The NHL is officially back in business once again, and as the fans gear up for the 2013 regular season opening day on Jan. 13, the latest trade rumors from across the league are heating up.
With huge names like Roberto Luongo, Keith Yandle and Jonathan Bernier all rumored to be on the move, the excitement over the shifting landscape of the NHL is what makes the trade talk so interesting.
All of the following players have been rumored to be on the trading block, and this is where the latest talk has them landing in 2013.
Jonathan Bernier, G, Los Angeles Kings
After watching Jonathan Quick steal the show as the No. 1 goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings last season, 24-year-old backup Jonathan Bernier’s future is still just as bright as it was before.
Bernier must now find a new home if he wants to be a starter in the NHL, and the Kings are trying to do everything they can to accommodate the goalie’s desire to be No. 1 on a team's depth chart.
According to TheFourthPeriod.com, the Kings are actively shopping the backup goaltender:
Kings backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier could finally get his wish this season and get traded out of Los Angeles, though a deal might come sooner than later. Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been looking to trade Bernier since the early part of last season, when the young netminder requested to be moved...Several teams, including the New Jersey Devils, are believed to have inquired about Bernier's availability.
Los Angeles will be looking for help on defense, and whichever team finally decides to get serious about acquiring Bernier will have to give up a second-pairing defender at the very least. With the young goalie's age, the Kings could likely get even more.
Keith Yandle, D, Phoenix Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes will be a contender in the Western Conference once again this season, but if the team falters during the shortened schedule for any reason, they will be forced to make moves and to add more offensive prowess.
A deal to add offense will likely mean dealing a defender, possibly even Keith Yandle.
Sarah McLellan of Arizona Central is reporting that while the need for a scoring forward could force the team’s hand, they will not be giving away the franchise’s best players:
It's also no secret this team has a need for offensive help, particularly up the middle.— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) January 13, 2013
But if a core piece is going to be sacrificed for that, like a Yandle, it would merit a sizable return.— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) January 13, 2013
Phoenix already has a plethora of young stars on the blue line, and if dealing an All-Star defender like Yandle will add even more future talent to the top lines of the Coyotes, that’s a move the team must consider making.
As hard as it will be to part with a consistent talent like Yandle, Phoenix would have to pull the trigger on a deal for two or more highly-rated offensive prospects; the team is just that thin at forward.
Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks
The biggest name on the trade market to start the 2013 season is Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. After yielding the starting job to Cory Schneider last season, Luongo has become the odd-man out and will be dealt as soon as the right deal is reached, according to Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun.
There have been many teams rumored to be part of a trade—TheFourthPeriod.com is reporting that teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks have all kicked the tires on a possible deal—but nothing has panned out so far.
One of the most surprising rumors surrounding Luongo came from James Duthie of TSN, who confirms previous reports that the Philadelphia Flyers are interested in a blockbuster deal:
Despite some denials, the tweet earlier from @enricociccone is accurate.The Flyers are interested in Roberto Luongo.— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) January 10, 2013
While the odds of Philadelphia getting Roberto Luongo are small, the fact that this many organizations are considering the veteran netminder means that he will be dealt sooner rather than later.
Vancouver needs to add youth to the roster, and any trade for Luongo will be built off a base of talented prospects that could make the Canucks better for years to come.