In this shortened season, look for the NHL trade market to get heated up early. With games coming in rapid succession, and each one carrying more value (since there are fewer of them), it is important for general managers to get a core croup of players and give them time to gel.
The trade deadline is not until April 3, but teams aren't going to wait this year.
Here are some of the rumors on moves already being discussed.
A top center with an expiring contract on a cash-poor team is always going to generate plenty of interest. Which leads us to Stephen Weiss—he is not likely to be on the Panthers at the end of this season.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch explains:
There is talk C Stephen Weiss, a UFA on July 1, will be gone before the deadline because the Panthers don't have the cash to sign him.
Weiss is an excellent goal scorer and playmaker. He will be an instant offensive upgrade for plenty of teams, and I'd be shocked if there weren't already teams launching exploratory talks about acquiring the forward.
Of course, this means the Panthers are dealing from a position of power.
The Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators would all be a nice home for Weiss. These are teams that could use the boost on offense yet still have legitimate playoff hopes this year.
Look for the Panthers to get a bidding war going before dealing Weiss.
The Phoenix Coyotes appear to be ready to part with star defenseman Keith Yandle.
The Fourth Period reports that the team is already listening to offers:
In Phoenix, the Coyotes are fielding calls for All-Star Keith Yandle, who has three-years left on his contract beyond this season with an annual salary cap hit of $5.25 million.
It is no surprise Yandle is drawing interest. He is an excellent two-way player and a proven winner.
Of course, this means the Coyotes aren't going to be overly thrilled to trade him. However, they do have young David Rundblad ready to take his spot in the lineup, and this team needs help on offense.
Yandle is not going to be cheap, but if a team can offer a nice offensive player, the Coyotes could very well be tempted to move him.
At some point, Jarome Iginla is going to the Philadelphia Flyers, right? Over the seasons, there have been so many rumors surrounding this move that there has to be something to them.
Comcast Sports Net's Tim Panaccio cranks up the rumor on twitter.
At 35, Iginla's best days are behind him. However, he is still a very capable offensive player. This would be a welcomed sight in Philadelphia where the Flyers are 24th in goals per game. They have to do something to bolster that attack, and Iginla isn't going to take a ransom to acquire.
Panaccio noted in a piece that the Flyers would likely have to part with the young and talented Scott Laughton.
This would be the ultimate win now move. We'll see if the Flyers will feel bold enough to pull the trigger.