As we come closer to the NHL trade deadline, clubs will inevitably be making moves to improve their teams, whether it is to make a playoff push or to get ready for next season.
Some teams currently in a playoff spot may no longer be and a dark-horse team could shock the NHL.
Who would have thought Peter Forsberg and Ray Emery would make comebacks?
In this slideshow, I will list 50 bold predictions that I think may be very possible. Some will be ridiculous and some will be more reasonable.
DISCLAIMER: I wrote this slideshow over a two-day period, so a few of my numbers and predictions may be off or incorrect. I apologize in advance!
I hope you enjoy the read!
It's not exactly a secret that the Ottawa Senators are going to make some major changes. Their season has all but slipped away this season and there are many people in Ottawa who are very displeased.
One of those changes may be to trade away Alexei Kovalev.
Kovalev has only 11 goals and 12 assists on the season, and has not completely lived up to the expectations of him in Ottawa. If Ottawa is to rebuild, they are going to have to trade away some talent, and Alexei would be a great addition to any team. He would also bring in a great return.
Ottawa could trade him for a high draft pick and/or some impact players. It may be just the shakeup that Ottawa needs to show other guys that they will not tolerate lackluster play. It would send a harsh, but very real, message.
Look to teams like Pittsburgh or possibly even Philadelphia to inquire about his services very soon.
The Philadelphia Flyers are having one of their best seasons in a long time.
The team is just clicking on every level. They are getting production from every line, every player.
Peter Laviolette does not like to lose, especially when it's in the Stanley Cup Finals, and many of the players feel the same way. They are hungry for another chance and have shown that with their play all season long.
Even if the Flyers do not return to the Stanley Cup Finals, I fully expect them to make a lengthy playoff run.
The Flyers want to prove to the rest of the NHL that it was no fluke they made it as far as they did last year, and so far they have been doing just that.
Although the Atlanta Thrashers haven't been playing well as of late, they have all the makings of a playoff contender.
The Thrashers have had a good season despite their recent slump, and have shown they can be consistent when it comes down to it.
Dustin Byfuglien has been a huge part of their success this season, with 16 goals and 25 assists. When you're getting those kind of numbers from your defensemen, you will always be successful.
I think Atlanta will make the playoffs this year, and could be that "dark horse" team that shocks everybody, similar to Montreal defeating the Capitals and Penguins last year.
It won't be long before we see what the Thrashers are really made of.
I've said since last year that I think the Canucks would have won the Stanley Cup if they weren't knocked off by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Like the Flyers, the Canucks are hungry to get back to where they were last year and finish the job. I believe we are in for a Phialdelphia versus Vancouver Stanley Cup Final.
The Canucks have been nothing short of amazing this year, with their stellar play from all ends and consistency.
They boast the second-best record in the league, only the Philadelphia Flyers have a better record. They are a Western powerhouse this year and teams like Chicago and San Jose may not be so fortunate this year.
Watch out, the Vancouver Canucks are a scary team.
Brad Richards has been nothing short of spectacular for the Dallas Stars and Dallas would love nothing more then to hang onto him. However, it may be tempting for Brad to test the free agency waters.
Brad is already making $7.8 million this season and, frankly, he deserves a bit of a raise. That might not be something the Dallas Stars can afford. With Jamie Langenbrunner also slated to become an unrestricted free agent, they may need some extra money to keep him around.
Richards would bring back first round draft picks and immediate impact players if he were to be traded. However, with the Dallas Stars looking very promising this year, I'm not sure they trade him at the trade deadline.
That being said, it might make sense for the Stars to trade him at the deadline, as he would bring in a much better return. The Stars may get an offer that they cannot refuse.
Either way, I think Brad Richards ends up on a new team next season.
If Brad becomes a free agent, look to teams like Toronto and Los Angeles to make offers for his services.
I'm not sure they get it done, but the marriage appears to be broken in Toronto and Kessel might need a change of scenery.
