In the NHL world, franchises are always trying to improve their rosters, and sometimes you need to give up a good asset in order to receive one in return. A perfect example of this was illustrated in the Tyler Seguin trade.
The Dallas Stars dealt a prime asset in Loui Eriksson but received one back when Seguin joined their ranks. Each team in the NHL has an asset they would be willing to move, and this slideshow will look at the top assets from each team.
Obviously, Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos would be very desirable, but they are not going to be traded.
For context, assets in this slideshow will refer to players and prospects that teams would be willing to trade, players that are going to become UFAs or players that could be moved to free up cap space.
Disclaimer: This is just an opinion; please don't take it personally if your favorite player is "traded" away in this article.
Salary Information via Cap Geek.
Hiller will turn 32 next season, and he will be looking for a new contract.
Contract: $4.5 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Hiller is a prime asset for a number of reasons. He is a solid goaltender in the last year of his contract, and the Ducks have a relative surplus in net.
Viktor Fasth is a capable netminder—albeit he has illustrated it with a small sample size—and Josh Gibson is a hot goaltending prospect who could be NHL ready in the next 18 months.
The Ducks could stand to gain some cap flexibility, and they could get a nice return for their current starting netminder.
Matt Bartkowski is a blueliner with upside.
Contract: $650,000; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Matt Bartkowski is a prospect for the Boston Bruins who got to spend some time with the team after the NHL trade deadline. He was originally going to be sent to the Calgary Flames in the Jarome Iginla trade that fell through, and he stuck with the team for the rest of the season.
He is a decent blueliner with upside, and he is now an asset because of the Bruins' addition of defender Joe Morrow from the Dallas Stars. Morrow is a prospect with a higher ceiling, and the Bruins can afford to sell high on Bartkowski.
Miller is a goalie who could be on the move this year.
Contract: $6.25 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Ryan Miller is in the final year of his contract, and if he wants to win a Stanley Cup this is likely his last season with the Buffalo Sabres. There are a number of teams such as the Colorado Avalanche that have a need for a franchise goalie, and that is why the two sides were engaged in trade talks, according to Josh Rimmer.
Miller is still a top netminder, and he could be one of the top trade assets in the NHL this season.
Teams were interested in Glencross this summer.
Contract: $2.55 million; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Curtis Glencross is a talented two-way winger that has put up some decent numbers on some bad Calgary Flames teams. If he was traded to a team where other offensive players supported him, Glencross could easily be a 60-point player.
He has a good contract and it would be worth it for the Flames to deal him. He may be one of their best players, but a team looking to compete would easily ante up for a player of Glencross' caliber.
Jiri Tlusty has played well, but Hurricanes should sell high on him.
Contract: $1.6 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Jiri Tlusty has played very well for the Carolina Hurricanes, and they should capitalize on his value while it is at its highest. He is entering the final year of his contract and will be a restricted free agent.
This adds value to Tlusty, because whatever team acquired him would gain exclusive negotiating rights.
Tlusty has proved to be a great two-way forward that has increased his offensive output, and the Hurricanes should sell high on him because they can replace his production through free agency next season.
Niklas Hjalmarsson could be a hot UFA in July of 2014.
Contract: $3.5 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: It may sound strange, but the Chicago Blackhawks may not have a choice in this situation. Niklas Hjalmarsson is going to become a free agent at the end of this year, and he could land a contract that almost doubles his current rate of pay.
He has two Stanley Cups to his name, and a reputation of being a solid top-four defenseman. Given the Blackhawks' cap situation going forward (12 players signed for next season and only $14 million to fill out rest of the roster), dealing him would allow them to get a return for an asset they likely will be unable to re-sign.
Paul Stastny has become a victim of numbers in Colorado.
Contract: $6.6 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Paul Stastny is a UFA to be, and he has outgrown the roster of the Colorado Avalanche. He makes a lot of money, and hasn't been as productive as he was earlier in his career.
The Avalanche can afford to trade him for help on defense or in goal because they have Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly on the roster.
The three of them are capable centers who are still very young, and they represent the future of the franchise. Stastny has a lot of value, and he is the player most likely to be moved before the end of the season.
Gaborik could be an asset at the trade deadline.
Contract: $7.5 million, One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: The Columbus Blue Jackets parted with a number of players and prospects to acquire Marian Gaborik, but they could choose to flip him if they feel he won't re-sign with the team at the end of the year.
