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Ranking the Top 25 Targets at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline

Dave LozoNHL National Lead WriterFebruary 28, 2014

Ranking the Top 25 Targets at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline

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    Gary Wiepert/Associated Press

    The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, March 5, at 3 p.m. ET, and there is no shortage of big names rumored to be potentially on the move.

    This year's deadline is an especially tough one to gauge. Coming out of the Olympic break, only five teams (Edmonton, Calgary, Buffalo, Florida, N.Y. Islanders) are unquestionably sellers. That leaves 25 teams that would like to add some pieces for a playoff push. That's a big market for the likes of Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller.

    Another unique facet of the approaching deadline is the number of contending teams reportedly interested in dealing their key players. Ryan Kesler of the Canucks, Martin St. Louis of the Lightning and Ryan Callahan of the Rangers have had their names tossed around quite a bit.

    Who are the 25 best players who could moving between now and the deadline? Glad you asked, because that's what this slideshow aims to provide. Will all these players have new homes next week? Most definitely not, but a lot of them could be wearing new uniforms in early March.

     

    Salary figures provided by CapGeek.

25. Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 13-11-4, 2.58 GAA, .899 save percentage

    What He Brings: His skills have diminished to the point where he has taken a back seat to Cory Schneider in New Jersey, but he could be an asset in the right situation. He has the experience of five trips to the Stanley Cup Final and would be an upgrade/insurance policy as a backup for a contender.

    What He'll Cost: Probably nothing more than a third-round pick.

    Prediction: He remains in New Jersey and closes his career working to get the Devils into the playoffs as Schneider's backup.

24. Martin Erat, LW, Washington Capitals

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 52 games, 1 goal, 23 points

    What He Brings: As you can see from his stat line, not much. He also has a $4.5 million cap hit through 2014-15, making him particularly tough to deal. When he's going well, he can be a 15-goal depth forward. The problem is he hasn't been going well in nearly a year.

    What He'll Cost: A bag of pucks? A month's worth of Gatorade? The Caps would likely have to retain some of his salary to make it worthwhile for another team.

    Prediction: Despite Erat asking for a trade, as reported by Katie Carrera of The Washington Post, he appears to be immovable. Maybe something can be worked out during the summer, but he's a bad player with a bad contract.

23. Michal Neuvirth, G, Washington Capitals

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 4-6-2, 2.82 GAA, .914 save percentage

    What He Brings: The 25-year-old has the potential to be a starter, but that doesn't seem like it will happen in Washington. Just like Martin Erat, Neuvirth has asked for a deal, per Adam Vingan of NBC Washington. Unlike Erat, his $2.5 million cap hit through 2014-15 is much more attractive.

    What He'll Cost: The going rate for a goalie of this type is a third-round pick, maybe even another mid-round pick in a second draft.

    Prediction: Neuvirth will be sent to the Winnipeg Jets, who at long last will have a goaltender who can start over Ondrej Pavelec.

22. Nick Schultz, D, Edmonton Oilers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 58 games, 0 goals, 4 assists

    What He Brings: The 31-year-old pending UFA doesn't bring much offensively, but he can be a helpful depth defenseman for a contender. 

    What He'll Cost: A late-round pick, nothing more.

    Prediction: He will find himself on the blue line of the Boston Bruins for the stretch run.

21. Lee Stempniak, RW, Calgary Flames

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 51 games, 8 goals, 23 points

    What He Brings: Not much. He could be a helpful depth winger and his $2.5 million cap hit that expires after the season isn't very restrictive. The problem is he has zero goals in 11 career playoff games.

    What He'll Cost: Anything more than a fourth- or fifth-round pick would be too much.

    Prediction: He'll find himself on right side with the Dallas Stars.

20. Viktor Fasth, G, Anaheim Ducks

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 2-2-1, 2.95 GAA, .885 save percentage

    What He Brings: He offers 30 career games and a cap hit of $2.9 million that runs through next season. But with Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen getting the job done, Fasth is expendable.