The race for the playoffs is tight in the Western Conference right now, but the Flames look like they have turned the ship around.
The Flames have been playing way better as of late, going 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, and are currently only one point shy of a playoff spot. If the Flames continue to play like they have, they will most likely make the playoffs and could be a force to reckon with.
If the Flames falter, however, they could be sellers come the trade deadline in order to acquire more cap space for the offseason and continue their rebuilding process.
The next few weeks are huge for the Flames, and consistency is and will be a huge key to their success.
The Edmonton Oilers are going to need to make some big changes if they want to be considered a contender.
A name that has popped up in some rumors is Andrew Cogliano.
Cogliano is on the last year of his contract, and would be a welcomed addition to any team. Cogliano has been rumored to be involved in a few potential deals already, so it's no real secret that Edmonton is at least seeing what they could get for him.
Cogliano comes cheap and could provide some scoring help to a team that is hurting right now on offense, particularly the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Look for Andrew's name to pop up in more rumors as we move closer to the deadline, and don't be shocked if he's wearing a new sweater next month.
If the Flyers want to continue to have success, they must lock up Ville Leino.
The Briere/Hartnell/Leino line has a combined 118 points for the Flyers this year, and has been playing better as of late, recording two goals against the Nashville Predators on February 4.
Leino's agent, Bill Vito, told CSN Philly he is optimistic a deal will get done, and that negotiations continue.
CSN Philly also reports that the Flyers have already offered him two separate deals; one for three years at $9 million, or four years at $12 million.
It looks all but certain that Ville will remain a Flyer, but you never know what could happen. Ville isn't exactly jumping at his offers quite yet, and he may want to test free agency before accepting any deal.
I think the Flyers will have him locked up before the offseason even hits, but then again, the ball is in Leino's court now, so we will see what happens.
I just don't see how they move him. His salary is too big for most of the teams that need his skill set, and a salary dump isn't Brian Burke's style. Add to that the limitations from his no-trade clause, and it seems impossible.
San Jose, currently fifth in the Western Conference with 62 points, will make a late run in the Western Conference.
Veterans such as Dany Heatley, Joe Thorton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle have the leadership, the skills and the experience necessary to make it as a top seed in the Western Conference.
The Sharks offense will be key to this second-half run. The Sharks are currently fourth in power play percentage (23.1 percent) and a close second in shots attempted per game (33.8). They are winning three out of every four games when scoring first.
The offense heavy Sharks need Niittymaki and Niemi to take it to the next level. If the Sharks are going to make it deep into the playoffs, their goaltending needs to be solid so the offense can do their job, score.
Toronto will most likely be sellers at the deadline, and they have more then just Tomas Kaberle.
Kris Versteeg has two years left on his contract, which sees him making a little over $3 million this year.
Kris will most likely command a higher salary next season, and has 14 goals and 20 assists on a team that has been struggling. He also has a Stanley Cup on his resume, which will only improve his chances of getting a raise.
It's not that Toronto doesn't have the money to sign him, but they might not want to pay him any more then he is already making, and if they decide to trade him, they could receive a great return.
Kris would be a great addition for any club looking for some more offense, and doesn't exactly break the bank. He would most likely bring back high draft picks to Toronto, something the Leafs could use if they are serious about rebuilding this team into a contender.
Look for Kris to come up in a number of rumors in the next few weeks, and headed to teams like the Penguins, Flyers, or Kings.
Although the Phoenix Coyotes have had a better season this year and are currently sitting in playoff position at seventh place, I feel that Phoenix may fall short of their playoff hopes.
The playoff race is very tight in the West, and teams like the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche may push the Coyotes aside and take their spot if their play doesn't start improving very soon.
After trailing in the first period, Phoenix has only won 24 percent of the time. Bryzgalov has seen the fourth most amount of shots in the league, which doesn't make the defense any better, and he also has a save percentage of .916, which is alright, but it could be better.
Phoenix has big changes to make if they want to be a serious contender and make a lengthy playoff run. Phoenix is another team that could become sellers if their season starts to slip away in the next few weeks.
