The San Jose Sharks have once again been at, or near the top, of the NHL standings all season long. However, recent showings against the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings display kinks in the San Jose armor.
While the Team Canada line of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley can carry the load offensively, and the rest of the forward lines are performing well in supporting roles, the defense could still be upgraded.
San Jose recently acquired career long Carolina Hurricane defenseman Niclas Wallin along with a fifth-round draft choice from Carolina for a second-round choice originally received from Buffalo.
Wallin is a solid pickup for the Sharks to play alongside Kent Huskins on the third defensive pair. However, the top-four defense for San Jose could still use some work.
When healthy, Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray are as good of a top pair as there is in the NHL, but the duo of Rob Blake and Marc-Edouard Vlasic has left much to be desired this season.
If the Sharks want to make sure there aren't any excuses from this year's playoff run, then picking up a top-four, puck-moving defenseman by the trade deadline would see to that happening.
There would be no excuses for this team not to make at least a deep playoff run (six-to-seven games in the conference finals) because they would have a complete team.
But in order to get a top-flight defenseman like, say, a Tomas Kaberle or a Tobias Enstrom, what will they have to give up?
Here are the top five Sharks most likely to be on the chopping block to swing that type of deal.