With the countdown to the 2013 NHL trade deadline approaching the 48-hour milestone, 30 general managers sit in leather armchairs, cell phones in hand and tablets in laps, waiting for the levees to break on a much-anticipated flurry of activity.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ray Shero have been busier than a squirrel preparing for winter, acquiring Brendan Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla in a surreal four-day stretch.
The rest of the league, however, has resembled a hibernating bear. Disregarding those Pittsburgh deals, only three NHL players have switched teams over the past three weeks.
That odd quiet is bound to snap at some point, though, and it will surely snap in dramatic fashion.
When the unspoken moratorium ends and all hell finally breaks loose, which players and which trades will go down first? A breakdown of the latest reports of rumors about four of the league's hottest targets follows on the coming slides.
If he weren't playing in such a small and beleaguered hockey market, Keith Yandle may well have already earned a reputation as one of the best two-way defensemen in the NHL.
Then again, he might not be playing in such a small and beleaguered hockey market for much longer.
If only to get the 25-year-old defenseman's $5.25 million cap hit, which runs through 2015-16, off the books, the Phoenix Coyotes and GM Don Maloney appear to be toying, albeit tentatively, with trading Yandle.
Per David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period via Twitter:
Maloney also addressed Yandle rumors, saying he received offer at draft, started weighing options.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 30, 2013
While nothing sounds imminent on Yandle trade front, he's not untouchable. If right offer comes in, he'll consider.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 30, 2013
It's been a rough year for 32-year-old veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr—along with the entire Buffalo Sabres team.
Despite carrying a cap hit of more than $4 million, the 6'3", 225-pound rearguard has managed only a mere two assists and a minus-four rating in 29 appearances.
He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, though, and does rank fourth on the Sabres with both 65 hits and 50 blocked shots this season. Those defensive skills and 13 years of NHL experience have allowed him to emerge as a relatively high-profile rental option this spring.
Per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Buffalo is finding "lots of interest" for Regehr on the trade market:
The Sabres are listening to offers on D Robyn Regehr but haven't ruled out possibility of extension. Lots of interest. #TradeTracker— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 29, 2013
Entering this past weekend, New York Islander forward Frans Nielsen's name had not once been connected with even the most obscure, improbable trade rumor.
But now, two days later, he's been thrust to the forefront of the discussion as the deadline bears down.
Per Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald:
A source confirmed to the Daily Herald on Saturday that the Blackhawks and Islanders have been talking multiplayer trade with the centerpiece of the deal being New York center Frans Nielsen.
The Islanders are said to covet Rockford defenseman Dylan Olsen, the Hawks' first-round draft pick in 2009, and perhaps forward Jeremy Morin.
Nielsen, 28, broke out into a full-time NHL role with 24 assists and 33 points for the Islanders in 2008-09. He's improved his point totals in every season since, registering 17 goals and 30 helpers a season ago, and he ranks fourth on the team this year with 18 points in 35 games.
He'd help fill out the Blackhawks depth at center, which is relatively weak below captain Jonathan Toews.
Like the aforementioned Robyn Regehr, NHL veteran Ryane Clowe has had a disappointing 2013 season on an underperforming team.
Through 28 games, the 30-year-old winger still has a goose egg sitting infuriatingly in his goal column. A whopping 567 players around the league have already scored more than the two-time former 20-goal scorer this season, even though he's taken more shots than all but 144 of them.
Clowe does have a relatively pretty "11" in his assist box, however, and still brings a physical (at 6'2", 225 pounds, that comes rather easy) and consistent game to any second or third line.
As a result, his well-known presence on the trade market is drawing plenty of attention. Per Bruce Garrioch, yet again:
Ryane Clowe remains a hot commodity with interest from five or six teams. There is talk if he moves he wants a sign and trade. #Tradetracker— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 31, 2013
Sportnet's Chris Nichols reports that Boston, Montreal and the New York Rangers, in particular, have come calling, and that Clowe is in direct communication with all ongoing negotiations: