Perhaps it's difficult to assume that any player would want to be traded to any team unless he says so specifically, yet there's no denying that there are some extremely attractive hockey markets offered up by the NHL. History, talent and a winning reputation are on the side of several hockey teams and cities, thus players will target them for those reasons alone.
When free agency, trade talks and even simply when a player becomes discontented where they are, there are certain places around the league that everyone knows hockey players want to be. These destinations more often than not come up in rumors and discussions about where a player might want to be traded or signed to.
It's not a bad thing, and as younger hockey markets develop and remain competitive, there's definitely an attractiveness and draw from the NHL cities with historic success and a deeply rooted hockey culture.
Even with a fairly rigid salary cap, the NHL has turned out teams that seem to be almost chronically successful. These clubs see year after year of playoff appearances, and are always considered to be the best locations for older players seeking a trade so that they can take one last shot at a Stanley Cup.
Players come and go, but somehow skill always seems to stay at a high level with these clubs. It's not to say that they're always solid, and the less prestigious franchises always falter; however, there is a certain mystique and "seniority" that the bigger hockey market teams possess, which makes for even greater competition and more exciting hockey from the fan's perspective.
Combine this with the history and hockey pristine a certain team and city may have, and you have an ideal destination for hockey players of any level. If we can't say that "every" player would want to play for one of these teams, we could certainly say a lot of them do, and that not too many would complain if they had the chance.
From Pavel Bure to Markus Nasland and now with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks have been a highly offensive and competitive team from the late 1990s on through the 2005 lockout.
Considering also that they are able to call one of the most iconic Canadian hockey cities their home, this is one of the greatest places in the world to be a hockey player.
The Canucks might just be hitting their stride too, as they won the President's trophy last year as the team with the league's best record, before they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings. However, there's no question that the Canucks are a powerful force in the NHL, and will continue to be for years to come.
Even if you ignore their history as one of the original six teams, and the incredible hockey environment that is the Boston area, the Boston Bruins are emerging as an incredibly competitive force in the eastern conference.
Any player would be happy to play in front of or alongside Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin. The Bruins aren't just good now with a recent Stanley Cup championship in hand, rather, they're set up for success moving forward with young stars and an excellent farm system.
Whether it's at the hands Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, or Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins have spent little time over the past two decades struggling for goal scoring. The Penguins are a longstanding offensive team, with a ton of talent and an incredibly enthusiastic fan base.
Add the excitement of an in-state rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers, and you have a hockey team in Pittsburgh with a genuine appeal and a lot to offer its players.
Wayne Gretzky almost single-handedly put the Los Angeles Kings on the map, and ultimately made the hockey marketable in southern California. The Kings have never turned back, and capped off their unlikely rise to the top last year with a convincing Stanley Cup finals victory over the New Jersey Devils, their first in franchise history.
The Kings are riding high right now, and if there are any hockey players who don't like the cold when they're not at the rink, southern California should certainly hold some additional appeal.
The Winnipeg Jets have a rich history, as well as one of the most enthusiastic fan bases known to the hockey world. The evident hockey culture surrounding the city of Winnipeg is enough to lure just about any player, and the talent is certainly there for a bright and promising future.
Players on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster are privileged to play in the city that houses the hockey hall of fame, and is essentially the hockey capitol of the world.
While the Maple Leafs have had a long and somewhat disappointing decade, GM Brian Burke has made a lot of progress with the team as they're once again in the playoff talk of the eastern conference.
Certainly there are still pieces to be added, but with the appeal and hockey culture of Toronto, finding those pieces shouldn't be a problem.
The New York Rangers were the top team in the Eastern conference a year ago, and with the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, they're likely to continue to compete for that spot for a long time.
They play in one of the biggest cities in the world, and they're far enough north that the hockey market doesn't get overshadowed by football and baseball.
While there's no question that hockey players need to share the spotlight in Manhattan, a talented team means there's plenty of spotlight to go around.
The New Jersey Devils are a long-standing defensive powerhouse, and they proved that they're not going away by making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals last year.
Losing Zach Parise hurts and Martin Brodeur is nearing retirement age, but the Devils have proven to be a competitive franchise year-to-year, and to that end, you can bet that Ilya Kovalchuk didn't sign his life away there for any other reason.
The offseason acquisition of free agency's two most coveted prizes thrust the Minnesota Wild into the forefront of western conference playoff talk. Adding Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu makes the Wild an instant contender and puts them in an exciting position where hopes are high and fans are expecting great things.
Throw in an incredible hockey town with the history of the Minnesota North Stars, and you've got yourself one fantastic hockey market. If there are any players out there the Wild could still afford, you can bet those players would be interested.
To find a time in the world of professional hockey were the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs, you have to go back to the 1989-90 season. It's an incredible run to say the least and it's proven that Hockeytown knows how to turn out a competitive club year after year.
Any player would be happy to play here simply because of that winning reputation. If you go to Detroit, you know you're going to see some playoff action and have a shot at a deep run.
Shrewd drafting and smart free agent signings have kept the Red Wings identity intact year after year, and they show no signs of slowing down. Even with the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit will continue to be a playoff-caliber hockey team and one of the most hockey-friendly cities in the country.