    What He'll Cost: Either a fourth- or fifth-round pick, as he lacks experience, is 31 years old and is a backup at best.

    Prediction: There is no market for Fasth, and the Ducks keep three goaltenders the rest of the season.

19. Ray Whitney, RW, Dallas Stars

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    John Russell/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 52 games, 7 goals, 22 points

    What He Brings: The 41-year-old is likely in the final year of his contract and his career. He has 1,054 career points and has appeared in 103 career playoff games. He was part of the Hurricanes team that won the Stanley Cup in 2006.

    What He'll Cost: Probably a late-round pick, as Whitney is only playing about 11 minutes per game and doesn't offer much outside of experience.

    Prediction: He would make a lot of sense for the Sharks, but with the Stars playing well and contending for a playoff spot, he will remain in Dallas.

18. Nikolai Kulemin, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 49 games, 8 goals, 18 points

    What He Brings: His 30-goal season in 2010-11 is looking like a mirage. He has 22 goals in his past 167 games and is reportedly on the market, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. He had zero goals and one assist in his seven playoff games last season, his only taste of the postseason.

    What He'll Cost: He's worth a mid-round pick.

    Prediction: The Leafs will ship Kulemin to the Blues, giving them a better option on third line than Brenden Morrow, who will bolster the fourth line.

17. Olli Jokinen, C, Winnipeg Jets

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    Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 61 games, 13 goals, 32 points

    What He Brings: He's 35 and his contract expires after this season, but he's not nearly as productive as he was as recently as two years ago. He can help, but he has only six games of playoff experience in his career.

    What He'll Cost: Probably nothing more than a fourth-rounder.

    Prediction: The Jets will eat some of his salary and Jokinen will center the third line of the Avalanche.

16. Cam Ward, G, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Bill Wippert/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 6-8-5, 3.14 GAA, .893 save percentage

    What He Brings: He won a Stanley Cup in 2006, but that was a long time ago. He's had a rough, injury-filled past two seasons and has a $6.3 million cap hit through 2015-16.

    What He'll Cost: Ward's value could not be lower than it is now. The difference between what the Hurricanes would want for him and what teams are willing to play is probably a Grand Canyon-sized gap.

    Prediction: Ward's contract will be too tough to move, and no contender looking for a backup goaltending upgrade wants that cap hit on the books for two more years.

15. Brad Boyes, RW, Florida Panthers

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    Dave Reginek/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 57 games, 17 goals, 28 points

    What He Brings: He's a cheap depth-scoring option who carries a $1 million cap hit. He has just three goals in 17 career playoff games.

    What He'll Cost: The Panthers could fetch a third-round pick for Boyes.

    Prediction: He'll be acquired by the Penguins, who could use some help on the right side.

14. Andrew MacDonald, D, New York Islanders

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 61 games, 4 goals, 24 points

    What He Brings: He's been a top-pairing defenseman for the Islanders but hasn't been all that effective against top competition. He's only 27 years old and will be a UFA after the season, so he could have value as a bottom-pairing D-man for a deeper team.

    What He'll Cost: He seems worthy of a second-round pick, but the Islanders may want more.

    Prediction: The Red Wings will land MacDonald for that second-round pick.

13. Sam Gagner, C, Edmonton Oilers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 48 games, 6 goals, 24 points

    What He Brings: He is 24 years old and carries a $4.8 million cap hit through 2015-16. He's a 40-point guy who has not lived up to expectations in Edmonton. A fresh start could do him good.

    What He'll Cost: He's probably worth a mid-round pick and a mid-level prospect. 

    Prediction: The Oilers hold Gagner for the rest of the season and deal him in the summer, when there will be more suitors available.

12. David Legwand, C, Nashville Predators

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    John Russell/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 60 games, 10 goals, 30 points

    What He Brings: The 33-year-old offers size and strength down the middle, albeit in an aging body. He's on the back nine of his career, but his contract expires after this season and he has enough postseason experience to make him valuable. 