Rumors have already started swirling in Philadelphia of a possible Scotty Upshall return, but I doubt highly that it will end up happening.
Although Martin Brodeur still has another two seasons left on his contract with the New Jersey Devils, Marty's time in New Jersey may be all but over.
Marty is getting older, as he will turn 39 in May. He has a save percentage of .896, which is the worst of his career as a Devil.
New Jersey is no longer the dominant team that they once were, and in signing Ilya Kovlachuk last year, they have already had to make a few hard decisions in order to create more cap space. They lost their captain, Jamie Langenbrunner, due to cap issues.
Johan Hedberg has emerged as a more-than-capable goaltender, so it wouldn't hurt the Devils too much if he were to retire, but Marty is the kind of guy that you can never truly replace.
If the New Jersey Devils are to become the dominant team they once were again, they will need to make a few more tough decisions, and Marty's future with the Devils may be coming to a close.
There have been rumblings for quite some time now that the NHL wants to add more Canadian teams to the NHL, as they feel there aren't enough.
That could only mean two things; they have to add even more teams to even out the conferences, or relocate another team.
Since it doesn't seem like the NHL is in any rush to add a few more teams, as it would most likely take a number of years to do so. It seems more likely that they will relocate a club or two that aren't doing very well financially.
A report just recently came out stating that the club has lost more than $130 million, and has been trying to sell the team since 2005.
Things are looking grim in Atlanta, and if the Thrashers don't make the playoffs this year, it could be the nail in the coffin.
The Colorado Avalanche are a team that has improved over the past few seasons more and more, and continue to improve.
Peter Forsberg has just recently announced that he will return to NHL action, and signed a contract with the Avalanche, which can only help their chances of winning.
Even though Colorado's penalty kill is 78.2 percent (27th in the league), their offense has made up for it. The Avalanche are a tough team to beat if you don't get an early lead on them, as they are 91.7 percent after leading the first period.
Still, this team has all the makings of a Stanley Cup contender, and having Peter Forsberg on your team for the playoffs is something that I think every team in the league wishes they could have.
I think the Avalanche will make the playoffs, even though many people still think they need a few more years.
The Penguins have lost the services of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Mark Letestu for lengthy periods of time, and many people have already started giving up on Pittsburgh's season.
When a team loses two of the franchise players, it usually spells disaster. However, the Penguins have shown in the past that they can be very resilient and consistent, with or without their star players.
The Penguins will undoubtedly be active when the trade deadline rolls around in order to make a lengthy playoff run, and if they get the right guy, they could be even more dangerous then ever.
They still have Jordan Staal who will inevitably see more minutes with Crosby and Malkin out, so Staal will have a chance to prove his worth.
Crosby will most likely be back before the playoffs start, and Mark Letestu is only slated to be out 4-6 weeks, so he should return in enough time for the playoffs. The only player who will not be back is Evgeni Malkin, but with him out, the Penguins have a chance to grab another impact player at the deadline.
That could actually be better for the Penguins, as a change may be exactly what they need in order to become the dominant team they have been in recent years.
It won't be but a few more weeks before we see what the Penguins are truly made of, and as long as they can hold their own without their stars for a while longer, they will be just fine.
Even though Jacques Lemaire has already left the Devils once, I believe that he will be back as head coach next year.
Jacques Lemaire is currently the interim coach, as the Devils and John MacLean didn't work out and can partially be blamed for the bad season the Devils are having.
Since Jacques returned to the coaching gig, the Devils have definitely improved. It's a shame that they couldn't pick it up maybe a month or two earlier, or they may have had a real chance at grabbing a lower seed in the playoffs.
Lemaire stated that he won't be back next year as head coach, but I find it hard to believe the Devils would let him walk after he has helped the Devils turn the ship around this year. If Lemaire leaves, it will be on his own terms, and not at all because New Jersey doesn't want him to stay.
