The NHL trade season got an unexpected jolt when Ryan Miller was traded to St. Louis, but there is a lot of work left to be done before Wednesday's deadline.
In fact, even though there isn't going to be another superstar on Miller's level dealt, a number of moves being discussed make too much sense not to happen. With so little room separating the second-tier of teams, jumping into action is the best course.
Even with all the smoke and mirrors that come along with deadline season, a small handful of the rumors should become reality in the next 24 hours. Here are the best moves left to be made.
Rangers Acquire F Ryan Kesler from Canucks
With 33 wins and 69 points so far, the New York Rangers have no chance to catch the Pittsburgh Penguins (40 wins, 84 points) in the Metropolitan division. They are clinging to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, so it is imperative to make improvements somewhere.
The Rangers are, according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, watching the situation in Vancouver with forward Ryan Kesler.
While the Rangers' priority is obviously to resolve Callahan situation either way, am told they are also monitoring Ryan Kesler situation...— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 4, 2014
New York's biggest problem this year is a lack of offensive firepower. It ranks 19th in goals per game (2.5) and doesn't have that one go-to scorer in a key spot. The Rangers have a lot of balance, with nine players who have at least 10 goals, but they need to be more dynamic.
Kesler isn't a dominant goal scorer (21 this season) and has a career-worst plus/minus of negative-10, but brings another offensive dynamic to a Rangers team that needs help. It also helps that he's signed for the next two years, making him a valuable long-term addition.
Red Wings Acquire D Christian Ehrhoff from Sabres
Which would be the best deal to make?
If the Rangers are clinging to a playoff spot, the Detroit Red Wings are scratching and clawing at the postseason wall just trying to get off the ground. Their 68 points are tied with Washington for eighth in the Eastern Conference, and they have one less win than the Capitals (29-28).
The Red Wings are about as middle-of-the-pack as it gets statistically, ranking 14th in goals against (2.6), 18th in goals per game (2.6) and power play percentage. Since they can't go after both offense and defense at this late date, targeting one is the smart play.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reported that Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is on the Red Wings' radar in advance of Wednesday's deadline.
The Red Wings are believed to be among the teams interested in defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom the Sabres are shopping. He's got seven more years on his deal after this season, at a $4 million cap hit. What's better, though, is that $22 million of that 10-year, $40 million deal will have been paid off by the end of this season because it was front-loaded.
Since the Red Wings wouldn't be paying a majority of his contract, and would have control over him for seven more years, Ehrhoff should be the player they pursue the most.
He's not a traditional defenseman, playing with the mindset of an offensive player with 23 assists and six goals this season, but the Red Wings can use that added dynamic to make themselves a realistic playoff threat instead of a team just trying to squeak in.
Bruins Acquire D Stephane Robidas from Stars
There are very few weaknesses for the Boston Bruins, who currently sit second in the Eastern Conference and rank in the top six in goals per game, goals allowed per game and power play percentage.
They are in a spot where making a move isn't a necessity, but something under the radar to add depth would be a wise decision. One name bantered around is Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas, who hasn't played since November 29 due to a broken leg.
Joe Haggerty of Comcast SportsNet New England reports that despite the injury, Robidas will be moved before the trade deadline.
Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas is one of the more risky, but intriguing names on the trade market, and one NHL exec told CSNNE.com on Monday that the 36-year-old veteran “will be moved” prior to the 3 p.m. deadline.
Given his age and injury, Robidas isn't going to cost an acquiring team a lot in picks or players. The Bruins need to address their depth with Adam McQuaid reportedly suffering a setback in his rehab from a leg injury, according to Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe.
The Bruins have been in the market for a defenseman, with TSN's Darren Dreger reporting Ottawa's Chris Phillips on the radar, but the cost to acquire him would likely be greater than Robidas.
Expect Chris Philips contract talks to continue today. Trade still an option with Bruins believed to be among teams with interest.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 28, 2014
When you don't have to pay a premium price to ensure postseason success, why do it? The Bruins can wait for a deal to come their way, then decide which is the best course of action. Robidas figures to return as the team gets ready for the playoffs.
Sometimes the stars align that make a deal too good to be true.
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