The 2013 NHL trade deadline is scheduled for April 3, and the rumors are starting to run rampant about which teams will be looking to make a deal.
While the trade wire has been suspiciously quiet so far, the lockout-shortened regular-season standings are finally starting to separate the pretenders from the contenders.
No matter what the circumstances of the rumored deals, each of the following teams is considering making a move before the 2013 deadline.
The Buffalo Sabres sit in 14th in the Eastern Conference, and there is no sign of reprieve for their regular-season woes. If the team doesn’t find secondary scoring in a hurry, the Sabres’ place in the standings will depict their status as sellers at the trade deadline.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Buffalo is keeping a low profile on the trade front, but is ready to start the re-building process immediately:
Despite the denials of GM Darcy Regier, league sources confirmed to QMI Agency Saturday the Sabres are indeed ready to "blow it up" and pretty much every player on their roster is available before the April 3 trade deadline…Sources say the Sabres aren't going to move high-scoring winger Thomas Vanek or top prospects Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson or Alexander Sulzer. Nobody would take Tyler Myers' contract, but every player is up for discussion.
There is no question that the Buffalo Sabres should be sellers at the deadline, especially with the organization likely to start over in the offseason with a new head coach after firing Lindy Ruff (h/t ESPN).
The new coaching staff will look to implement new schemes and ideas, and the more wiggle room the franchise has to replenish the roster, the better the players that the team will be able to acquire in free agency.
The Calgary Flames are in the same position as the Buffalo Sabres (14th in the Western Conference standings), and are looking like sellers more and more by the day.
Only four points separate 14th place from eighth place in the West, so Calgary shouldn’t make mass trades right now. As the playoff hopes continue to dim for the team, though, the franchise must do what is best for the future and trade away players that will yield a high return.
In the same report from Garrioch, sources are claiming that the Flames could be considering a complete rebuild that includes moving two of the most well-known names on the roster:
The Flyers and Kings have held talks with the Flames about D Jay Bouwmeester. He has one year left at $6.5 million…All eyes will be on Calgary RW Jarome Iginla with speculation building he's going to be dealt. The asking price set by Flames GM Jay Feaster will likely be: A No. 1 pick, a prospect and a roster player. "You're not getting the same Jarome Iginla. He's still a good player, I just don't know that they're going to hit the home run they expect to hit," said a league executive. "That being said somebody will overpay." The Penguins, Predators, Sharks, Red Wings and Bruins will make a pitch for Iginla. Word is Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby wouldn't mind if Iginla was on his wing
Speculation and rumors have run rampant around Calgary with Iginla becoming a free agent at the season’s end, but whether or not the organization can find a way to part with the longtime captain will be the biggest storyline of the trade deadline.
If the Flames want to finally start the rebuilding process—something that should have been already in motion—the team must move Iginla at the trade deadline and get the picks and prospects needed to turn the struggling franchise around.
While the other two teams on this list will likely be sellers at the trade deadline because they are out of contention, the Anaheim Ducks could be forced to make a blockbuster move despite being second in the Western Conference standings.
Anaheim is in a tough position with forward Corey Perry (an impending free agent), as the team must decide whether it wants to try for a Stanley Cup and lose Perry with no reimbursement or trade him before the deadline and risk killing its chances of winning a championship this season.
According to Garrioch, the Ducks are reportedly listening to offers for the star forward, but the likelihood that Perry would be dealt is small:
The Anaheim Ducks will listen to offers for RW Corey Perry, but don't expect him to move unless someone gives GM Bob Murray an offer he can't refuse. The chances of Perry re-signing with the Ducks are slim, but the club will challenge for a Stanley Cup. If Perry moves, the strong belief is he's coming East. The Wings will make a pitch along with the Habs, Leafs, Senators, Rangers and Flyers. Perry will want a deal similar to the eight-year, $66-million contract that C Ryan Getzlaf signed in Anaheim.
If the Ducks have no intention of signing Perry to a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent, no matter where Anaheim is in the Western Conference standings, the team must consider all trade offers leading into the deadline.
The franchise must think about the big picture in this scenario.
The Ducks just signed center Ryan Getzlaf to an eight-year deal, so the franchise is obviously building for long-term success. If the best option for the future of the franchise is trading Perry, Anaheim must make the deal.