NHL Trade Deadline: Will Your Team Be a Buyer or Seller at the Trade Deadline?

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2011

NHL Trade Deadline: Will Your Team Be a Buyer or Seller at the Trade Deadline?

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    As the NHL slowly progresses, the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders. Key pieces of championship puzzles are floating around the league waiting to be exchanged at the NHL trading deadline.

    There is plenty of time for buyers to become sellers and vice versa, but it's never too early to play the guessing game in regards to the deadline.

    So, let's take a look at whether each team will be a buyer or a seller come March.

Anaheim Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks are in trouble. While the roster has some big-time talent, the Ducks have glaring holes as well, particularly on defense. It's going to be difficult for this team to pull themselves out of the hole they have dug to start the season.

    Bobby Ryan has already been the subject of trade talks. While those seem to have died off, the rumors show a willingness within Anaheim's front office to move some pieces around in order to get this team back on track.

Boston Bruins

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    The Boston Bruins look primed for another deep postseason run. They will undoubtedly be looking to add a piece or two to help catapult to a repeat championship.

Buffalo Sabres

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    The Buffalo Sabres have not had the start to the season they were dreaming of, but the team is still in position to contend for a postseason spot, currently holding the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Ryan Miller's name has already been thrown around in trade rumors

Calgary Flames

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    The Calgary Flames are off to another slow start this season. While the team was able to turn things around and contend for the playoffs last year, that task may be a bit tougher this time around given the hole they have dug themselves and the strength of the Northwest Division.

    Jarome Iginla will be the subject of plenty of trade talks leading to the deadline. He has spent his entire career in search for a Stanley Cup, and it is becoming clear he won't find it in Calgary.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Nothing has gone right for the Carolina Hurricanes this season. The team's captain and best player, Eric Staal, has gotten off to a terrible start and the rest of the Hurricanes have followed suit.

    The Hurricanes are inept on defense, putting Cam Ward in tough situations far too often. Carolina already dealt Tomas Kaberle (whom they signed to a big contract this offseason), so they are definitely already in selling mode.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are sitting in first place of the entire NHL with 46 points. There is little doubt the boys from the Windy City will be looking for a few spare pieces at the trading deadline to get ready for the playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche

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    The Colorado Avalanche are one of the youngest teams in the NHL with only three players on the roster over 30.

    The focus is on the future in Colorado, making the team a prime candidate to sell players at the deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The biggest floppers of the NHL season have been the Columbus Blue Jackets. After breaking the bank to sign James Wisniewski and trading the farm to bring in Jeff Carter, their results have been less than inspiring.

    The Jackets have accumulated a league-worst 20 points thus far. There are pieces in place that could bring back a return for Columbus, and it's just a matter of which players they are willing to part ways with.

Dallas Stars

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    The Dallas Stars have jumped up to a quick start yet again this season. And yet again, the Stars will not make the playoffs.

    Dallas has new ownership and a bright future. It would be wise for them to dump some of their older talent on the roster to bring in more young blood and draft picks.

Detroit Red Wings

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    The Detroit Red Wings are an aging team. The window may be closing on their reign of excellence, so they will be on the lookout for assistance at the trading deadline. 

Edmonton Oilers

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    For the first time in a long time, the Edmonton Oilers are within striking distance of the playoffs. As long as they hang in there, this young, developing team could be looking for another veteran piece to add to the puzzle.

Florida Panthers

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    Dale Tallon has proven he is committed to spending money and building the Panthers into a competitive team. So far this season, Florida has been one of the most surprising teams in the league. If they remain in contention come March, Tallon will definitely be busy working the phones.

Los Angeles Kings

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    The Kings imagined the first quarter of the season going far more pleasantly than it has. After acquiring Mike Richards, signing Simon Gagne and agreeing to terms with Drew Doughty, there didn't seem much standing in the way of the postseason for Los Angeles.

    The season has been a struggle, though. With coach Terry Murray fired, the Kings are hoping to salvage their season. Currently sitting just three points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot, L.A. will definitely be buyers at the deadline.