There were no contract extension talks over the summer, and Gaborik projects to be one of the top UFAs in the 2014 market. He will be 32 by July of 2014, but he is still a skilled scorer. The Blue Jackets are still building, and flipping Gaborik to a contender at the deadline could garner a nice return.
Contract: $4.5 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Believe it or not, Ray Whitney is a top trade asset. He falls into the Martin St. Louis category of players that get better as they age. Whitney posted 77 points in 82 games back in 2011-12, and he had 29 points in 32 games last season with the Dallas Stars.
Despite his age, he is still an offensive threat, and he is one of the NHL's top power-play specialists. His passing ability makes him a great playmaker, but he is still savvy enough to score 15 to 20 goals a season.
He is up for a new contract next season, and he could be looked at as a final veteran piece in the eyes of a Stanley Cup contender.
Nyquist has potential, and could fetch a nice return in a trade.
Contract: $950,000; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Although Gustav Nyquist is a very valuable young asset; the Red Wings are clearly bulking up to win a Stanley Cup this year. The additions of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson indicate that the team could make a strong push for greatness.
Nyquist is talented, but the Red Wings have other prospects such as Martin Frk, Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco who are young and have more upside that Nyquist.
The Red Wings would love to keep Nyquist, but in the right deal he could be their prime trade chip.
Gagner is only 24, but has six years of NHL experience.
Contract: $4.8 million; Three years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Although the Edmonton Oilers just re-signed Sam Gagner, he is still their top trade asset because of his youth and offensive ability. He entered the league as an 18-year-old and has developed into a solid player.
The Oilers have a surplus of offensive talent, and they could use some help on defense. Gagner is a trade chip that could fetch a nice return, and the team would be wise to consider dealing him if they are in a playoff race by the trade deadline.
Will Markstrom start for the Panthers this year?
Contract: $1.2 million; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Jacob Markstrom projects to be a starting goaltender, but he has not been given an adequate opportunity to showcase his talents in Florida. Last year he played in 23 games, but in years prior he was stuck in the minors.
Why was this the case? Could it be that the Panthers don't have Markstrom in their long-term plans? There is nothing concrete to prove that, but the rumors that the Panthers were interested in former goaltender Roberto Luongo sure would explain things.
The Vancouver Canucks traded Cory Schneider this summer, so if they were to deal Luongo they would need a netminder in return. In this situation Markstrom would fit right in, because he is young and he has a manageable contract.
It is fair to say that the Panthers could consider Markstrom a trade asset, because over the past few years they haven't given him much of a chance to play.
Contract: $3.65 million; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: After this season the Los Angeles Kings are going to be up against the salary cap. They will have 14 players signed, and they will have only $9.8 million to fill out the rest of their roster.
In order to be cap compliant they will need to shed some salary, so using Justin Williams as a trade asset would make a ton of sense. Williams is a clutch scorer and veteran with two Stanley Cup rings. Although it would hurt to lose his offense, Tyler Toffoli projects to be a scorer who can help fill that void.
Heatley is a skilled player looking to bounce back.
Contract: $7.5 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Dany Heatley hasn't played well for the Minnesota Wild, but in a new environment he can bounce back. Throughout his career Heatley has averaged just under a point per game because he is a solid goal-scoring winger. He is 40 goals away from 400 and 37 points away from 800.
He is a free agent next July, and the Wild likely will let him walk because of his salary. Dealing him at the deadline could fetch a decent return, and it would give the Wild some flexibility to add some players for their own team.
Bourque has the potential to turn things around.
Contract: $3.3 million; Three years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Rene Bourque is a trade asset for the Montreal Canadiens because he is a talented player that could thrive in a new environment. The makeup of the Canadiens has changed since he was first acquired, and some youngsters on the roster could start to get more playing time.
A look at the roster suggests that Bourque will start on the third line, and that is an area where he won't be very productive.
Bourque had 13 points in 27 games last season, but with more ice time and better linemates he could return to level he was at with the Calgary Flames.
Wilson is a solid young center with upside.
Contract: $2 million; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Colin Wilson is a solid young player with value, but the Predators' moves from the summer indicate that they are trying to get older and more experienced. For that reason it is fair to say that the Predators could show some interest in dealing Wilson if they had a chance to add a veteran with talent.
At his peak Wilson could be a solid No. 2 center, but the Predators could use him a trade chip to upgrade their offense.