    What He'll Cost: He could be worth as much as a second-round pick but will likely go for a third-rounder.

    Prediction: He will be acquired by the Devils and bring some beef to the third line.

11. Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 53 games, 7 goals, 24 points

    What He Brings: His numbers this season aren't all that impressive, but he can deliver some offensive pop in the right situation. He's 30 years old and a pending free agent, so he would be strictly a rental. He could be a bust or boom over the rest of the season.

    What He'll Cost: Depending on how the market fluctuates between now and the deadline, he could be worth anything between a fourth- or second-round pick.

    Prediction: He will provide depth and a bit more scoring punch for the Sharks, who will ask the Oilers to retain some of his salary.

10. Steve Ott, C, Buffalo Sabres

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    Bill Wippert/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 59 games, 9 goals, 20 points

    What He Brings: The 31-year-old is a pending free agent who brings toughness coaches love. He's historically great at winning faceoffs and sits at 52.1 percent this season. Ott is also a useful penalty-killer and has a cap hit of $2.95 million, so he should be very attractive for contenders looking to add depth up front.

    What He'll Cost: When Paul Gaustad, a somewhat similar player to Ott, was traded from Buffalo to Nashville in 2012, he fetched a first-round pick. That seemed high then and seems high now for someone with Ott's skill set, but a team could be willing to go as high as a second-rounder. A third-rounder seems more likely, though.

    Prediction: Ott is dealt to the Montreal Canadiens to help them with their never-ending pursuit to become a tougher team.

9. Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buffalo Sabres

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    Jana Chytilova/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 57 games, 6 goals, 28 points

    What He Brings: He's an excellent skater and offensive threat. He was part of the Vancouver Canucks when they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, so he has big-game experience. His cap hit is just $4 million, but it runs through the 2020-21 season, when he will be 38 years old.

    What He'll Cost: He will likely cost a first-round pick and prospects. The Sabres may be cleaning house, but dealing Ehrhoff is not a pressing need for them.

    Prediction: There will be callers—he'd look good in a Ducks uniform—but Ehrhoff will stay in Buffalo.

8. Ryan Callahan, RW, New York Rangers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 43 games, 11 goals, 24 points

    What He Brings: He's money in the bank for 20 goals a season when healthy, but staying healthy has been an issue for the 28-year-old pending UFA. He's an excellent two-way forward and penalty-killer, although his PK role has been scaled back this season with the Rangers.

    What He'll Cost: If the Rangers are serious about trading their captain before the deadline if they can't come to terms on a new deal, they need to get something back that won't weaken them for the rest of this season. It seems as though there is a limited market for Callahan if the team that acquires him can't sign him as well.

    Prediction: I've gone from 100 percent sure to 94 percent sure the Rangers won't and can't trade him before the deadline. The one deal that makes the most sense is Callahan for Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues, but that's not an upgrade for the current Rangers. Callahan stays in New York for the rest of the season.

7. Dan Girardi, D, New York Rangers

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    Scott Levy/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 60 games, 4 goals, 17 points

    What He Brings: The 29-year-old is a stay-at-home defenseman but isn't entirely inept offensively, either. He can shut down top lines and has played a bit on the second power-play unit this season. He also comes with a lot of mileage, as he is consistently among the league leaders in minutes played and blocked shots.

    What He'll Cost: Since the Rangers are in the midst of a playoff chase, they would need something comparable in return for the pending UFA. 

    Prediction: He remains in New York as he and the team iron out a new contract either before the deadline or after the season.

6. Michael Cammalleri, LW, Calgary Flames

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 42 games, 13 goals, 21 points

    What He Brings: He's a talented scorer but at age 31, he's more offensive depth than someone that can carry a team. If a team adds him to play second- or even third-line minutes, that's great. A contending team probably doesn't want him on a top line.