I think Lemaire stays with the Devils, even if it is only for one more season.
Although Nikolay Zherdev has 15 goals and four assists on the season with a limited role, the Philadelphia Flyers seem as though they have already given up on the young Russian.
Many people in Philadelphia weren't happy about his signing in the first place, since he has a history of being a lazy player and a bit of a head case.
Zherdev hasn't had a ton of chances to really show his true potential, as he's played on lower lines then he is used to. Nikolay also has not played as many minutes as he would normally play either.
I'm sure if the Flyers could sign him on the cheap, he would without a doubt stay with Philadelphia. However, Zherdev is going to be looking for bigger money, something the Flyers will not be able to offer him unless they were to trade away another player or two.
Personally, I think the Flyers would be wise to keep him around, but they have to do what they feel is best for the club.
Look for Zherdev to be traded at the deadline as part of a package deal or sign as a free agent in the offseason. Teams like Toronto, Los Angeles or even Pittsburgh might be interested in his services.
I wrote earlier in this slideshow that I believe the Thrashers will make the playoffs.
If that is indeed the case, a team that already has a playoff seed will most likely be pushed out of the playoff hunt.
I believe that if the Thrashers do indeed succeed and grab a playoff spot, the New York Rangers may be the odd team out, and may just miss the playoffs like they did last year.
The Rangers will be active at the deadline, so it is tough to count them out, but there is something about this Atlanta team this year that I just cant put my finger on.
Carolina doesn't seem like they are going to fall short, either, which is the only other team at this point that is close to New York in points. They have played well and I believe they will maintain their position.
If the Rangers can get their act together, they will be just fine, but I think they may fall short again this year.
The Red Wings got shafted on Evgeni Nabokov, so now they'll make the same claim on the Ducks' signing of Emery.
Sergei Gonchar was the best defensemen on the market this past offseason, and the Ottawa Senators were lucky enough to score the big name defensemen.
Ever since, however, Gonchar has not played well with the Senators, and he is quickly becoming more and more expendable as Ottawa's season is beginning to crumble.
I don't think it would be too hard for the Senators to find a taker for Gonchar, as I'm sure there are many teams out there that would love to have him on their team.
The only problem would be finding a team with enough cap space. Sergei is slated to make $5.5 million until the end of the 2012-13 season, and that kind of money could make other teams turn their cheek.
Still, Gonchar is a very effective defensemen, he's just having a bad season. You can't really blame him, the Senators as a whole haven't played very well this year.
I believe Ottawa will find a team to take him off their hands, and he will most certainly bring back a good deal in return.
Jarome Iginla is such an impact player, but he could also help the team even more if he was traded.
Chances are he won't be going anywhere immediately, as the Flames seem to have turned their season around more recently, but if they slip up, look for them to shop Iginla.
Iginla would almost certainly being in one or two first round draft picks, as well as some players that could help them right away.
They would get a better return if they were to trade him at the deadline, but they may want to hang onto him in hopes that they will make a long playoff run.
It will be tough finding a team that could take on his $7 million salary, but he would no doubt improve any club that he went to. The only problem is, there aren't many teams that could handle his salary right now.
Even still, I expect Iginla to be traded, if not at the deadline, sometime during the offseason.
Nicklas Lidstrom is one of the best defensemen in the league. He's 40 years old.
Lidstrom is on the last year of his contract with the Red Wings, but I don't think for a second that this will be his final year. He still looks so young out there on the ice, and I honestly don't think he has any reason to retire just yet.
Nicklas has 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points on the season. Not bad at all for a guy who plays defense.
Even if Detroit decides to part ways with Nicklas, it won't be hard for him to find work. There are plenty of other teams that would love to have him on their team, and he could pretty much command whatever salary he wanted.
If he was to sign a new deal, chances are it won't be for more than two or three years, but he could be a real difference maker.
With Crosby, Malkin, and Letestu all out with injuries, the Penguins will have to dig deep if they want to remain the powerhouse team they have been.
