8 Rental Players Who Will Be Talked About at the NHL Trade Deadline
It will be a difficult decision for general managers Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators and Jay Feaster of the Calgary Flames.
Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla have been the face of their respective franchises for years. Both will be free agents at the end of the season.
The Senators are playing hard every night and are still in playoff contention despite suffering a slew of serious injuries. The Flames are quite inconsistent, but they are tied for 14th in the Western Conference.
Murray and Feaster are going to get calls about the availability of Alfredsson and Iginla.
There are several other players who may be considered rentals as the trade deadline approaches because they will soon become free agents.
G Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton Oilers
Nikolai Khabibulin is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The future may not be overly bright for the 40-year-old goalie, but that doesn't mean he can't help out a potential employer for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
At this point, Khabibulin is the savvy veteran who can come in for a game or two and provide a solid performance. He has played five games for the Oilers and has performed very respectably. He has a 2-2-1 record with a 2.11 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
Khabibulin has a cap hit of $3.75 million this season.
G Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames
Perhaps this is one move that Jay Feaster won't hesitate to make.
Miikka Kiprusoff, 36, has one year remaining on his contract after this season, and he is scheduled to earn $5.833 million next year.
That's a lot of money for a goalie who has a 3.30 goals against average and an .878 save percentage. Still, when Kiprusoff is at his best he is still a competent goalie.
If he gets a decent offer, Feaster would probably be willing to move him.
D Sergei Gonchar, Ottawa Senators
Sergei Gonchar can fulfill the role of veteran defenseman and power play general if the Ottawa Senators decide they are not legitimate playoff contenders.
Gonchar, 38, is a free agent after this season, and he may not have that much left in the tank.
The defenseman could pay big dividends for a contending team that struggles with consistency on the power play. He can blast the puck from the point, and he can also find the open man with a pinpoint pass.
Gonchar has a cap hit of $5.5 million this season.
D Ladislav Smid, Edmonton Oilers
Ladislav Smid is a very underrated performer on a team that has struggled on the defensive end this season.
Despite all their young, offensive talent, it seems like the Oilers will be on the outside looking in during the postseason.
That means that a solid defenseman like Smid, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, should be in play on the trade market.
Smid is second on the Oilers in ice time and does an excellent job when the team is killing penalties.
The 27-year-old defenseman has a cap hit of $2.25 million this season.
F Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Corey Perry will be a free agent at the end of the season.
He is one of the most valuable players on the Ducks, as he can put the puck in the net on a consistent basis and is a very dangerous scorer.
The Ducks are having a sensational year, and they are challenging the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Western Conference. That means Anaheim general manager Bob Murray may not want to trade Perry because he wants to give his team the best chance to win this year.
However, that doesn't mean that Murray's phone won't ring, and he won't be forced to confront the situation.
If the Ducks keep Perry, they will likely see him walk away during the offseason. He has a cap hit of $5.325 million this season.
F Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla is a future Hall of Famer and one of the most popular players in the NHL.
He is respected for his on-ice achievements and for his off-ice demeanor and behavior.
Iginla, 35, will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Flames aren't going anywhere this season and if Jay Feaster begins the rebuilding process by trading Iginla and other worthy veterans, the Flames will have a chance to get much better and do it much faster.
It should be an easy decision to make for Feaster. He needs to trade Iginla to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, but he may not be strong enough to pull the trigger.
Iginla has a cap hit of $7 million this season.
F Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
Daniel Alfredsson may no longer flash the golden wheels he once had, but he is a savvy veteran who can help his team win.
Alfredsson, 40, has a blazing slapshot and can beat goalies from the outside or the inside.
That makes him a very valuable commodity. Alfredsson has only worn a Senators uniform in his NHL career and it would be very difficult for Bryan Murray to move him, but he should make the move when the Sens drop out of contention.
Alfredsson has a cap hit of $4.875 million this season.
F Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
Brenden Morrow is in the final year of his contract with the Dallas Stars.
The Stars attempted to become contenders by adding veteran stars Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in the offseason, but general manager Joe Nieuwendyk's team is on the outside of the playoff situation as it sits in 11th place.
Nieuwendyk may be in a position to offload some of his talent that is not under contract in 2013-14 and beyond. That includes Morrow, who is a versatile player and can be an asset as a third- or fourth-line player.
Morrow, 34, has a cap hit of $4.1 million this season.