The NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching and teams across the league have until April 3 to improve their roster and catch up with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pens are in the midst of a 14-game winning streak, and just traded for Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. With Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz leading the league in points and Evgeni Malkin returning from injury, Pittsburgh would roll to a title if the game were played on paper.
But the Stanley Cup is settled on the ice, and a key addition may allow a team to take down the mighty Penguins in the playoffs.
Here is all the latest buzz surrounding the NHL’s top trade targets.
The Calgary Flames are clearly playing a sellers role leading up to the trade deadline. Iginla has already been shipped out, and Bouwmeester may be next.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun cites an unnamed NHL team executive who believes that the Flames will be looking to move the 29-year-old blueliner, but will ask for quite a lot in return.
LeBrun notes that the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers are all interested, while The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak added the Ottawa Senators to the list.
Bouwmeester is an excellent defenseman in the prime of his career; it is no surprise that he is attracting this much interest. With so many teams looking to pry him out of Calgary, the Flames should be able to get plenty in return in a potential trade.
A hot goaltender is the ultimate equalizer in hockey. Even though Pittsburgh has amassed an extraordinary amount of attacking talent, a handful of spectacular performances from a netminder in the playoffs could send them packing.
Miller is the type of player who can go on an incredible streak and help lead a deep postseason run. He is reportedly looking to get out of Buffalo, and if the Sabres wish to trade him, there will be no shortage of options, according to TrueHockey.com’s Andy Strickland:
Ryan Miller gave the #Sabres a list of 8 teams he wont accept a trade to before the season. Buffalo has 22 options if they want to deal him— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) March 28, 2013
A move away from the Sabres would be the best scenario for both parties. Miller could find his way onto a contender while Buffalo would cut their salary and get a young player or draft picks in return.
Any team feeling insecure about its options in the goal should give strong consideration to acquiring Miller.
For teams who are discouraged by the thought of a bidding war for Bouwmeester, Whitney presents an intriguing option.
However, TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that the Boston Bruins already have a leg up on the competition, although no deal is done:
There has been considerable talk of Ryan Whitney being traded to BOS and Bruins have certainly done due diligence on his health etc., but...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 27, 2013
...the Edmonton Oilers say they haven't traded Whitney to BOS or anywhere else. That's as of now. No doubt they're trying to move him.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 27, 2013
The Bruins already lost out on Jarome Iginla and will be looking to add an impact player at any position in order to make a push towards another Stanley Cup title.
But as was the case with their attempts to get Iginla, the team can never be certain that they have a deal in place until pen hits paper. Whitney would be a valuable piece for a playoff team, and the Bruins would be wise to get him as soon as possible.