The NHL free-agent frenzy, as the league began calling the initial signing period in 2012, is dying down.
It is a basic scientific principle that a void will be filled. Thus, all the conversation revolving around Zach Parise and Ryan Suter has to be replaced with something. Their signing with Minnesota opens the door for not only the media and fans but the league's general managers to turn their attention elsewhere.
This story is at risk of becoming the NHL's version of the annual Brett Favre/Roger Clemens will-he/won't-he retire talk the NFL and MLB have gone through in recent years. What started as trade deadline buzz has lived on for almost five months now.
Please make it stop.
I am talking to you, Scott Howson. No one is going to pay you with a younger player who is a sure-fire star in exchange for a forward who has played four playoff games.
There are several reasons to pursue an alternative to Nash, but perhaps most telling is this look inside the numbers that indicates the forward may be overrated. That is one of the reasons my first choice for a trade is Bobby Ryan.
Nevertheless, Nash is slightly better right now, and thus the best forward available through free agency or a trade. The Sharks need to upgrade at forward and appear unwilling to use even second-level free agents.
Hence the trade buzz continues. Opposing GMs simply must know that while literally everyone on the Sharks roster can be traded if the return is right (who couldn't be lost in exchange for Evgeni Malkin?), here are five players who are almost entirely off-limits, in no particular order...