With Crosby and Malkin off the books, the Penguins have plenty of cap space to acquire other forwards, but with the season more than halfway over already, it might be too little too late for the Penguins.
There isn't a doubt in my mind that the Penguins will make a run at some big name forwards at the deadline, but chemistry is something that you can never buy.
Even if they were to land another big forward, there is no guarantee that it will pan out as planned. Some players just don't play the same with other guys.
My prediction: The Penguins land a big name forward at the deadline, only to get knocked out in the first or second round. Too many injuries for the Pens, this year.
Alexander Ovechkin hasn't played his best season this year, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Ovechkin has 20 goals and 35 assists for 55 points, which for most teams is acceptable, but for Alex, that is a bit low. He's on pace for a little over 30 goals this season, which is something the Capitals and Alex himself are not used to.
Washington as a team has struggled this season, so you can't exactly blame Ovechkin himself for his lack of goals. Even though he hasn't scored as many goals, he has still been an assist machine. That's never a bad thing.
I believe Ovechkin will really turn up his play as we reach the end of the regular season, and will turn his play up even more once we start the playoffs.
Look for Ovechkin to begin his resurgence very soon. He's hungry for a Cup and he's not getting any younger.
Alexander Ovechkin is known for scoring goals, but this year he will be lucky to hit 35.
Ovechkin currently has 20 goals and 35 assists on the season, so it's not looking great for Ovie right now. He's had a bit of an "off" year, as well as the Capitals.
Just because Ovechkin won't hit 35 goals does not make him any worse of a player, he just simply isn't putting up the same numbers he has in recent years.
The playoffs are a totally different animal, and Ovechkin is very valuable to have when they roll around.
I fully expect Ovie to turn it up in the playoffs, but as for the regular season, I'll be shocked if he hits 35 goals.
As the season goes on, it looks more and more like the Florida Panthers will be missing out on the playoffs this year.
They currently sit in 11th place with 52 points. Although they are only six points out of the playoffs, I don't see them making a run this year. Teams like Carolina and Atlanta will be making a hard push, and Florida may look to unload some contracts to get ready for next season.
Stephen Weiss has been a name that has been swirling around the rumor mill, and it makes sense. If Florida isn't going to make the playoffs, they could get a good return for him.
Weiss has 15 goals and 22 assists on the season, so he could be a very nice addition to any team that is looking for some scoring help.
Look to teams like Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and possibly even Detroit to make a pitch for him.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to need to make some drastic changes in the offseason.
Fans in Toronto are fed up with the consistent losses, and frankly, they deserve much better than what they have received from their team.
There is no doubt there will be a number of players that will not return next year, but I don't think it will be just players leaving Toronto.
Ron Wilson does not seem to be panning out as a good coach in Toronto, and I believe that the Maple Leafs will let him walk after the season.
No matter how much the Maple Leafs like Ron Wilson, they have to get rid of him. The only thing that is going to turn this ship around is major changes. Just look what Peter Laviolette has done in Philadelphia.
Ron Wilson gets fired. I heard Lindy Ruff may be available. Haha.
Before I get a ton of flack for this prediction, hear me out.
If Matt Carle is traded, it won't be because he's doing bad. Matt has been actually playing quite well for the Flyers. Matt hasn't contributed many goals, but he has a bunch of assists under his belt (1 G, 23 A).
Matt Carle is simply the most expendable defenseman at this point. He would bring the Flyers a great return, and free up some cap space all at the same time.
Philadelphia is deep on defense, so it wouldn't exactly kill them to rid themselves of one of them, and that could give them enough space to land a big-name winger to throw on Richie's line come playoff time.
Carle will most certainly be missed if he was to be traded, but it could pay dividends for the Flyers.
Even though the Islanders have already traded away one of their goalies, I wouldn't be shocked if another team inquired about his services.
If the Islanders can acquire another goaltender, possibly Ray Emery, I could see the Islanders trying to trade Rick.
