The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, and with the playoff race remaining tight in both conferences, we’re sure to see some big deals prior to April 3.
With just five points separating 11 teams from a playoff position at this point in the season, nearly every team in the league will be in search of some help to make a late-season playoff push. As recent history has taught us, anything can happen in postseason play.
The rumor mill hasn’t been especially busy just yet, but several teams have been rumored to be interested in a deadline deal or two. We’ll take a look at three clubs that may make some waves before April 3.
New York Rangers
In a recent appearance on the NHL Network, TSN’s Darren Dreger mentioned the New York Rangers’ potential willingness to deal veteran winger Marian Gaborik should the right deal present itself.
According to Dreger, the Rangers and San Jose Sharks have kept an open dialogue on the matter, though New York is by no means in any hurry to deal Gaborik.
With 19 points in 31 games, the 31-year-old has proved to be one of New York’s most consistent offensive players this season. He trails only Rick Nash and Derek Stepan in points but is tied for second on the team with nine goals.
While it would seem strange for the Rangers to deal such a talented player with the playoffs on the horizon, they badly need to add depth if they hope to make a deep postseason run. Should a team offer enough depth and value to make a deal, trading Gaborik could prove to be a good decision in the playoffs.
According to Brian Stubits of CBS Sports, Calgary Flames winger Jarome Iginla has submitted a list of four teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause. The Chicago Blackhawks are on the list.
John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca reported on Twitter that the Blackhawks have shown interest in Iginla, asking around about how much they might get out of the 15-year veteran:
John Shannon @JSportsnet
Re: Jarome Iginla...have been told Blackhawks are asking a lot of hockey people if the Flames' Captain has anything left.#tradetracker3/25/2013, 11:28:06 PM
Of all the teams interested in Iginla, Chicago may be least in need of his presence, but that doesn’t mean the Blackhawks won’t attempt to make a deal. With 51 points through 30 games, they have more to lose than any team in the league by failing to parlay their regular-season success into a Stanley Cup.
Putting together a reasonable trade package (and finding a fit for the veteran should a deal occur) will be a key component to any deal. The Blackhawks want to load up for the playoffs, but they can’t afford to mortgage the future for added depth this season.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Buffalo Sabres hope to trade Jason Pominville before the deadline:
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. Right winger Drew Stafford and goaltender Ryan Miller are names you will hear mentioned a lot.
The 30-year-old right winger is fourth on the team in points (23) and third in goals scored (10). For teams looking for a veteran scoring presence without breaking the bank as the trade market heats up, Pominville would be a terrific option as a short-term loan.
Without a clear direction in Buffalo, expecting Pominville (who will be a free agent next offseason) to re-sign with the Sabres may be a bit of a long shot. Ryan Miller will also be an unrestricted free agent, which explains why Garrioch expects his name to also come up in trade rumors before the deadline.
Dealing with a player in the last two years of his contract is a tricky situation in any league with a salary cap. With the playoffs slowly fading from the picture and the possibility of losing Pominville to free agency in a year, Buffalo would be wise to pull the trigger if it can get the right package in return.