Of all the players on their roster, he has one of the best contracts and the most upside to be able to bring back another asset in return.
Josefson's potential makes him a top trade asset.
Contract: $700,000; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: There is an abundance of depth at center for the New Jersey Devils, and it would only make sense for the franchise to make a deal from an area of strength. Josefson is only 22, has an affordable contract and some solid upside.
The current makeup of the team could change under new ownership, and it could be a few years until the team returns to top form. The loss of Ilya Kovalchuk was huge, and it will take time.
The Hockey News described Josefson as a "very cerebral performer with good hands and excellent hockey sense," and there is surely a team out there that would love to add a player of his caliber.
Grabner could become a victim of numbers.
Contract: $3 million; Three years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Although speedster Michael Grabner has been solid for the New York Islanders, he is one of their top trade assets because of organizational depth. Top prospect Ryan Strome is expected to make his NHL debut this season, and he is being converted to right wing.
In order to make room for Strome, the team needs to get rid of a winger. Currently the other wingers are new additions Cal Clutterbuck, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and returning winger Kyle Okposo. Grabner is the prime candidate to be moved because he has the most value of current right wingers.
He is also a prime candidate because Okposo is starting to actualize his potential, and the Islanders won't get rid of two players they just acquired. Dealing Grabner would allow the Isles to open a roster spot for Strome, and it would allow them to acquire a nice return.
Normally teams would be cautious to replace a roster player with a prospect, but Strome is a dynamo who is the real deal.
Kreider is only 22, so he still has time to become a solid NHL player.
Contract: $1.3 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Chris Kreider could be a great NHL player if he reaches his potential. (Keyword being if.) The Rangers were very close to winning a Stanley Cup in 2011-12, but they decided not to trade Chris Kreider for Rick Nash and they ultimately bowed out because of a lack of scoring.
Kreider was jerked up and down like a yo-yo last season, and he struggled during limited NHL action. He has the tools, but if the Rangers have a chance to contend for a Cup this year they will likely be willing to trade a potential commodity for a sure thing.
Trading Kreider would be a last resort, but it is fair to say they are more willing now than they were in 2012.
The Senators can sell high on Michalek at the deadline.
Contract: $4.3 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Although Michalek has been an up-and-down player with the Ottawa Senators, he was very productive during his last full season. He notched 35 goals in 2011-12 and recorded 25 assists for 60 points.
Michalek is going to be a secondary target during the 2014 UFA market, but the Senators could get more value for him at the trade deadline. His speed and offensive acumen are undeniable, and they can afford to part ways with him now that Bobby Ryan is a Senator.
Read is a 27-year-old sniper with potential.
Contract: $900,000; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Matt Read's name is swirling in trade rumors, per Courier-Post via USA Today, because of his current bargain contract, and his impending UFA status next July. During his time with the Flyers, Read has scored 35 goals, 36 assists for 71 points in 121 NHL games.
They are decent numbers, and despite his age he is trending up. The Flyers should sell high on him to avoid losing him in free agency, because they will be hard pressed to re-sign him and fill out the rest of their roster for next season.
Keith Yandle has significant value.
Contract: $5.25 million; Three years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Trade rumors have surrounded Keith Yandle for the past few seasons, and there is an appetite to trade him. Don Maloney told The Fourth Period he would be willing to deal Yandle if the return was right.
The Coyotes upgraded their offense this offseason by signing Mike Ribeiro, but they could use an additional offensive piece. That is where trading Yandle could come in handy, because the Coyotes have a glut of defenders.
Orpik is a solid blueliner with experience and skill.
Contract: $3.75 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to be in a precarious cap situation next season. They have devoted a great deal of their salary cap to a few players on their roster, and re-signing Brooks Orpik could be rather difficult.
Trading him now would make sense because he is still a defenseman with significant value. The Penguins have a number of blue chip defensive prospects who are going to debut in the next year or two, and they could replace Orpik in due time.
Paul Martin and Rob Scuderi would still be on the roster, so the Penguins would still have a veteran presence on the blue line.
Marleau could be a top UFA next July.
Contract: $6.7 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Patrick Marleau is in the final year of his contract, and he is still a solid first-line forward. The Sharks' youth movement is slowly starting to take effect with Logan Couture leading the charge, and Marleau can become a free agent in July of 2014.