The question is, who would take on his $4.5 million salary? There are plenty of teams that have enough cap space to acquire him, but not many teams have a dire need for DiPietro.
Look to teams like the Oilers and Blues to possibly inquire about him, maybe not at the trade deadline, but in the offseason.
New Jersey has had a really bad season, and it's tough to point the finger at one player. The whole team hasn't played up to expectations, and they are just having one of those "off" seasons.
Kovalchuk was brought to New Jersey for two reasons: score goals, and keep fans in the stands.
So far, he hasn't exactly fulfilled his end of the bargain on the first one. Ilya has 15 goals and 17 assists on the season for 32 points. That's not all that bad, but when you take a look at his ridiculous contract, the Devils are overpaying for him in a major way.
When you are paying a guy like Kovalchuk top dollar, he better be scoring 40 goals a season. He'll be lucky if he makes half that this season.
Kovalchuk will not hit 25 goals this season, and that is bad news for New Jersey, considering they are stuck with him until 2025.
Barring a Stanley Cup in Washington, I believe it is just a matter of time before Bruce gets the boot.
The Washington Capitals are a great club, but there has been a few things missing in the past few seasons, and they haven't been changing. That is usually a reflection of the coach.
When you have players like Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green on your team—and you still can't make a long playoff push—there is something seriously wrong.
If the Washington Capitals are eliminated early in the playoffs this season, look to the front office to give Mr. Boudreau the boot.
Chris Osgood has had a terrific career and will always be remembered in Detroit, but I believe this will be his final year with the Red Wings.
With recent injuries and the emergence of Jimmy Howard, I believe the Red Wings will let Chris Osgood walk at season's end.
Osgood is 38 years old, and hasn't been a major factor this year like he has before. He is currently making $1,416,667, and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
If Chris was healthy this year, the Red Wings might have offered him an extension, but it doesn't look good for Chris. They made it known that they were in the market for a goaltender when they tried to grab Evgeni Nabokov and were one of the "three teams" in on Ray Emery.
The Wings will go younger, and most likely sign another goalie in the offseason.
If they let Chris walk, I believe he will retire.
The Nashville Predators have had some trouble in recent years in making it out of the first round of the playoffs alive.
This year, however, I believe the Predators will shock a number of people. The West is very tight right now, but I fully expect the Preds to make the playoffs.
I also believe that Nashville will finally make it past the first round and be a bit of a dark horse team in the playoffs.
With other teams like Chicago and San Jose having not the best years, this would be the perfect chance for the Predators to really strike and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Prediction: Nashville makes it out of the first round, but loses the second round 4-2 in a hard fought battle.
Lindy Ruff is the longest-tenured coach in the NHL right now, with 13 seasons under his belt, all with the Buffalo Sabres.
Ruff recently turned down a contract extension, so it appears as though he will not make a return next year, at least not with Buffalo.
The Sabres have all but sold their team, and the future of Buffalo is uncertain. With new ownership, the Sabres will make some big changes, and some guys might not be back.
I don't see Lindy Ruff being hired by another team, perhaps the Devils, but it is a real long shot. I think he finally decides to retire.
The New Jersey Devils have a lot of work to do in the offseason if they are ever planning on returning to the playoffs anytime soon.
Patrik Elias currently has 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points this season, which isn't terrible, but when he is making $6 million a season, there is a major problem
The Devils have a big mess to sort out, and the only way they are going to get rid of their cap troubles will be to unload some of their hefty contracts and gain some draft picks.
Since the Devils are in such a slump, I believe New Jersey will trade Elias, maybe even at the deadline, in order to rid themselves of his ridiculous contract. He is signed through the 2012-13 season, so a club with a bunch of extra cap space would be the only way he would be traded.
Patrik will most certainly draw interest from some teams, so it may not be as hard to unload him as some people think. Teams looking for some scoring touch will almost certainly inquire about him if the Devils decide to shop him.
Look to teams like Los Angeles, Toronto, and maybe even Pittsburgh.
