As the NHL deadline approaches and the playoff picture starts to clear up, it becomes more obvious which players are likely to be on the block and which teams will be scrambling to add a key piece or two for a playoff push or begin the rebuilding process by trading away a star.
Some names on this list you've seen before (cough, Jarome Iginla, cough) while others might come as a slight surprise.
But for whatever reason, these three guys have become expendable. That's good news for teams around the NHL just a key player or two away from making a Stanley Cup run.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla has long been rumored to be the biggest name on the move as the trade deadline approaches, and it looks like he has narrowed down his ideal landing spots.
Renaud Lavoie of RDS reports (link in French) the Flames captain has submitted a list of four teams he’d approve a trade to. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh are his desired locations and it appears he’s very serious about winning the Stanley Cup this year.
All four teams are at or near the very top of the standings in their conferences and Iginla’s desire to play in any of those places shouldn’t be a shock. With Calgary fighting to just make the playoffs and Iginla slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, it’s an optimal time for Flames GM Jay Feaster to move him to a contender.
You can take the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the running, as the team added Brendan Morrow via a trade with the Dallas Stars.
Iginla is still a solid player—he has 21 points in 29 games this season, and has scored at least 30 goals in 11 straight seasons—but he is no longer one of the game's elite players. And it will be very odd to see him donning a new sweater.
But Iginla is as good as gone. It's just a matter of time before he is moved. He may not get the Flames the return he would have garnered a few years back, but Iginla won't come cheap, either.
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
The New York Rangers remain outside the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference and are desperate to make a deal that will improve their team and make a push for the playoffs. That means a familiar face, Marian Gaborik, could be on the way out.
They’ve been desperate to do something for weeks. It doesn’t really matter what: They’ll take a forward or a defenceman. They have dangled right winger Marian Gaborik to see what kind of return they can get. If they don’t make the playoffs, then coach John Tortorella is going to be in trouble.
Gaborik is having a decent season—he has 18 points in 30 games, slightly below the level of production he is capable of—and at this point, he is expendable enough to New York but still will demand a decent return if he is traded.
I'd be very surprised if he is still a member of the Rangers after this deadline.
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
We return to Garrioch for an update on Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres:
If GM Darcy Regier is going to be given the chance to rebuild this team, he’s got a lot of work to do. If he wants to deal captain Jason Pominville—and the word is the Sabres do—then there will be a strong market.
Pominville has 10 goals and 13 assists this season, and he would be a nice addition for a contender looking to add a piece for the stretch run. It wouldn't be easy for the Sabres to move their captain, I'm sure, but few players on the roster would bring back a nicer return than Pominville.
Don't be surprised if he's moved before the deadline.