The NHL free agency period is quieting down as nearly all the best unrestricted free agents having signed already.
For many teams, trades are the only way to improve their roster before training camps begin.
The salary cap for the 2011-12 season is a bit higher than it was last season, which will give teams a bit more breathing room to make trades this summer or before the trade deadline next February.
Trades are difficult with the hard salary cap the NHL uses, and taking on big contracts is certainly a risk when they are difficult to move.
Let's look at what trade your favorite team needs to make to complete its roster for the upcoming season.
Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report, and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Follow him on Twitter for NHL news and analysis. Follow @NicholasGoss35
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson had a good 2011 season and may be on the block for the right price.
Carlson is a young player with loads of potential, and the Devils could use a young defensive stud to build around, and Carlson could one day be an All-Star.
Goalie Evgeni Nabokov is going to play in the NHL this season and is under contract with the New York Islanders for one year at $570,000.
The Islanders will almost certainly trade Nabokov for future prospects or a decent player(s) who can help the club now.
With five goalies on the roster, there is no room for Nabokov in New York, and he doesn’t have long term plans with the team.
You can bet there will be a few teams who might be a veteran goalie away from contending for a playoff spot who will want Nabokov.
The New York Rangers could use another defenseman to help the penalty kill and veteran Flip Kuba is a solid choice who won’t command a lot to acquire.
The Rangers would like young defenseman Marc Staal, and Michael Del Zotto take the next step in developing this season, and Kuba may be able to mentor them as well.
Kuba had 16 points last season with the Senators.
The Pittsburgh Penguins need a winger who is not afraid to shoot the puck and will bury the good chances created for them by exquisite passers Sidney Crsoby and Evgeni Malin.
Michael Ryder would have been a solid player in free agency, but he signed with the Dallas Stars.
The Washington Capitals may look to trade Alexander Semin, and he would be a nice veteran fit in the Penguins offense.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed former Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a big contract, which means young goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky could be out the door soon.
Bobrovsky is a decent young netminder who played well at times for the Flyers last season but is inconsistent. He also did not play well in the playoffs.
A team looking to make a goalie change or add a good backup might come calling for Bobrovsky.
Before all the Bruins fans get mad at me for even thinking about trading Tuukka Rask, let me state I’m a huge Rask fan.
He’s a solid goaltender who has proven playoff experience and is fully capable of being a starter for many years to come.
With Tim Thomas approaching 40 soon, Rask appears to be the future in Boston.
However, if the Bruins want to add any major pieces on either offense or defense, Rask is going to be a player nearly every team will covet.
Young and talented goalies are hot commodity in the NHL, and the Bruins should at least find out what value Rask has on the market.
While the Buffalo Sabres may need to find some salary cap space to afford Calgary star Jarome Iginla, doing so would be well worth it.
Iginla is still a top forward and is looking to win his first career Stanley Cup, and at age 34, his championship journey is nearing its final stages.
By acquiring defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from Vancouver via free agency, the Sabres could use another offensive minded player to solidify their roster for next season.
After losing star defenseman James Wisniewski to the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency, the Montreal Canadiens need another stud defenseman, and Ottawa Senators veteran Sergei Gonchar is a solid choice for the Habs.
Gonchar is a playoff tested veteran who would help the Canadiens power play and would keep the Habs a real threat in the Eastern Conference.
Jason Spezza trade rumors seem like a yearly thing, and with the offensive talents he has, it’s no surprise teams look to trade for him each trading deadline.
Ottawa could trade him this offseason for a stud goalie or a star defenseman to build around for the future.
Ottawa does not appear to be competing for a Stanley Cup any time soon, and Spezza may want to play for a contender sooner rather than later.
This idea is a bit unlikely, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke pulled off a blockbuster trade for a player of Joe Thornton’s caliber.
Maple Leafs fans are as loyal as they come, and a player as good as Joe Thornton may be the piece to get Toronto back into the playoffs.
Toronto certainly has the pieces to acquire Thornton, who has not been able to carry the Sharks to the next level and into the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning got great performances from veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson last season, and he was excellent in the playoffs.
However, Roloson is not the answer in net long term for the Lightning, and trading for a younger goalie of the same caliber should be a priority this offseason.
Two possibilities are Vancouver Canucks backup goalie Cory Schneider, who played well in the Stanley Cup Finals versus the Boston Bruins, and Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames.
Alexander Semin has been involved in trade rumors for a few seasons now and was once thought to be involved in a swap for Boston goalie Tim Thomas last offseason.
Semin is a gifted offensive player who has 30-goal potential and would make a solid addition to any team needing a winger.
Semin could also be a trade chip to allow Washington to improve its defense and add some toughness it has lacked in recent playoff runs.
The Carolina Hurricanes are hoping to rebuild a perennial playoff team and return to the Stanley Cup Finals, and signing veteran free agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle was a step in the right direction.
They also need some scoring help to assist star Eric Staal.
Trading for Jarome Iginla would be a great move, but Iginla is unlikely to go to a team not ready to compete for a championship.
Washington Capitals winger Alexander Semin is another offensive option for Caroline, and Capitals defenseman Mike Green is an offensive-minded player who would help the Hurricanes powerplay.