He has been unsuccessful in his endeavor of trying to win a Stanley Cup with the Sharks, and free agency offers him a chance to make his own destiny. For that reason, the Sharks should deal Marleau so they don't lose their asset for nothing. History has shown that Cup contending teams are willing to pony up for veterans, and Marleau is a valuable veteran with a lot left in the tank.
Halak is entering the last year of his contract.
Contract: $3.75 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: The St. Louis Blues have an abundance of goaltending, and Halak is the goaltender with the most value. Jake Allen projects to be the team's starter of the future, and he could thrive in a 1A/1B role with Brian Elliott if Halak were to be traded.
Halak has had success with the Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues, and he is slated to become a free agent. There are a number of teams that will need a goaltender heading into the 2014-14 season, and the Blues could sell high on one of their top assets.
Yzerman could restock his franchise by departing with St. Louis.
Contract: $5.6 million; Two years remaining
Why He's An Asset: Although GM Steve Yzerman told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN/TSN that Martin St. Louis would not be available for trade last year, that could change this year. Vincent Lecavalier was supposedly an untouchable because he was Mr. Lightning, but he was bought out for business reasons.
There is sentimental value attached to St. Louis, but trading him would be strictly business. The best service St. Louis could do for the team that took a chance on him way back when would be waiving his no-trade clause.
Teams would pay a large bounty for an elite player like St. Louis, and the return could help transform the Lightning into a contender. St. Louis is still one of the league's top players, and he has two years left on his contract.
The Lightning have some good players, but they aren't a contender. However, dealing St. Louis would be a good step forward for a team that won the Cup 10 years ago.
Phaneuf is a hulking defender with size and power.
Contract: $6.5 million; One year remaining
Why He's An Asset: Dion Phaneuf is slated to become a free agent, and instead of losing him for nothing the Maple Leafs are open to trading him. Back in June it was reported by CBS that the Leafs were looking to add a No. 1 center and a top-four defender, and Phaneuf's name was in play.
Phaneuf is a bruising blueliner that could do very well on another team. In Toronto he has been the subject of media scrutiny, and no one would blame him if he decided to leave via free agency. The Leafs were interested back in June, and you can be assured that they will revisit the situation closer to the trade deadline.
The Sedins could be in their last season with the Canucks.
Contract: $6.1 million; One year remaining
Why They're An Asset: The Vancouver Canucks are in an interesting situation, and they may be forced to deal the Sedin twins. The Canucks have 12 players signed for next season and about $21.5 million in cap space.
If the Sedin's were re-signed at their current rate of pay, which is unlikely to happen, they would have 14 players and just over $9 million in cap space remaining. There hasn't been a set of players with natural chemistry like them since the Stastny brothers were in the NHL, and no matter what the brothers are a set.
You can't trade one and re-sign the other, so the Canucks will either have to clear a boatload of salary (hello, Roberto Luongo), or trade the twins. A return for the Sedins would likely include a number of prospects, roster players and draft picks, and it could ultimately helps the Canucks for the future.
Although The Vancouver Sun reports that extension talks are underway, the report mentions that the Sedins are unlikely to take a pay cut. The report mentions that there is a chance that a deal doesn't get done, and the Canucks would have to start a rebuild.
It could be an interesting story to watch, but either way the twins will stick together.
Laich has found a nice niche as a gritty veteran with upside.
Contract: $4.5 million; Four years remaining
Why He's An Asset: The Washington Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski to be their second-line center, and Brooks Laich will now be placed on the third line. A player of Laich's caliber is solid enough to be a top-six player, and the Capitals could get a nice return for Laich.
Although he is a valuable player that the Capitals would love to have, a return for Laich could probably provide more value throughout the entire roster. He has a limited no-trade clause, so there are only five teams in which he couldn't be traded to.
Will the Jets trade Kane?
Contract: $5.25 million; Five years remaining
Why He's An Asset: There have been trade rumors surrounding Evander Kane forever, and there is reason to believe he could be traded this year.
Back in June he went on a Twitter rant in which he said he was sick of losing. According to CBS's Eye on Hockey blog, the rant could be interpreted as a trade demand or an attempt to "light a fire under his team."
Back in June, Josh Rimmer tweeted that there was a possibility Kane could be traded, and the Jets could get a great return on a young goal scorer. He may not be a great fit for Winnipeg, but it could use him as a vehicle to reshape and upgrade their overall roster.