The 2013 lockout-shortened NHL regular season is more than a quarter of the way over, meaning that slow-starting teams are running out of time to shake things up and climb up the standings.
Many teams and players have been the subject of rumors since the season began last month, but with contenders beginning to distance themselves from the pretenders, NHL general managers are working hard to improve or tweak their rosters in hopes of hoisting the coveted Stanley Cup at season's end.
Below we'll track some of the latest buzz surrounding the NHL this February.
Flames Counting on Karri Ramo?
The Calgary Flames are off to a slow start this season, thanks in large part to their 26th ranking in goals allowed, surrendering 3.3 per game. Neither Leland Irving (2.93 GAA) nor Miikka Kiprusoff (3.23 GAA) have found much success in the crease.
But now Calgary is down to Irving as Kiprusoff is out nursing a knee injury. But there's some good news for Flames fans.
NHL Network hockey insider Chris Johnston tweets that former NHL goalie Karri Ramo is interesting in returning to the league in 2013-14:
Goalie Karri Ramo is an option for #flames next year. He's currently 26-8-4 for KHL's Avangard Omsk and interested in returning to the NHL.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 13, 2013
Ramo, 26, last played in the NHL during the 2008-09 season, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that drafted him in 2004. He's currently playing overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League for Russian club Avangard Omsk.
Nathan Gerbe on the Move?
Buffalo Sabres center Nathan Gerbe has been stuck in an incredible funk to begin the year. The 25-year-old fifth-year NHL veteran has zero points to his name through his first 10 appearances with the Sabres in 2013.
A shocking start considering that Gerbe has racked up 56 points over the past two seasons in Buffalo.
According to TrueHockey.com's Andy Strickland, the struggling center could be on the move sooner than later:
Sources say don’t be shocked if Sabres GM Darcy Regier moves or at least attempts to move Gerbe in the near future...The Sabres are currently sitting in last place in the Northeast Division and word is Regier is on the phone exploring his options.
At this point in the season, more than a quarter of the way through, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the Sabers moved Gerbe. A change of scenery and more playing time elsewhere would be an excellent thing for Gerbe, but it's hard to imagine many clubs being willing to take a chance on him.
Will Avalanche Get the Right Deal for Ryan O'Reilly?
Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly is drawing interest from several teams this winter according to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger (via Twitter):
O'Reilly trade talk heating up. Strong interest from the east, but if the Avs don't get the right deal, plan is hold firm and O'Reilly sits.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 13, 2013
Dreger went on to say on Wednesday that "one team told me earlier that the expected return is a roster player and a top prospect" (via TSN).
Clearly, Colorado wants something significant in return for the 22-year-old star, who hasn't played with the struggling Avalanche since last season, when he recorded 55 points in 81 games. And who can blame the Avalanche for having such a steep asking price?
O'Reilly is one of the best young centers in the league today, and is still improving though he's yet to play a game in what would be his fourth career NHL season in 2013.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.