NHL draft weekend is about much more than which young prospect goes No. 1.
More than ever, it's also the start of summer's active trading season. Midway between the awarding of the Stanley Cup and the opening of free agency, draft weekend draws all 30 teams together and gives them a chance to speak one-on-one about the changes they hope to make.
It’s a real busy time for trades and everything else because as we’ve all learned trades are real difficult to make during the season now. What you find is that GMs are far more forthcoming in terms of talking about what they want to do with other clubs [in the offseason]...
Now most teams say, "Listen, I’m deep here or there, and I’m trying to move this for that." Guys are much more open about what they want to do, to get the message out to other clubs because this is the time to deal.
Here's a look at 12 current NHL players who are most likely to find themselves with new addresses by the end of the draft.
Here's Monday's quote from TSN Radio, via Nash expert Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:
Aaron Portzline tells TSN 1050, that the odds are "pretty good" that Rick Nash gets dealt by the NHL Draft
— TSN Radio (@TSN1050Radio) June 18, 2012
Larry Brooks of the New York Post thinks the New York Rangers are still front-runners, but he points out that other teams are deep in the mix and that now more than ever, the Rangers won't part with Chris Kreider.
Jackets' GM Scott Howson needs to bring this saga to an end. Pitting several teams against each other with a definite deadline is the best way to maximize his return.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not made the playoffs for seven consecutive years, since before the 2003-04 lockout.
Once again, they're in desperate need of fresh blood or, at the very least, fresh hope.
The Leafs need help at forward and in net. They're deep on the back end, with six D signed for next year and RFA Cody Franson looking like he'll re-sign.
The Leafs can afford to move a defenseman to facilitate an upgrade at another position. This option might be particularly enticing to the Edmonton Oilers if they decide to deal their No. 1 pick.
Of the Leafs' incumbents, Luke Schenn is the most logical choice for a trade. He's overpaid for what he's brought to the table so far, but he's also young with considerable upside.
The Leafs would love to get a team to bite on Mike Komisarek's $4.5 million-a-year cap hit, but that's unlikely. And they'll be reluctant to deal Jake Gardiner, who blossomed into a very promising NHLer last season.
Brian Burke likes to make a splash at the draft. If he does, expect to see Schenn as the centerpiece of his deal.
Mike Gillis has said in the past that he'd rather take his time and make the best deal, but his leverage will decrease after July 1, especially if the Canucks have not yet agreed to terms with Cory Schneider on his new contract.
If Luongo's gone and Schneider knows he'll be the undisputed No. 1, that would likely make the negotiation a whole lot smoother.
The scuttlebutt changes daily about cities that might find a home for Luongo. There are numerous teams who'd kill for the services of a big-time goaltender, and with every passing season, Luongo's $5.33 million cap hit becomes less onerous.
If Gillis has laid his groundwork effectively, we'll see a Luongo deal this weekend.
Sidney Crosby is now healthy and going into the last year of his contract. Despite his injury history and the fact that he's likely un-insurable, the consensus is that Ray Shero needs to give Sid whatever he wants. He also needs to do it soon, since no one knows how contract terms will be regulated under the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Staal's contract is also up at the end of next season. If he has a healthy Crosby and Malkin playing ahead of him in Pittsburgh, he's in a tough spot.
Staal is a solid two-way player. He was a Selke Trophy finalist in 2010 and won a Stanley Cup in 2009. He's only 23, but with six years of NHL experience already under his belt, the Penguins are one season away from potentially losing him as a UFA.
A team who could afford to re-sign Staal and let him play a bigger role would be well-advised to make a play for him at the draft this weekend.
The honeymoon is over in Winnipeg. No longer is it enough to simply ice a team, or even to ice a team that wins at home.
After missing their playoffs in the first year back in Canada, fans are now asking for Jets' management to give them a team that can contend.
Kane has had some bumps on the road on the way to his first 30-goal season. Bleacher Report's Sierra Marie Martinez has a comprehensive look at why he might not want to come back.
If it looks like it will be a struggle for the Jets to re-sign him, Kevin Cheveldayoff should do everything possible to try to move him to the highest bidder before July 1.
In the end, Calgary finished ninth in the Western Conference and missed the postseason for the third straight year.
Miikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla are the last symbols of the Flames' 2004 Stanley Cup Final appearance. Both are now 35. There's always speculation that they might be moved, but they're the heartbeat of the franchise.
Jay Bouwmeester is a much likelier target. At 28, he has a lot of life left in him.
Most would argue that he's overpaid on his current deal—two years remaining at a cap hit of $6.68 million a year. And some would suggest that the reason he's the NHL Ironman is because he doesn't use his big body the way an NHL defenseman should.