Minnesota Wild

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    The Minnesota Wild have benefited from a coaching change this season. Mike Yeo has his team playing disciplined hockey on a nightly basis.

    One thing missing from Minnesota, however, is consistent offensive production. They will be in the market for some offense at the deadline.

Montreal Canadiens

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    The Montreal Canadiens are attempting to keep their season alive by firing their coach and trading for Tomas Kaberle. By the time March rolls around, the Habs will be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. If that's the case, Montreal has some pieces they could unload to contenders.

Nashville Predators

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    With 38 points, the Nashville Predators are a fringe playoff contender at this point. Offense has always been a problem for the Preds, and this season figures to be no different. But, will Nashville be willing to spend the money to improve this roster?

New Jersey Devils

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    The New Jersey Devils are by no means out of contention at this point in the season. As a matter of fact, they have gotten off to a halfway-decent start based on expectations. However, with Martin Brodeur's rapid decline and a lack of firepower on offense, the Devils should be on the outside looking in come playoff time.

    Zach Parise is the most dynamic player who could be on the block this spring. His contract is up after the season, and the Devils would be able to net a huge return for the talented winger.

New York Islanders

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    Preseason predictions of a New York Islanders playoff run in 2011-'12 were at least one season too early. The Isles are off to another abysmal start.

    Evgeni Nabokov is the biggest selling piece that New York has to offer.

New York Rangers

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    The Empire State has a different feel about it this year with the Rangers playing the best hockey they have in years. No roster is without imperfections, however, so the Rangers will certainly be in the market for talent when the trading deadline rolls around.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Between Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux, the Flyers have been ravaged by injuries over the last few weeks. Depth is not an issue offensively, but the injury to Pronger has left Philly a bit thin on the blue line. With the money freed up from moving Pronger to long-term injured reserve, Paul Holmgren will have some wiggle room to make something happen.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    The Phoenix Coyotes have stunned the league with their fast start. Mike Smith has been a monster between the pipes, but how long can he keep it up? Phoenix is likely to slip further and further out of contention as the season rolls along.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    The Penguins are always in contention, no matter what point in the season it is. There are some uncertainties surrounding this roster, the biggest being Sidney Crosby's health. No situation will be monitored more closely, so Pittsburgh will be on the look out for any player that can bolster their offensive depth.

Ottawa Senators

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    The Ottawa Senators are in rebuilding mode and have shown signs of getting things turned around. Still, the Sens realize that next season is their year to contend and will likely be willing to sell at the trade deadline to continue to build their future.

San Jose Sharks

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    Despite all of the talent on the roster, the San Jose Sharks have failed to meet expectations year after year. It would come as no surprise for the team to add even more talent to the roster as the deadline approaches with the team still very much in contention.

St. Louis Blues

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    The St. Louis Blues have made a remarkable turn around since hiring Ken Hitchcock as their coach early in the season. The Blues have rode excellent goaltending and defense to fifth place in the Western Conferences. St. Louis would love to add some more goal scoring to the roster, though.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    With each passing game, the Tampa Bay Lightning slip further and further out of contention. The NHL continues to wait for them to pull out of their slump, but Tampa still sits ahead of only Carolina and the New York Islanders in the standings. Something has to change.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Whether buying or selling, we know that Brian Burke will be active at the trading deadline. Given that his Leafs are finally in contention, it seems Toronto's general manager will be in the buyer's market in March.

Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks are by no means a team that will be out of contention come March. They do, however, have some spare parts that could make them very appealing to certain buyers. It has long been noted that Cory Schneider could be trade bait, and with his contract running up soon, now is the perfect time to sell.

Washington Capitals

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    Like the Vancouver Canucks, the Capitals will not be selling due to a lack of contention for the playoffs. Instead, Washington has something to offer teams. He goes by the name of Alexander Semin. The relationship is strained, so there is a chance that he could be on his way out of town before season's end.

Winnipeg Jets

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    The Winnipeg Jets have started to turn things around and now sit just a point out of the playoffs. We know the ownership is committed to the team, so why not give the fans something to cheer about in their first season home?