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NHL Trade Rumors: Thomas Vanek, Martin St. Louis and Latest Deadline Buzz

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 27:  Thomas Vanek #26 of the New York Islanders skates against the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 27, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

The 2014 NHL trade deadline is scheduled for March 5, and franchises across the league are contemplating possible moves, which have caused rumors to run rampant.

With top names like New York Islanders sniper Thomas Vanek, Tampa Bay Lightning playmaker Martin St. Louis and Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler all reportedly on the market, where each star lands as the deadline approaches is the focus of the NHL.

Here are the latest rumors surrounding the biggest stars on the trade block.

 

Thomas Vanek’s Days in New York Are Numbered?

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 08:  Thomas Vanek #26 of the New York Islanders warms up before a game against the Colorado Avalanche on February 8, 2014 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 5-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in October. With the forward looking to test free agency—he turned down a contract worth $50 million over seven years—the Islanders are likely going to make a deadline deal.

According to a report from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, Vanek’s short stay with the Islanders is almost guaranteed to end before the deadline:

It’s inevitable that by the March 5 trade deadline, general manager Garth Snow will trade Vanek, now even more so in the wake of star center John Tavares’ injury, sustained while playing for Team Canada en route to its gold medal.

Vanek is one of the top offensive players in the NHL, but his impending free agency has caused serious issues for each of the teams that have owned his contract this year.

New York acquired Vanek in a deal for forward Matt Moulson, a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick, and the original plan was to lock up the recent acquisition long-term before Vanek turned down the team’s offer.

The Islanders overpaid for Vanek in the initial deal and must trade him before the deadline to ensure the franchise gets any return on its investment at all, instead of letting him walk via free agency on July 1.

Top contenders across the NHL will continue kicking the tires on a possible Vanek deal.

 

Martin St. Louis Wants to Be a New York Ranger?

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 8: Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Detroit Red Wings at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on February 8, 2014 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Scott Audette/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning are getting top star Steven Stamkos back from injury soon, according to NHL.com. But the good news may be short lived, as forward Martin St. Louis has reportedly requested a trade.

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, St. Louis asked for a trade before the Olympic break:

TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that St. Louis wants to be in New York:

The reports that Rangers captain Ryan Callahan could be on the trade market, via Dreger, would open up a possible deal if Tampa Bay believes Callahan would adequately fill a role and would sign long-term with the franchise.

If Callahan shows interest in staying with the Lightning after being dealt, then this is a trade that could realistically come to fruition.

While there is no comparing the offensive output of St. Louis and Callahan, the defensive prowess of New York’s captain would help bring the goals against average down and bring a hard-nosed mentality to the game.

The report is clear that St. Louis would only be open to a trade to the Rangers, and if Tampa Bay can receive the captain of a major-market team in return, then this is the kind of move that could build long-term success for a franchise.

 

Ryan Kesler Wants out of Vancouver?

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 16: Ryan Kesler #17 of the United States skates in the second period against Slovenia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day nine of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 16, 2014 in
Martin Rose/Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks are fighting for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs, and one of the biggest keys to their success will be the play of center Ryan Kesler when he returns from an injury he suffered during the Olympics.

Per a report from TVA Sports’ Louis Jean, though, Kesler has requested a trade:

While Jean has reported that Kesler has requested a trade, the forward’s agent is denying the report, according to Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report:

Vancouver has not released any updates on Kesler’s injury since missing Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, and the injury will make a possible deal hard to pull off without a flawless physical.

Not only has the injury taken away much of the Canucks’ leverage in possible negotiations, but the fact that he is making $5 million per season salary through 2015-16 will also make the conversations even more difficult.

Kesler won’t be dealt before the deadline.

 

*All stats via NHL.com.

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