The 2012 NHL trade deadline has almost arrived and the last month has been a circus of trade rumors surrounding just about every player on a team that isn’t contending for the Stanley Cup, especially the pending free agents.
With every journalist and blogger with a keyboard trying to get an inside scoop and speculate which big name will be moved next, this time of year can turn normally level-headed reporters into TMZ-esque rumormongers who throw just about every name in hockey against the wall, hoping it sticks when the dust settles.
This leads to some ridiculous speculation over certain star players that likely won’t be traded.
So just how can we separate the big-name players who will be dealt from the star players who will stay put?
It’s not always easy, but there are ways to differentiate between the legitimate trade talks that have been reported about some players and the far-fetched rumors about other big-name players.
For example, there’s clearly some substance to the speculation that Rick Nash might be leaving Columbus by Monday, and the L.A. Kings have already proven that they’re willing to shake things up, so the trade talks surrounding Dustin Brown could be legitimate.
However, most of the other stars whose names have been thrown into the rumor mill won’t be traded at the deadline, in addition to the likes of Ales Hemsky and Tuomo Ruutu, who have already re-signed with their respective teams.
Here are 10 star players, in particular, that you likely won’t see changing teams at the deadline:
Let’s get the most obvious speculated-about star player that isn’t going anywhere out of the way early.
Zach Parise is a pending unrestricted free agent on a team that many thought might miss the playoffs early on in the season, which has generated trade rumors for the better part of six months now.
This despite the fact New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has stated numerous times that Parise is not on the trade market and the Devils plan on doing everything they can to sign him to a new contract. This was confirmed yet again just a few days ago by head coach Peter DeBoer (via the New York Post).
Don’t hold your breath if you think your team could add Parise for the stretch drive because it’s not going to happen.
Besides, the Devils are in the thick of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference themselves, so there’s no reason for them to trade away arguably their best player if their plan is to re-sign him in the offseason.
Suter is much like Parise in that he’s a pending UFA that’s also 27 years old and plays for a team that’s right in the thick of the playoff picture.
Furthermore, Suter has stated that he won’t sign a new contract until the season ends because he doesn’t want his negotiations to become a distraction, which is the same approach that Parise has taken.
If the Predators want to keep their other elite defenseman, Shea Weber, around for the long term they’re going to have to keep Suter around as well to prove to Weber that they’re committed to building a long-term winner.
At the very least, the Predators will be buyers and not sellers at the deadline, which means that Suter isn’t going anywhere.
It seems as though the Patrick Kane trade rumors have stemmed more from a bunch of Blackhawks fan bloggers who have been unhappy with his play recently than anything else.
While it’s true that the Blackhawks have struggled over the past few weeks and Kane seems to be the whipping boy for the troubles in Blackhawk nation, he’s still only 23 years and has racked up nearly 50 points in 62 games this season.
The Blackhawks organization isn’t going to panic and trade away one of the most talented young forwards in the world just because the team has gone through a minor slump.
Look for the Blackhawks to either make a minor tweak to their roster or simply stand pat at the trade deadline and play out the season with what they have.
However, if they get bounced in the first round of the playoffs for a second straight year or miss the playoffs altogether, then you might see some changes to their core over the summer.
There was a time earlier in the season where the trade rumors were flying around these three young and talented forwards. The Anaheim Ducks were losing games all over the place and many insiders thought the team was going to be blown up.
Times have changed, though.
Bruce Boudreau is now the head coach of the Ducks and they actually have one of the best records in the NHL in the 2012 calendar year. As a result, they’re back in the playoff mix and may no longer be sellers.
There is sill the occasional question raised about moving one of this trio of young stars, but most of the rumored trades have been so far-fetched that the sources of these rumors are likely not very credible.
For example, late last month a proposed trade came out that involved Corey Perry being shipped to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and Cory Schneider.
If anyone can give me a good reason why the Ducks would trade away the reigning league MVP for an underperforming forward and one of the most overpaid D-men in all of hockey then I’d like to hear it.
Granted, Anaheim would also get one of the best up-and-coming goaltenders in the NHL, but they’re not exactly in the market for a starting goaltender with Jonas Hiller under contract for two more seasons.
If these are the best the prognosticators can do as far as possible trade scenarios for these players, I don’t see any of them being dealt anytime soon, and especially not before Monday’s trade deadline.
Selanne is in a bit of a different boat than his Anaheim teammates in that he is 41 years old and is nearing the end of his career.
He also has a no-movement clause in his contract and is in no hurry to waive it now that the Ducks are back in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Even if the Ducks were out of the playoff picture, Selanne has stated many times that he wants to retire as a Duck and is probably not as anxious as some veterans to seek out a Stanley Cup contender to be traded to, simply because he’s already won the Cup.
Furthermore, Ducks GM Bob Murray has firmly stated that he will not ask Selanne to waive his no-movement clause. It will be up to Selanne to approach Murray to do so, which doesn’t seem very likely at this point.
For some reason, almost every single member of the media that covers the NHL automatically assumes the Phoenix Coyotes will be sellers at the trade deadline, simply because their ownership situation is up in the air.
While you can’t expect a league-operated team to spend right up to the salary cap ceiling and go after players like Rick Nash, the Coyotes are also currently leading their division and should probably be buyers at the deadline rather than sellers.
But when you combine the Coyotes' financial hardships with the fact that both Ray Whitney and Shane Doan are very good veteran offensive talents that are also pending UFAs, it’s inevitable that their names will be tossed around in trade rumors.
Doan, in particular, will almost certainly remain in Phoenix for the remainder of the season as he has a no-movement clause and would like to stay put.
Of course, a lot of that will be dictated by the possible relocation of the franchise, but for now it looks as though he’ll remain a Coyote and continue to fight for a playoff spot along with Whitney and the rest of his teammates.
The final star player that almost certainly won’t be moved at the deadline, despite the speculation, is Paul Stastny.
At just 26 years old, Stastny is arguably the best player on the Colorado Avalanche and seems to have been tossed out as trade bait for the teams that lose out on the Nash sweepstakes.
First of all, why would a team that is building towards the future trade away a player that’s just entering his prime and still has two years left on his contract?
Secondly, the asking price for a player like Stastny would likely be too high for most teams when you consider his age and contract status.
The Avs would likely want close to the same return as what the Columbus Blue Jackets are asking or Nash, but they’re not going to get it because Stastny is just not at the same level as Nash. He also has a high enough salary to make it very difficult for a contending team to find a way to fit him under the cap ceiling at the last minute.
The contenders that are looking to add a top-six forward are more likely to settle on one of the speculated Dallas Stars forwards like Mike Ribeiro or Brenden Morrow, who make less money and won’t command as much of a return as Stastny would.
As a result, Stastny will stay put in Colorado, just like the nine other star players on this list will stay put with their respective NHL teams.