NHL Trade Speculation: Bobby Ryan and the Best Scorers Who Could Be Dealt

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIMay 8, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: Bobby Ryan and the Best Scorers Who Could Be Dealt

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    After seeing the No. 8-seeded Los Angeles Kings post an unprecedented 8-1 record after two rounds of playoff hockey, every NHL team will storm into 2013 looking for Stanley Cup playoff success. 

    Come July 1st, the two hottest names on the market—Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan—will officially be open for a trade.

    While the Olympic standouts Nash and Ryan are exciting for NHL fans to scrounge rumors about, here are the best goal scorers who could be wearing a new team uniform come this offseason... 

Best Options for Bobby Ryan

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    Whether he's actually traded or not, Bobby Ryan is guaranteed to make $5.1 million over the next four years. 

    However, seeing as how he was frequently demoted to the second and third lines for the Pacific Division's weakest team in Anaheim, it's clear the Ducks are ready to focus on reigning MVP Corey Perry and part ways with Ryan. 

    Ryan has incredible, American-born talent posting three 30-goal seasons in just four full NHL seasons and is likely to end up in another NHL uniform following the cup finals. 

    His most popular destinations include Nashville, Toronto, Buffalo and the current cup contenders in New York, according to a tweet by Hockey Break back in January.

    If Nashville can miraculously hold onto Ryan Suter and land Bobby Ryan coming this offseason, the Predators would be incredible Stanley Cup contenders going into 2013. The Predators defense would be anchored by superstars Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter, while Bobby Ryan could finally be given the role of a franchise's No. 1 scoring threat. 

Paul Stastny

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    Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny has been a consistent 20-goal scorer for the past six seasons and would be a great fit for a young, flowering offense elsewhere in the NHL. 

    According to The Fourth Period, the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs are the teams that have showed the most interest in Paul Stastny—both serving a perfect home for the 26-year-old.

    The Panthers are fresh off their first playoff victory since 1996 and are in desperate need of a consistent offensive spark.

    While he would be a good fit on the beach in Florida, the Maple Leafs would benefit more from acquiring Stastny. In Toronto, Stastny would create more balance for All-Star's Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel—a transition that could prove to be a deciding factor in finally vaulting the Maple Leafs into the playoffs.  

San Jose Sharks Snipers in Rick Nash Deal

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    According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Blue Jackets originally targeted the Sharks' budding star in Logan Couture in exchange for Olympic gold-medal winner Rick Nash. Columbus could also find interest in Antti Niemi after GM Scott Howson voiced his displeasure about the current goaltending situation (via The Columbus Dispatch).

    Other than the potential Nash deal, the front office in San Jose has not mentioned trading either Joe Pavelski or Patrick Marleau.

    Pavelski and Marleau couldn't be more polar opposite in terms of a franchise player—"Little Joe" has evolved into a clutch goal scorer for the Sharks in recent history while future Hall of Fame center Patrick Marleau is nearing the end of his career.

    Marleau is a proven leader having captained the Sharks to their first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history. However, the much younger Pavelski is a more long-term threat for the Blue Jackets.  

    Trading the truly prolific sniper for a goalie just off a terrible playoff performance would not be a wise choice for the Blue Jackets. However, if they can talk Sharks GM Doug Wilson into letting go of either Marleau or Pavelski along with the Finnish netminder Niemi, the former first overall draft pick could very well be headed for his first 50-goal season in San Jose.  

Ryan Kesler

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    The extremely angry Canucks fans placed a large part of the blame for their Stanley Cup blunder on their All-Star winger Ryan Kesler. However, the injury-prone American is poised and ready for a consistent comeback. 

    Kesler racked up just 49 points in 77 games this season for the Canucks—a major disappointment after finishing the 2010-11 campaign with 41 goals and 32 assists in all 82 regular-season games.

    Seeing as how the Canucks are built around the untouchable Sedin twins and their pal Alexandre Burrows, the club should seriously consider adding Kesler to their potential trade list.   

Jordan Staal

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    Like Kesler, Staal is a very surprising name to see in the trade rumors—but the simple reality will land on "straight cash, homie."

    Following their 2012 playoff bust, the mighty Penguins of Pittsburgh will have to renegotiate the contracts of both Staal and captain Sidney Crosby. Crosby is currently making around $8.7 million per year while Staal collects $4 million. 

    The Penguins accounting department is without a doubt willing to spend to keep Crosby in Pittsburg. However, following his team-leading playoff performance in Round 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jordan Staal will also be looking to take home a large contract.  

    Since Staal was the Penguins' leading scorer in the first round against the incredible performance of the Philadelphia Flyers, other teams are sure to show extremely generous interest in Staal's terrific two-way playmaking ability come July 1st.