With the NHL trade deadline about a month and a half away, teams are starting to gear up to make some serious moves.
As a result of the shortened season, teams can't wait as long to see if they can succeed with the players they already have. Holding off on making a deal for a few weeks can put a team into so deep a hole that no trade could get them out of it.
While the trade talk is quite fervent, it will reach a fever pitch in a few weeks. It's hard to gauge which moves will or won't happen, however, there are a few that can almost certainly be discounted.
Here are three moves that fans should not be expecting before the deadline on April 3.
Ryan O'Reilly to the New York Rangers
Ryan O'Reilly has been one of the hotter names among the trade talk this season. He's yet to actually play a game this season for the Colorado Avalanche, but that hasn't stopped O'Reilly from being a coveted target.
The Avalanche would receive some nice pieces in return for parting ways with O'Reilly. However, that isn't the biggest stumbling block for the New York Rangers.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers would balk at the kind contract this trade would be demanding. Brooks writes:
The Rangers have checked in on Ryan O’Reilly, but are very unlikely to pursue a deal for Colorado’s unsigned restricted free-agent center, The Post has learned.
It is not the yet undetermined cost in assets that the Blueshirts— whose three-game winning streak ended with Thursday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders at the Garden — would have to send to the Avalanche in order to acquire the 22-year-old pivot, but rather O’Reilly’s asking price for a contract that is discouraging a pursuit by general manager Glen Sather.
O'Reilly would be a welcome addition in New York, but Rangers fans shouldn't be getting their hopes up for that trade.
Anybody to the Philadelphia Flyers
2013 has not been too kind to the Philadelphia Flyers. They started their season as a lock for the playoffs. Instead, the Flyers find themselves two points outside the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Offense in particular has been a major trouble spot. Philadelphia has only scored 37 goals on the season. Of course, the team hasn't been helped by giving up 45 goals at the other end of the ice.
It's been a mess at times for the Flyers. Making a trade to reinvigorate the team might be a strategy for some, but that doesn't look to be the plan for general manager Paul Holmgren. As Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com writes:
Despite the Flyers' terribly inconsistent play and the very tightness of this lockout-shortened season, general manager Paul Holmgren says he is not going to pull the trigger on a major deal.
“I think we have a nucleus of good, young players,” Holmgren said Tuesday night before the Flyers' taunt 3-2 win over the Jets.
“To talk about disrupting that is not something that I am in favor of doing. We have not played exactly how I thought we would have played.
“We’re missing some key people [Scott Hartnell and Andrej Meszaros] right now. We can’t use that as an excuse. Other teams have similar issues going. We’re going to ride this out for now.
“I don’t anticipate doing anything. Obviously, there is lots of talk going on right now. Everyone is doing their due diligence, but I don’t foresee us making a move.”
That's not the most definitive statement ever, as Holmgren is leaving open the possibility that the Flyers do bring in reinforcements. However, the likelihood of that happening is very slim.
Phil Kessel to Anywhere
Phil Kessel has been one of the more frustrating players in the league. At times, he has shown his true potential as one of the league's elite. Then there's the other side where Kessel has been largely ineffective for large stretches.
He's proven himself to be an impact player at the offensive end of the ice. Kessel is coming off his fourth straight season of scoring 30-plus goals. At only 25 years old, Kessel is just now starting to reach the peak of his career, too.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have listened to some offers, but it looks like if the winger gets his way, he won't be going anywhere. Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star writes:
So says his agent, Wade Arnott, who went on Toronto radio Wednesday to say so.
“Phil (Kessel) is still a really young man,” Arnott told the SportsNet Fan590. “He really enjoys living in Toronto and playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“This young man lives and breathes hockey. He was very excited to come here four years ago. I think if you asked Phil today, he’d love to finish his career here in Toronto. But it’s still young in his career right now.”
Kessel's performance has picked up a bit recently, giving the Maple Leafs even more reason to hold on to him.