    What He'll Cost: He's worth either a second- or third-round pick.

    Prediction: This one is tough gauge. Cammalleri has only been to the playoffs three times in 10 seasons, so will he accept a deal somewhere or sign an extension with the Flames? I lean toward him getting a deal done and staying in Calgary.

5. Ryan Kesler, C, Vancouver Canucks

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 60 games, 20 goals, 38 points

    What He Brings: He's a do-it-all second-line center. He can score, check, play the power play or the penalty kill. He has won a Selke Trophy and scored at least 20 goals six times and reached 41 goals in 2010-11. The 29-year-old also has been burdened with a slew of injuries in recent years and has two years at $5 million remaining on his contract.

    What He'll Cost: To snag Kesler, a team will have to part with someone younger and cheaper but who is capable of helping the Canucks now. A draft pick or two may help facilitate a deal, depending on the player going to Vancouver.

    Prediction: Kesler stays put, as the Canucks are playing for the present and not the future, although something could happen after the season.

4. Martin St. Louis, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 59 games, 27 goals, 58 points

    What He Brings: At age 38, he's probably one of the 10 best scoring forwards in the NHL. His game has diminished very slightly, if at all, and he would be a huge boost to a team looking for a former Hart Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup to his credit, which is literally every team.

    What He'll Cost: He has one more year left on his contract, so he would be quite expensive. It may take a current NHL player of slightly lesser value and a high draft pick. Whatever it takes, it will cost a lot more than just a first-round pick.

    Prediction: It's a tale as old as time. Boy is snubbed from Team Canada by his boss. Boy asks boss for a trade. Boss says no. Boss adds boy to Team Canada as an injury replacement. Boy wins gold. Boy still is unhappy because boy can't let stuff go. This story will end with St. Louis staying in Tampa for at least the rest of the season as GM Steve Yzerman smooths things over with his captain.

3. Matt Moulson, LW, Buffalo Sabres

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    Bill Wippert/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 53 games, 16 goals, 35 points

    What He Brings: He's a heady player with a knack for scoring around the net. He was a 30-goal scorer who displayed the ability to play alongside a gifted player in John Tavares. A team looking for scoring could add him and be comfortable that he would produce.

    What He'll Cost: Maybe he will be worth as much as a first-round pick, but a second-rounder plus a prospect should get the job done.

    Prediction: Moulson will join the Penguins and add scoring depth to a team that lacks it after a season-ending injury to Pascal Dupuis. The Sabres will be picking up most of Moulson's remaining salary in the deal.

2. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres

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    Kevin Light/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 15-22-3, 2.72 GAA, .923 save percentage

    What He Brings: The 33-year-old is sixth in save percentage among goaltenders with at least 38 starts and could be the answer to some team's prayers in net. Miller went to the conference finals in 2006 and 2007 and his career save percentage in the regular season (.916) is comparable to what he's done in the postseason (.917).

    What He'll Cost: Rental starting goaltenders don't come around very often, so judging his value is difficult. A team will likely have to part with a first-round pick and a mid-round pick and perhaps a mid-level prospect as well.

    Prediction: Miller will join the Minnesota Wild, who have an unsettled situation in goal that needs to be fixed for the stretch run.

1. Thomas Vanek, RW, New York Islanders

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 58 games, 19 goals, 48 points

    What He Brings: He is probably the best forward to be definitely available at the trade deadline since Marian Hossa was shipped from Atlanta to Pittsburgh in 2008. Hossa helped the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final, and Vanek is the type of gifted forward who can help put a contending team over the top. He's a gifted scorer who can park himself in front of the net or beat goaltenders from further out.

    What He'll Cost: Vanek is likely worth a first- and second-round pick and/or a prospect or an NHL-ready player who is still very young.

    Prediction: Vanek will be a member of the Los Angeles Kings when the deadline passes in a deal that will likely fetch the Islanders forward Tyler Toffoli.

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