Even though Tomas Vokoun has been popping up in trade rumors, I fully expect the Florida Panthers to re-sign the veteran goaltender.
The Panthers have a ton of players on their active roster that will either be UFA's or RFA's next season, so locking up a goalie for their future is very important to their success.
Vokoun isn't getting any younger, but if the Panthers want to be a serious contender, they need to sign this guy.
Tomas brings so much to the Panthers, and losing him would be huge. He provides stability in net, something not too many NHL teams have.
The Panthers would be wise to hold onto Vokoun, and give him whatever he wants. He hasn't given them any reason not to get an extension.
Giguere's name has been swirling around the rumor mill a heck of a lot lately, and it would make sense for Toronto to trade him.
For whatever reason, he's been linked to Philadelphia, which has left me scratching my head. Either way, the fact that his name has come up in rumors lately most likely means that he is available.
Toronto will be looking to unload some of their veteran talent and load up on picks and prospects as they continue to rebuild.
Giguere could bring in a good return, but his contract is so hefty, nobody may be able to handle it. He makes $6 million this year and frankly, has not played well enough.
Teams desperate for a veteran goalie may make a pitch, but I don't think Toronto could move him. His age and contract are intimidating. He most likely leaves as a free agent and gets signed to a way smaller deal.
I'm not so sure why exactly the Philadelphia Flyers have been linked to so many goalie rumors, but in any case, they have.
They have been linked to guys like Ray Emery and Jean-Sebastien Giguere numerous times, however, the Flyers already have a stable combination in net already.
Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky have both played outstanding this season, so I'm not too sure why Philadelphia would be looking to upgrade in goal.
Boucher is a free agent at the end of the season, so that could very well be a reason, but I don't see them having much of a problem with signing him to another deal in the off-season.
At any rate, I don't see the Flyers grabbing a goalie at the deadline, but I do see them grabbing a forward. I think they need a forward now more than a goalie, somebody to compliment Mike Richards and turn him into the playoff animal that he truly is.
Even though Tim Thomas has re-taken control in Boston this season, the Bruins will still need stellar play from Rask if they plan on getting far in the playoffs this year.
Tim Thomas will not be able to play every game, so when Tuukka is in net, he will need to be nothing short of outstanding.
Don't think for a second that Tuukka is content with his backup role this season. Tuukka had an amazing playoff run last year and he's surely out to prove that he can come up big like he did last year.
I believe that Rask will come up huge in the playoffs this year, and could even take back the starting gig. Tim Thomas is on fire now, but with all the games he's been playing, will he still be fresh for the playoffs?
We will find out what Tuukka and Timmy are made of this season, that is certain.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding Jeff Skinner, and it's not just because he looks like Justin Beiber.
Jeff Skinner has been having one heck of a season, posting 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points.
He became the youngest All-Star in NHL history when he was named to the All-Star Game, and he has already become a fan favorite in Carolina.
I wouldn't say Jeff Skinner is a lock for the Calder, but he is most certainly making his case. There are other young rookies like Sergei Bobrovsky and Taylor Hall that could still give Jeff a run for his money.
If Jeff keeps up his stellar play, I believe he will walk away with the Calder, but he still has to prove his play isn't just a fluke.
Regardless of the Calder, Carolina has found a real gem in Skinner, and his play has been a major factor to their success this season.
The Vancouver Canucks are a powerhouse this season and are out to prove they mean business.
Even though the Philadelphia Flyers have kept up with the Canucks for most of the season, I believe the Canucks will walk away with the President's Trophy.
The Philadelphia Flyers have the easier schedule for the remainder of the season, but there is one thing that the Flyers do not have - Roberto Luongo.
Roberto is tied for second in the league for most wins for a goalie, and he has a save percentage of .926. Although the Flyers have a steady tandem, it isn't on the same level as the Canucks.
The Canucks are such a great overall team this year, and there isn't anything that really stands out that needs improving.
Vancouver takes the slight edge over the Flyers when it comes to the President's Trophy.
