Ranking the NHL Players Most Likely to Be Traded in 2013 Season

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

Ranking the NHL Players Most Likely to Be Traded in 2013 Season

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    The business of improving personnel is a job that never ends for NHL general managers.

    Teams will be able to make trades with each other through April 3 (source:NewYorkTimes.com).

    The 48-games season means teams will have about two and one-half months to assess their rosters before finalizing them for the stretch run.

    Teams that wait until the deadline will have about three weeks with their newest players before the postseason commences.

    Here's a look at players who are most likely to be traded.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver

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    Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said he was in no hurry to complete a Roberto Luongo trade because he did not want to get pushed into a deal without getting solid value for the goaltender (source: ESPN.com).

    However, the longer he waits to complete a deal, the greater the chance that a goalie controversy stews and festers.

    Gillis might want equal value for Luongo, but his presence might be making Cory Schneider uncomfortable.

    Schneider was designated as the team's No. 1 goalie, but he had a tough opening night against Anaheim, and trading Luongo quickly might be the only thing that makes Schneider feel better (source: Vancouver Sun).

Stephen Weiss, Florida

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    Florida center Stephen Weiss will be 2013 free agent who is earning $3.1 million (prorated) this season (source: CapGeek.com).

    Weiss, 29, has scored 20 or more goals each of the last three seasons with the Panthers. He is a valuable contributor who can play on both special teams and take a regular shift.

    The Panthers were the surprise champion of the Southeast Division last year. If they can't match that performance and find themselves on the outside looking in, getting something for Weiss makes more sense than holding on to him throughout the season and letting him leave through free agency.

Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are not that impressive on the back end.

    They lack size and are on the slow side, according to The Hockey News' 2012-13 season preview magazine.

    They could be looking for help on defense. In the case of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, it could be addition by subtraction.

    While he will occasionally put the wood to an opposing forward, Hjalmarsson is not overly physical. He is a shot blocker. The Blackhawks may want to move him for a more versatile defender before the trade deadline.

Ales Hemsky, Edmonton

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    Ales Hemsky is a veteran forward on a team with a slew of young stars.

    Hemsky has played with the Oilers since the 2002-03 season. The 29-year-old has scored as many as 71 points in a season (2007-08), but he was held to 36 points last season.

    Hemsky may no longer be one of the key players in the Oilers' scheme. Hemsky had 32 points in 27 games in a Czech league during the lockout, so he may appear valuable to another team.

Tyler Kennedy, Pittsburgh

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    Tyler Kennedy is a solid hockey player who is an asset to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    He is a third-line right wing on the Penguins, and he might be a top-six forward with a less accomplished team.

    He is an asset that the Penguins could trade if they want to improve their defense as the season moves along.

    The Penguins played terrible team defense in their first-round playoff defeat to Philadelphia last year. If general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma want to improve their defense, they could decide to trade Kennedy as the trade deadline approaches.

Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles Kings

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    Jonathan Bernier is one of the more respected backup goalies in the NHL.

    Bernier had a 2.48 goals against average in 2010-11 and followed that up with a 2.36 GAA last year.

    With Jonathan Quick set to handle a full load in goal, trading Bernier could bring the Kings a draft pick or a depth player who could help them make another run at the Stanley Cup.

    The Kings have a solid roster, but they could pick up an asset by deciding to move Bernier.