The 2013 NHL trade deadline is scheduled for April 3, and the way the standings are beginning to shake out will depict which teams will be buyers.
Many serious contenders continue to struggle and a few teams that no one expected to do well are thriving, thus throwing a wrench in the works for what is usually a vibrant trade period.
It has been very quiet thus far in terms of deals.
As the deadline approaches, though, the teams that feel they are a piece or two away from serious contention will make the moves they deem will turn them into Stanley Cup favorites.
All contract information provided by CapGeek.com.
Of all the potential buyers at the deadline, the notoriously aggressive Philadelphia Flyers will have the hardest time circumventing the salary cap, but that hasn’t stopped the team in the past from making big deals (just ask Chris Pronger.)
If anything, the tight confines of the salary cap will force the Flyers to think bigger with their possible deals, looking to move salary as well as getting back key pieces that could help the postseason cause.
Philadelphia will be getting the injured Andrej Meszaros back soon (h/t Philly.com), and the bevy of high-priced defenders the team has on its roster will force management to make a move.
Luckily for the Flyers, veteran two-way defenders like Meszaros are always in high demand.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are perennial contenders in the Western Conference, but the absence of retired former captain Nicklas Lidstrom on the blue line has hurt the team on and off the ice.
Detroit is still dangerous, but the team needs to find another piece or two to bring it all together and legitimize the Red Wings as serious Stanley Cup contenders.
As the roster is set up currently, Detroit would not be expected to make it out of the second round of the playoffs.
The Red Wings have plenty of organizational depth and youth that would make any deal worth it for any potential trade partners, but the $7.78 million in cap space is what will afford Detroit the luxury of attempting to trade for any player on the market.
The Boston Bruins currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and while that would be good enough for most organizations, the boys from Beantown want another championship this season.
Boston has an astounding $8.08 million in salary-cap space, as well as a farm system that has plenty of fresh-faced players with NHL potential.
If there was ever a team that deadline sellers would be trying to talk to, it would be the Bruins.
Add in the fact that Boston has impending unrestricted free agents like Andrew Ference and Nathan Horton (no-trade clause), and the Bruins could be looking to make a blockbuster trade to put themselves into the conversation as Stanley Cup favorites.