like Edmonton's Ales Hemsky. Hemsky is a guy that could bring some of what the Bruins lack without Horton and Peverley. Players like Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand will have to carry some of the burden now, but Hemsky could really help put the puck in the net.
If the Bruins want to make a push for the top seed in the East, they will need to make sure they don't lose ground, and Hemsky could make sure they don't do that.
3. Steve Ott to the Philadelphia Flyers
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Although the Philadelphia Flyers lead the league in scoring, they have not been playing some of their best hockey lately. A 2-0 loss to Edmonton on Thursday night could be slightly alarming for the fifth-seeded Flyers.
In order to push above the Devils and Pens in the standings, the Flyers need to shake things up a little. Although their goalie woes have been well-documented, a player like Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott could be a great fit in the city of brotherly love. Ott is a very physical player and matches the Flyers' style of play.
The Flyers have been rumored to be interested in the Stars center, who is now apparently available. The Flyers have a lot of young talent to offer the Stars in return to make such a deal happen (and happen quickly).
2. Dustin Brown to the New York Rangers
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The Los Angeles Kings have reportedly made their captain Dustin Brown available, and he will attract many suitors. The New York Rangers are interested and are in need of some added offense that they lack this season.
The Rangers have relied on their solid defense and elite goaltending all year and it has worked as shown by their first-place seed and seven point lead on Boston and New Jersey. However, when playoff time rolls around, the Rangers are going to need some additional offense as they continually face top competition.
With Brown on the market and Rick Nash demanding a lot in return, the Rangers may soon decide Brown is a better option. The Rangers will want to make sure they keep their distance above the rest of the Eastern Conference, and Brown could make sure that happens.
1. Rick Nash to the Toronto Maple Leafs
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The most coveted player on the market, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is obviously going to require a lot in return in a trade. However, it will come down to whichever team is willing to give up the most. Toronto's General Manager Brian Burke has been known to make great moves to help out his team. He knows what it takes.
Toronto currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and every game is crucial coming down to the wire. In order to ensure they get into the playoffs, Toronto may need to make a play for Nash. Toronto is interested, and Nash has said he would go to the Leafs.
Rick Nash would be the forward that Toronto hasn't seen since Mats Sundin and would be a great complement to Phil Kessel. This move should make sure Toronto sneaks into the playoffs and could make them a dangerous team moving forward.