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Calgary: Sven Bartschi
With both of their franchise cornerstones—from Calgary's run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals—aging, the Flames have been praying for a young forward in their system to emerge as a legitimate top-six guy, and it looks like the team may finally have that in 2011 first-rounder Sven Bartschi.
Since being drafted, the young Swiss sniper impressed the Flames enough to earn a five-game call-up last season, and he didn't disappoint, notching three goals on a Calgary team that struggled mightily in the scoring department. Going forward, Bartschi is one of the only Flames prospects that will garner a desirable return, because outside of superstars turned elder statesmen Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, the team is relatively light on talent.
Colorado: Ryan O'Reilly
Up front, the Avalanche have a number of impressive fresh-faced forwards, headlined by newly-minted captain Gabriel Landeskog and All-Star Matt Duchene, but it was 21-year-old center Ryan O'Reilly that lead the team in scoring last season as he tallied 55 points.
With three full NHL seasons under his belt, O'Reilly is already among the game's best two-way centerman, but after his entry-level deal expired, GM Greg Sherman was unable to ink him to an extension prior to the lockout. Now, with O'Reilly ready to sign a big-money contract with term, the Avs may be unable to keep him with centers Duchene and Paul Stastny already signed to expensive long-term deals.
If they can't come to an agreement soon after the work stoppage ends, Sherman could shop O'Reilly and receive a return similar to what Boston got from the Leafs when they traded Phil Kessel in 2009, which was two first-rounders and a second round pick.
Edmonton: Justin Schultz
Obviously, the Oilers have the most impressive group of young forwards in the game, with the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall in their arsenal. Outside of them, Edmonton also has Justin Schultz, the former Anaheim Ducks draftee that spurned them to sign a free agent deal with the Oil last summer.
At this point, Schultz is probably untouchable, but he's not completely off-limits to the point that all four of their young star forwards are. If he were to be available, Schultz would undoubtedly fetch an elite established veteran player, because as he's shown in the AHL with Oklahoma City this season, he's on his way to being a star.
Minnesota: Mikael Granlund
Easily the Wild's top prospect, Mikael Granlund cannot be attained for anything less than a legitimate star, and even then it's unclear if Minnesota would deal him. Granlund appears to have all the tools to be an offensive force in the NHL and has the talent to usurp Mikko Koivu as Minnesota's top center.
However, with high-priced veterans Dany Heatley, Ryan Suter, Devin Setoguchi, Zach Parise and Koivu in the fold, Granlund would certainly be an asset other teams would be drooling at the prospect of acquiring.
Vancouver: Cory Schneider
Okay, so it was Roberto Luongo, not Cory Schneider that had whispers circulating around him with regards to his future with the team this summer. Luongo will almost certainly be gone soon after the work stoppage ends, which will make Schneider the team's unquestioned No. 1.
Until Luongo is gone though, the former Boston College standout is Vancouver's most valuable trade asset. That's because in Schneider, the Canucks have one of the league's most promising young goaltenders, and at this point, he's done enough during his time as Luongo's understudy to be considered a legitimate No. 1 goaltender.
Just ask Mike Gillis.