With Wednesday's NHL trade deadline bearing down on everyone, rumors of action are heating up.
Although teams are pressed for time to get deals done, this doesn't appear to be keeping many teams from exploring big moves.
The following three players all have the ability to change the postseason landscape by switching teams and all figure to come with hefty price tags.
This sets the stage for a wild deadline.
The Vancouver Canucks appear to be asking for a ransom for Ryan Kesler, and with the amount of attention the 29-year-old center is garnering, they just might get it.
In fact, if Louis Jean of TVA Sports had proper information, the Canucks would prefer not to trade him at all:
Sources say Ryan Kesler requested a trade some time ago & wants out of Vcr. Told #Canucks don't want to trade him but may not have a choice.— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) February 27, 2014
Whatever the case, it is safe to assume that the Canucks will wait for the highest bid and deal him.
Kesler brings good size and physicality. He also brings production. He has 21 goals and 18 assists this season.
The below tweet by TSN's Darren Dreger helps highlight the interest Kesler is getting and the kind of trade package the Canucks are waiting for:
Like many teams, Leafs called Canucks with interest in Kesler. Understandably, Van is still looking for mammoth return.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 3, 2014
Meanwhile, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Kesler remains the top target of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Also, as Phily.com passes along, the Flyers have put together a "substantial" effort to acquire him:
Time is running short to put together a deal of this magnitude, but with all the reported activity, it certainly isn't out of the question that Kesler will be on the move.
Locked in an intense battle to reach the postseason in the competitive Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers aren't likely to Ryan Callahan. The 28-year-old is the team's captain for crying out loud.
Still, stranger things have happened when parties are locked in a contract negotiation. The Rangers and Callahan have been working on a new deal, but the whole process has been strained by how public it has been.
NHL.com's Dan Rosen believes this will result in the Rangers making a foolish decision to trade Callahan
I'm not buying that, however. Signs are pointing towards Callahan and the Rangers closing the divide in their negotiations.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com helps explain:
Sources confirm that Ryan Callahan has softened somewhat of late in his contract demands, but as of Monday morning he's still not close to a deal with the Rangers. Recently, the Rangers captain dropped his term request from seven years, which had been a major sticking point, to six years, sources confirmed. But the money he's asking, somewhere just south of $6.5 million, a source said, remains too much money for the Rangers, who I believe would do a six-year, $6 million per year contract. Doesn't seem as though they're that far apart at this point. But if that remaining gap doesn't close further over the next couple of days, the Rangers seem intent to trade him.
TSN's Bob McKenzie also reported on the progress:
On Callahan, I'd have to think it's getting very close to make or break time, close gap and get contract done...or failing that, move him.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 4, 2014
Obviously the gap has not been completely closed, but the progress is promising. The Rangers are close enough to reaching a new deal that they shouldn't feel forced to trade him.
The writing would appear to be on the wall for Thomas Vanek and the New York Islanders. NHLExpertPicks.com passes along that graffiti:
This news is not a guarantee that Vanek is on the move.
If in fact he was kept from the lineup because of imminent trade, there is still time for a deal to fall apart in the fine print.
There is also the remote possibility that the Islanders did this as a bargaining ploy to drive up his price.
Still, the most reasonable explanation is because Vanek will be on a new team before the deadline passes.
The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta has information pointing to that future home coming in either Anaheim or Boston:
As much as the Ducks are in on Vanek, told by multiple people today the Bruins are, as well.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 4, 2014
With 53 points this year, the 30-year-old will bring a lot of hope with him wherever he winds up.