Don't let the contact extension to Alexander Semin fool you. Just because he is signed for another year does not by any means take him off the market.
If the Capitals don't get any farther in the playoffs then they did last year, look for them to try and unload Semin's contract in the offseason.
They have been considering parting with him for some time now, and if they really wanted to keep him around, how come the extension was only for one year?
Semin would bring a great return back to Washington, maybe even that No. 1 number one goalie that Capitals fans have wanted for so long.
Look to nobody but Los Angeles to nab him if he is available in the offseason. A Kopitar-Semin combo would be nasty, and just what the Kings need.
Tim Thomas has been playing out of his mind this year, and anybody who picked him up in Fantasy Hockey sure is happy right now.
Thomas is tied for second in the league with the most wins for a goaltender with 25 wins. The only two goaltenders that are on his level are that of Roberto Luongo and Carey Price.
Tim has an impressive .945 save percentage and a 1.80 GAA. He has seven shutouts already this season, and he is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.
The Bruins have become one hell of a team this season, and having a guy like Tim Thomas behind the pipes only makes the players even more confident.
Boston will be a tough team to beat come playoff time, and whoever plays them is going to have to play twice as hard to get by Timmy.
Steven Stamkos has been raising eyebrows since he's come into the league a few years ago.
This year, however, Stamkos has been playing out of his mind and has been an offensive force for Tampa Bay.
Stamkos has 39 goals and 29 assists for 68 points on the season. With guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out with injuries, and Alexander Ovechkin having a mediocre season, Stamkos has taken full advantage of the opportunity, and hasn't slowed down a bit.
At this point, Stamkos is a lock for the Art Ross, as he is on pace for over 61 goals this season.
Tampa Bay has been playing great hockey recently, and Stamkos is a major reason for their turnaround this year.
Watch out for Tampa Bay, they are a very dangerous team this year.
Danny Briere is having arguably his best season with the Philadelphia Flyers this year.
There were many people in Philadelphia who were unhappy with his bloated contract and lack of production, but Danny has silenced all his critics this year.
Danny Briere sits in eighth place overall with most goals (26 G). His play has really picked up and he has given major credit to Ville Leino for his success.
The Briere/Hartnell/Leino line has but nearly unstoppable since last years playoffs, and even when they aren't scoring, somebody else on the team is.
Briere has been such a vital part to the Flyers success this season, and come the playoffs, he will be even more dangerous.
Briere will win the Art Ross.
The Vancouver Canucks are having a great season, and much of it can be contributed to Daniel Sedin.
Daniel Sedin is currently in second place overall in most points this season (69), trailing only Steven Stamkos, the league's leading scorer.
Daniel and brother Henrik are a great one-two combo and have always been dangerous. This year, the Canucks have been playing great hockey, and are on pace to make a long playoff run.
Many analysts are already predicting that the Vancouver Canucks will make it to the Stanley Cup Final, and who could really blame them?
Look for Daniel to really turn it up in the playoffs, and take the Conn Smythe from Jonathan Toews.
Nicklas Lidstrom is a true hockey player.
He was one of the captains chosen for this year's All-Star Game, and he is a great guy both on and off the ice.
Nicklas displayed so much class throughout the whole All-Star weekend, and has played amazingly this year, posting 11 goals and 33 assists as a defenseman.
The Lady Byng has Lidstrom's name written all over it.
This one is almost a lock for Dustin.
Not only can Dustin play defense, but he can also be a forward, as seen with the Chicago Blackhawks.
This guy is the total package, posting 16 goals and 25 assists. Keep in mind that he is playing with the Thrashers, which isn't exactly the best team in the league, and it just speaks further volumes to how well this guy plays.
When you post up those kinds of numbers as a defensemen, you deserve any award they are willing to throw at you. Byfuglien can also add being an All-Star to his resume now, which only makes his chances of winning the James Norris even better.
Put it in the books—Dustin Byfuglien wins the James Norris Trophy.