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NHL Trade Rumors: Tomas Kaberle and Top 10 Available Defensemen

April WeinerCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2011

NHL Trade Rumors: Tomas Kaberle and Top 10 Available Defensemen

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    The NHL trade deadline, February 28, is rapidly approaching. It is the teams' last chance to add to their rosters going into the playoffs.

    High profile teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins are in dire need of some acquisitions, if they want to remain serious Stanley Cup contenders this year.

    The Penguins desperately need some offensive relief to replace the void left by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Both stars' statuses are unknown at this point.

    Other teams like the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins are looking for some new additions to enhance their chances this year. The Bruins have been great this year, but they are searching for some new faces that will help them avoid another playoff disappointment like last year.

    Strong defense is vital to success in the playoffs. Here are the top defensemen available.

10. Tomas Kaberle, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Tomas Kaberle has topped these lists for quite a while now. He has a no-trade clause in his contract with Toronto, but it is very likely he would waive it if he got the opportunity to move to a contender.

    After Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke made the Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim trade, it has been reported that he is just getting started. Expect to see Toronto make a couple more moves. Kaberle is a good possibility.

    Kaberle won't come cheap. Sources say that Burke wants a current NHL player, an NHL prospect and a draft pick in return for the defenseman. Sources also say that Kaberle will only waive his no-trade clause for another Eastern Conference team.

    Reports show the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are very interested in Kaberle.

9. Alex Goligoski, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Alex Goligoski has been excellent for the Pittsburgh Penguins. This season, Goligoski has 28 points and is a plus-19 for the Penguins.

    With those numbers, Ray Shero would like to keep Goligoski around, but offense is his main concern going into the playoffs. He may need to lure a top forward to Pittsburgh to replace Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby by using Goligoski as bait.

    The San Jose Sharks are in need of defensemen. They also have a good forward in the young Devin Setoguchi, who the Penguins are reportedly interested in.

    Goligoski for Setoguchi?

8. Bryan McCabe, Florida Panthers

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The Florida Panthers are never really taken seriously. They play in the tough Southeast Division that got even tougher this year with the improved Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers teams.

    To remain in some kind of competition in their division they need to make some moves. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of interest in their players, with the exception of goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

    However, Bryan McCabe could generate some interest. He would be a bargain, as the Panthers can’t exactly demand a lot in return for any of their players.

    He is currently a plus-seven this year with 21 points. Consider that those numbers are on a low-scoring team and those aren’t so bad.

7. Joni Pitkanen, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Joni Pitkanen has a lot of qualities that teams look for in a defenseman.

    He’s a speedy skater that can play a lot of minutes. He can add offense as well. Plus, he is 6’3” and over 200 pounds, a desirable size. This season, he has 23 points so far.

    The league average for defensemen is 11.

6. Sergei Gonchar, Ottawa Senators

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Sergei Gonchar has not been as effective in Ottawa as he has been on previous teams, most notably when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    This season so far he is a dismal minus-16. He probably won’t be able to improve those numbers that much if he finishes the season in Ottawa.

    Last year as a Penguin, Gonchar was a minus four, not too bad considering how much ice-time he got.

    The Boston Bruins are reportedly interested in Gonchar, so a trade may be in the works.

5. Chris Phillips, Ottawa Senators

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Earlier in the year, Chris Phillips was supposedly second on the San Jose Sharks’ wish list for defensemen, behind Francois Beauchemin.

    Now that Beauchemin has been dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, the Sharks may be focusing on Phillips.

    He doesn’t have great numbers this year with the Senators—minus-27 with only four points—but that is likely more indicative of the Senators’ team than of Chris Phillips. In 2010, he was a plus-eight.

4. Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver Canucks

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Kevin Bieksa is another name often found on these lists.

    Along with the Vancouver Canucks, Bieksa is having a fantastic year. This increases his trade value.

    The Vancouver Canucks lead the league in the President’s Trophy race. However, they tend to have great regular seasons, then disappoint in the playoffs.

    They may look to make some moves to prevent such disappointment. Bieksa is a top prospect. He’s a plus 24 with 18 points.

3. Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The St. Louis Blues haven’t seen the production they were looking for out of Erik Johnson this year. He’s a minus-six at this point.

    However, his size, 6’4” and 220 pounds, still makes him a desirable defenseman. He is also only 22 years old. Players are going to have their ups and downs, particularly young players.

    Johnson is still very young; he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. He could really excel on another team.

2. Zach Bogosian, Atlanta Thrashers

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Atlanta Thrashers are shopping Zach Bogosian around.

    Like the Blues with Johnson, the Thrashers aren’t getting what they want out of Bogosian. They hoped that he would have a good year and so far he isn’t. He is a minus-15 so far.

    The 20 year-old has a lot of potential though, since most of his career is still in front of him. He has size too, 6’3” and just over 200 pounds.

1. Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks would like to keep their championship team intact. Unfortunately that’s not possible in the salary cap age.

    They shipped out many of their talent after the season ended last year. They may need to do the same with Brent Seabrook.

    His contract is set to expire after the season is up. They most likely will not be able to afford to bring him back next season.

    The big defenseman has 30 points so far this season, and he will attract a lot of interest, especially from teams looking to make a deep playoff run.

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