There's now only one week left for general managers to wheel and deal before they have to wait until the offseason. In most circumstances, though, that doesn't cut it, because the player being offered is a free agent at the end of the year, so he could leave for nothing at the end of the year.
That only serves to make GMs a little more desperate, which means the rumors are flying fast.
Here is the latest buzz on three players getting shopped around before the deadline. By the time you're reading this, though, circumstances could very well have changed.
One of the biggest possible trade assets heading into March is Ryan Miller, so as you'd expect, he's been the subject of constant rumors in the past few days. Former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton reported that the Buffalo Sabres may decide to hold onto him and re-sign him to an extension:
I am hearing that it is not likely that Ryan Miller will be traded by the Deadline and Sabres are turning attention towards re signing him.— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 25, 2014
The idea is that the Sabres would have a little more leverage in the event they want to try and trade him again at some point down the line:
The school of thought on Miller @BuffaloSabres is that a deal in the Lundqvist range now would allow team to trade him in a better market.— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 25, 2014
Buffalo's GM, Tim Murray, seemed to confirm at least that the team won't be pressured into taking a lesser deal just to trade him, per Jeff Russo of ABC 7 in Buffalo, N.Y.
"The route we are looking at is to get value for him. To put him in a position to succeed," said Murray. "Our goal right now is to pursue a proper trade."
The biggest problem here is that Miller can leave at the end of the season, in the event he isn't traded already. He doesn't owe anything to the Sabres in terms of staying a little while longer so they have a better trade position.
Buffalo's hand may be forced.
Another talented player who could be on the move before March 5 is Alexander Edler. The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly dangling the 27-year-old defenseman in the trade market, per Craig Custance of ESPN.com (ESPN Insider subscription required):
According to one NHL source, the Canucks were very open to shaking things up for the right price before the Olympics started. A roster full of no-trade clauses makes that hard to do, but of those, Edler makes the most sense to trade.
“He’s a really good player,” said a Western Conference source. “You’ll have to give up or they should demand a very sizable return.”
The Fourth Period also reported that the Canucks are trying to move Edler, but his no-trade clause could stand in the way of any effort. Vancouver tried to unload him before the 2013 NHL draft. It was ultimately unsuccessful, and his no-trade clause kicked in on July 1.
Despite the Canucks' apparent desperation, they're still in a relatively strong position. He's signed through 2018-19, and at his age, there's no real threat that he'll drop off anytime soon in terms of production.
Another possible trade chip with impending free agency is Ryan Callahan. The New York Rangers forward is reportedly asking for a seven-year deal worth anywhere from $6.5-$7 million a year, per TSN's Darren Dreger.
Joe DeLessio of Sports on Earth did a great job of recapping how both parties got to this point. He came to the conclusion that despite whatever Callahan's popularity is with Rangers fans, even they know that a team can't afford to overspend for every player.
As a result, it would seem that New York has no other choice. Dreger said, "I'm told that it's 99 per cent guaranteed that Ryan Callahan will get traded by the New York Rangers."
Although it would hurt the team on the ice, letting Callahan go, whether through trade or free agency, might actually be a sign of progress for a franchise that usually spent money like it was going out of style.