NHL Trade Rumors: 10 All-Stars Most Likely To Be Dealt

Michael Stuart@HB_MikeStuartCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2011

NHL Trade Rumors: 10 All-Stars Most Likely To Be Dealt

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    The holiday trade freeze is over and the National Hockey League season is back in full swing.  With that said, it's important to note that many general managers' phones are ringing off the hook.  People are trying to wheel and deal in order to better their individual teams in preparation for the playoffs. 

    Just today we saw a trade go down between the Phoenix Coyotes and the New York Rangers.  Each team addressed a need and feels like the move could help their team.

    As we move closer to the February 28th trade deadline, teams will become more and more active on the trade market.  Sometimes, if fans are lucky, an All-Star is moved.  I say lucky because, let's be honest, we all love to see big moves.  No offense, but trading bottom draft picks just isn't that exciting. 

    In this slideshow, I will examine the 10 All-Stars who I feel are most likely to be dealt.  I hope you enjoy.

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No. 10: Alexei Kovalev

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    You might find it hard to believe that various teams have interest in Alexei Kovalev.  If you read the rumor sites, you will see that the St. Louis Blues are one team that is continually mentioned with Kovalev.  Let's be honest, it makes sense. 

    The Blues are starving for offense right now.  They are decimated with injuries and Kovalev could bring them what they need.

    The reason that Kovalev isn't higher on this list is his attitude.  He has never been one to give it his all on every given night.  That, combined with his high cap hit, could deter teams from kicking the tires on him.

    GM Brian Murray of the Ottawa Senators will be trying to unload salary now that owner Eugene Melnyk has given the go-ahead.  It could be a long year in Ottawa.  We'll have to wait and see.

No. 9: Dustin Byfuglien

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    A lot of people are expecting that the Atlanta Thrashers will slow down after a hot start and fall out of the playoff picture.  To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me either way.

    Don't shoot me for putting Byfuglien on this list.  I know that he is a leader in the Thrashers locker room; I know that he is putting up tons of points; I know that he is one of the premier defensemen in the league right now.  So isn't that a good time to sell?

    If the Thrashers do begin to slip in the standings, I think that Dustin Byfuglien will be one of the first to go.  Yes, he's still young, but I think he could easily fetch a high draft pick or two.

    I think it would be really interesting to see if Dustin could play All-Star hockey in a different market.

No. 8: Dustin Penner

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    While Dustin Penner may not be the best offensive player in the league, he is an All-Star in his own right.  If Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini is serious about this youth movement, I think that Penner will be dealt.

    Penner is the kind of player that could really help a team like the Los Angeles Kings (maybe a tiny bit of personal bias here) to the next level.  It's really hard to push a guy like him off the puck.  I can just see him lining up with Anze Kopitar.  No offense to Marco Sturm, I just see this as a better fit.

    The Edmonton Oilers would like to continue with this rebuild and I think that dealing Dustin could just be part of it.

    We'll just have to wait and see what's in the cards for this guy.

No. 7: Jarome Iginla

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    I've already written an article about Jarome Iginla, so I don't need to go into too much detail here.  However, some events have happened that have changed my opinion on a few things.

    With a new general manager in Calgary, Jay Feaster, who has no emotional connection to Jarome Iginla, it becomes even more likely that he will be traded.  I honestly think that this will happen.  Either management will ask him to waive his clause or Jarome will get sick of the poor play.

    Jarome Iginla has an opportunity to go to a contender and play some great hockey.  I would love to see him beside Sidney Crosby.  I know that would never happen because of the cap, but a guy can dream, right?

No. 6: J.S. Giguere

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    Just this past week, it was reported that Giguere would be open to the possibility of a trade.  People seem to assume that it is due to his unwavering respect for Brian Burke.  You know, a lot of people may not like Brian, but he does have respect for his players. 

    Giguere is the kind of goalie that can take a team over the top.  I could see him being dealt to a team like the Washington Capitals or someone else that just needs a goaltender. 

    The one problem that the Toronto Maple Leafs will run into if they try to trade Giguere will be his cap hit.  He makes a lot of money for a goaltender who has struggled this season.

No. 5: Alex Semin

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    Alexander Semin is one of those players who has been mentioned in many slideshows here at Bleacher Report. 

    It is widely known that he is in need of a new contract at the end of the season.  This makes him really appealing to a team like Los Angeles.  I don't think it would take a lot to pry Semin away from the Capitals. 

    Semin has the skill and ability to be one of the premier forwards in the game.  It is kind of unfortunate that he has been stuck behind Ovechkin for all of these years.

    I think there is a high possibility that he gets traded. 

No. 4: Jason Arnott

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    All right, I admit that Jason Arnott isn't your typical All-Star.  However, he does have the leadership skills and drive to really be a huge part of a Cup-contending team.

    It's been reported that he isn't happy in New Jersey right now and, let's be honest, who would be?  Arnott deserves to play for a winning team.  He is one of the good guys in the NHL. 

    It's unbelievable to think that this guy went to New Jersey thinking that this would be a great chance at a Cup and now he is right at the bottom of the standings.  Really, it's unfortunate. 

No. 3: Tomas Kaberle

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    Tomas Kaberle is an interesting case because it's really going to be up to him whether or not he gets traded.  I know that other players on this list have NTC or NMC, but this really is a special situation because Tomas is showing no signs that he wants out of Toronto.

    I think that as time goes on, Burke will get more and more impatient with his team's performance this season.  It's only a matter of time before he has to ask for Kaberle to waive his clause.  There's no doubt that he would love to do it now.  It's just not a good situation for the Leafs to be in.

    It will be incredibly interesting to see whether or not Kaberle gets traded.  That being said, I feel like he will be.  The Leafs don't want another Mats Sundin saga.

No. 2: Tomas Vokoun

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    Dale Tallon has said that he would like to talk to Vokoun about a contract extension but, to be honest, I don't think there's any doubt that he is going to be traded.

    He goes against everything that Tallon is trying to do in Florida right now.  He is an All-Star who knows how to play his position incredibly well.  If anything, he is impeding the Panthers in their quest for a top three pick in the draft. 

    Lots of teams will have interest in Vokoun, as I feel that he is one of the most underrated players in the game right now. 

No. 1: Brad Richards

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    It would be a nice story if Brad Richards were to stay in Dallas.  Since leaving Tampa, he has been the heart and soul of that franchise.  However, I just don't see the financial situation adding up.

    You can bet that the entire hockey community in Texas would love to see Richards re-signed.  I don't think it can happen.

    Richards is an elite player in the game and he will want to be paid like one.  You can talk about "hometown discounts" all you want, but it won't be enough.  The Stars' ownership group isn't stable enough to sign Richards to the big deal that he deserves.

    I think that he will be traded for some youth if the Stars slip, even a little bit, in the standings.