The Florida Panthers lack many things, but one glaring need is a veteran defenseman who excels at both ends of the ice.
Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green would be a great addition for Florida, and his offensive talents would really improve their power play.
The Winnipeg Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, need a goalie to build around for their bright future in Canada.
Two options for the Jets are Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and Vancouver Canucks backup Cory Schneider.
Both would come at a high price in talent, but the Jets have the pieces necessary to acquire either goalie.
Salary cap restrictions really hurt the depth of the Chicago Blackhawks last season after winning the Stanley Cup.
Building back some scoring depth should be a priority for the Hawks this summer.
Jets forward Nik Antropov, Capitals winger Alexander Semin and even offensive defenseman Mike Green of the capitals would be good fits in Chicago.
Unless Chicago deals one of its top players, it is going to be hard for them to take on the salary of a top forward.
The Nashville Predators are trying to sign captain and restricted free agent Shea Weber to a long term contract this summer, and whether they extend him or not, they need another defenseman.
Capitals offensive defenseman Mike Green and teammate John Carlson are possibilities for Nashville, as well as Sergei Gonchar of Ottawa.
With the Weber contract situation yet to be finalized, adding a defenseman with toughness would be a good safety move for the Predators.
The St. Louis Blues need an offensive boost to return to the NHL Playoffs, and they have some pieces to help acquire a good scorer.
Someone like Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals or Jarome Iginla would immediately help the Blues offense and help put fans in the seats.
With the retirement of Brian Rafalski, the Detroit Red Wings are a bit thinner at defense heading into this season.
The Red Wings have the cap flexibility to make a move now or at midseason.
Blackhawks defenseman Niclas Hjalmarsson and Washington’s John Carlson would fit well in Detroit.
The Wings don’t need a major acquisition on the blue line, but adding another solid player would surely help them deal with possible injuries better.
The Columbus Blue jackets are attempting to build a playoff caliber roster this offseason by acquiring forward Jeff Carter via trade from Philadelphia, and by signing former Montreal Canadiens defenseman James Wisniewski via free agency.
Even with Wisniewski, the Jackets could use another defenseman.
Sergei Gonchar and Flib Kuba of Ottawa are two veterans Columbus could look at.
The Calgary Flames are likely to begin rebuilding soon, and trading goalie Miikka Kiprusoff would help in the rebuilding process.
He is still an excellent goalie and would be a major upgrade for many playoff contending teams.
Kiprusoff and forward Jarome Iginla could net the Flames proven young talent or top prospects in trades to help build a quality team for the future.
The Colorado Avalanche need some more scoring to return to the NHL playoffs next season, and acquiring a player like Washington Capitals winger Alexander Semin would be a good fit.
Semin would add speed and scoring to a young Avalanche team.
He also has good playoff experience.
The Edmonton Oilers are building a roster of good young talent through the NHL draft, and using some of that talent to acquire a very good goaltender would be a great way to push for the playoffs next season.
Adding a Miikka Kiprusoff of Calgary, Tuukka Rask of Boston or Evgeni Nabokov from the Islanders would help the Oilers tremendously.
The Minnesota Wild traded one of their best defenseman, Brent Burns, to the San Jose Sharks last month, so adding some defensive depth would help for the upcoming season.
Trading for a veteran defenseman like Sergei Gonchar of Ottawa or adding a younger one like John Carlson of Washington would be a smart move for the Wild.
After coming up just short in the Stanley Cup Finals this season against the Boston Bruins, the Vancouver Canucks lost defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to free agency.
They did re-sign defenseman Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo, but Salo is older and his best days may be behind him.
Adding a younger defenseman such as John Carlson of Washington or Zach Bogosian of Winnipeg would help.
The Anaheim Ducks score goals with the best of them, forwards Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan are three of the best young offensive players in the game.
Adding a veteran defenseman to help on the blue line would make the Ducks a playoff caliber team again.
Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar would be a nice fit in Anaheim and would bring veteran playoff experience to the Ducks.
The Los Angeles Kings top priority this summer is to re-sign their franchise defenseman Drew Doughty, who is currently a restricted free agent.
The Kings have made some moves to bolster their offense this offseason, one of them being acquiring Mike Richards from Philadelphia via trade near the draft.
If the Kings fail to sign Doughty, they will have to add a young defenseman with similar potential, and Washington's John Carlson is a smart option.
After losing Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers via free agency, the Phoenix Coyotes have a glaring need in goal.
Vancouver Canucks backup goalie Cory Schneider or Boston Bruins backup Tuukka Rask are solid options for the Coyotes.
Joe Thornton is not a winner. He wasn't in Boston, and he hasn't been able to carry some very talented San Jose Sharks teams to the Stanley Cup.
It's time to cash in on Thornton's high value for young talent. A team like Toronto would definitely give up a good batch of talent to acquire a star center like Thornton.
Losing center Brad Richards to the New York Rangers via free agency was damaging to the Dallas Stars' offensive capabilities, so adding a scorer this summer would help heal the hole left by Richards.
Washington's Alexander Semin, Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Boston's Rich Peverley are options for Dallas.
Semin and Iginla though would come at a steep price however.