The 2013 NHL trade deadline is scheduled for April 3 at 3 p.m. ET, and while the activity hasn’t picked up yet, fans should expect a flurry of transactions as the deadline approaches.
As the standings continue to shake out and the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders—the lockout-shortened season has really kept the division races close thus far—the buyers and sellers at the deadline will become more evident.
The teams that feel that all hope is lost for the 2013 campaign will start moving expensive salaries or expiring contracts, while the teams that feel they are ready to contend in the postseason will look to acquire more talent.
What results is a wild trade deadline, and this year will be no different.
All salary numbers and contract information via CapGeek.com.
Biggest Seller: Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres currently sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings and continue to fall out of the hunt for the playoffs (losing four of their last five games).
As much as the team hoped a coaching change would solve the issues, firing Lindy Ruff (h/t ESPN) was obviously not the answer, and Buffalo has continued to struggle.
Reports are now surfacing via Nick Kypreos of SportsNet that the franchise could be looking to move pieces at the trade deadline, including star goalie Ryan Miller. A deal involving Miller is a long shot, but the fact that the team is reportedly fielding calls shows the Sabres will be sellers at the deadline.
Biggest Buyer: Boston Bruins
After freeing up cap space by trading goaltender Tim Thomas’ contract to the New York Islanders (h/t USA Today), the Boston Bruins are fourth in the Eastern Conference and just three points from a conference lead.
Despite the franchise’s excellent place in the standings, the speculation has been running rampant for months that the Bruins could be actively looking to add more offensive depth (h/t Pierre LeBrun) for a deep run in the postseason.
Boston already has a strong core of stars that have played well together, so adding a few rental players to add depth and skill to the roster is something that could take the Bruins from a playoff contender to a Stanley Cup favorite.
Biggest Seller: Dallas Stars
There were high hopes coming into 2013 season for the Dallas Stars after signing veteran goal-scorer Jaromir Jagr in the offseason, but the team currently sits in 11th place in the Western Conference.
While the Stars continue to fight for a spot in the postseason—just two points out of eighth place—Lyle Richardson of The Hockey News is reporting that the feeling around the league is that Dallas will be major sellers at the trade deadline if they fall out of contention:
Still, if the Stars fail to gain ground by the trade deadline, there's a growing sense GM Joe Nieuwendyk will ship out pending unrestricted free agents Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow.
That’s what is defined as a team being a deadline seller.
Dallas understands that if the organization has no plans of bringing a player back the following year, trading a high-priced star or an impending free agent is the only option. Expect the Stars to be a major player at the deadline.
Biggest Buyer: Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are not only perennial contenders to make the playoffs every year, but also to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. As the team sits in seventh place in the Western Conference standings—just two points out of 10th place—the organization knows what must be done.
Detroit is already reportedly on the hunt for a difference-maker via a trade (h/t The Fourth Period), and with roughly $7.68 million in cap space, the likelihood that the Red Wings will be deadline buyers is through the roof.
The market has been very quiet so far, but when the action picks up as the standings continue to play out, NHL fans should expect to see Detroit trading for players the franchise thinks can help bring home a championship.