Bouwmeester hasn't reached his potential yet, but he could have another 10 productive years in the league. The Flames would like to unload his salary, and there are other teams looking for help on the blue line who wouldn't mind adding this enigma to their roster.
Much like the Flames, the Anaheim Ducks have been on a downward spiral since their Stanley Cup win in 2007.
Much like this year's Kings, they were said to have it all back then—big talented bodies up front, a crushing defense and top-notch goaltending.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere's days as a world-class netminder are long gone. Niedermayer's retired, and Pronger's a Flyer who hasn't played for a year. Selanne and Koivu are tiptoeing towards the end of their careers.
But the Ducks' core of young studs remains in the O.C.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are each making $5.3 million in the last year of their contracts before unrestricted free agency. Perry has had more individual success, so if the Ducks had to choose, they'd probably prefer to try to move Getzlaf.
At 27, he's the same age as Rick Nash. He has a cup ring, and a suitor wouldn't be locked into a suffocating long-term deal.
Getzlaf and Perry would have value on the trade market. So would Bobby Ryan—he's two years younger, and his deal runs two years longer.
The Ducks need to re-stock their pond, and a draft-day trade would be a great way to do it.
Derek Roy is a less glamorous—and much smaller—version of Getzlaf.
Roy stands 5'9" and 188 pounds, while Getzlaf is listed at 6'4" and 221. Despite the difference in their stature, and though Roy is two years older, the pair have actually put up remarkably similar numbers in their NHL careers.
In 549 NHL games, Roy has logged 161 goals and 266 assists for 427 points. Getzlaf has played 512 games, with 137 goals and 335 assists for 472 points. Getzlaf does have about 50 percent more penalty minutes.
Buffalo was a big wheeler-dealer at last year's draft, as they burned through their new owner's money while acquiring Christian Ehrhoff, Robyn Regehr and Ville Leino. But the moves didn't pay off, and the Sabres regressed to missing the playoffs for the third time in five years.
The roster as a whole underperformed, so Roy shouldn't shoulder more blame than anyone else. But he's a solid trade target—an offensive center with explosive potential down the middle and a reasonable cap hit of $4 million for just one year.
Plenty of teams might be interested in taking a gamble on a player like Roy at this year's draft.
If this was the National Shootout League, Linus Omark would probably be a top ten player.
Sadly for him, there's more to life in the NHL, and on an Edmonton Oilers team chockablock with talented young guns, Omark hasn't found a way to make himself indispensable.
The 25-year-old Omark has reached the end of his entry-level contract and is set to become a restricted free agent. He's an old man among the Oilers, who need to re-sign 22-year-old Sam Gagner this summer and have just one more year to deal with the fates of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall.
Playing just 14 games with Edmonton in 2011-12, Omark took a step backwards.
With all their young talent, something's gotta give. Rumour has it that Steve Tambellini would rather trade Omark than give him a new contract. If the Oilers make a deal for their first overall pick, could Omark be bundled into that package?
Keith Ballard is a bit of a whipping boy in Vancouver.
His biggest crime is not his fault. It's that Mike Gillis gave up a lot to acquire him during draft week in 2010. Gillis got caught on the wrong end of an auction that saddled the Canucks with a $4.2 million cap hit till 2015 in exchange for former first-rounder Michael Grabner, former first-rounder Steve Bernier and another first-round draft choice.
Ballard's second crime is that he arrived in Vancouver as damaged goods. After playing all 82 games in four of the previous five seasons, Ballard underwent surgery a month before his trade to Vancouver to repair a stress fracture and remove a cyst in his hip.
Ballard's healthy now, but he simply hasn't fit into Alain Vigneault's framework. His style is a little too loose for the systematic coach, and as such, despite his big contract, he's never really advanced higher than the third defensive pairing with the Canucks.
Ballard might thrive in a different role with a different team. At this juncture, his salary is not prohibitive.
If Vancouver can find a taker—perhaps in a package with Roberto Luongo—expect Ballard to find a ticket out of town on draft day.
Zbynek Michalek is the same age as Keith Ballard, 29. He makes about the same money—in his case, his cap hit is $4 million a year till 2015. And he's never been out of the first round of the playoffs.
After the Penguins' horrendous defensive performance against Philadelphia in the playoffs this year, Pittsburgh might need to stop worrying about Sidney Crosby's contract for a moment. They need to give some thought to how they're going to revamp their back end.
If they're looking for salary relief, Michalek could be a good target to move as they try to change their defensive chemistry.
Just one year after winning the Stanley Cup and being the hero of Beantown, Thomas has made enough personal missteps to destroy his reputation for good.
Thomas turned 38 this spring. It's unlikely he'll be the Bruins' goalie of the future after his sabbatical. Boston may as well see if they can shed the salary in a draft weekend trade.