We take a trip around the 'sphere to get the lowdown and best of each team with quotes from various blogs as the NHL heads towards the league's trade deadline:
Anaheim Ducks - When a relationship is going really well, you're highly unlikely to start going to couples therapy, right? It's one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situations. Does Bob Murray really need to make any big deals at the deadline to sure up the team's final mad-dash to the playoffs? My opinion, no. Why inject someone in to a locker room that has pretty much been from death to resurrection in the matter of months? This has nothing to do with skilled players needed to make the team more solid - it's all about chemistry.
Boston Bruins - "I’ve been clear in telling people I’ve talked to that I don’t want to move anyone off our roster," Chiarelli told Dupont. That means any trades that may occur will probably involve draft picks or prospects. (So does that mean we can all put an end to agonizing over the distant possibility of Tuukka Rask being traded? It’s getting old!)
Buffalo Sabres - The biggest thing to consider when looking at trades is the Sabres cap space. According to Cap Geek, the Sabres have $695,339 in cap space to work with. All of that cap space is dependent on Jochen Hecht continuing to stay on Long Term Injured Reserve. If he comes back, all of that cap space disappears. What that means for the Sabres is that if the team is going to make a move for a player, a player is going to have to go back in return.
Calgary Flames- In terms of adding, the Flames will need to remake their middle six forward group this summer, either by signing their own free agents, or adding from outside the organization. That makes Calgary a good candidate to add a player with some term left on his contract. Of the players mentioned frequently as trade candidates over the last several days, the two that I'd have serious interest in if I were in Calgary's position are Derek Roy and Brandon Dubinsky. Either player can be made to fit in the short-term and should fit very well in the medium to long term, but it of course depends on cost. With a long term solution like this, I think it makes sense to put pretty good assets in play, but would stop short of giving up the club's brightest young talent (Backlund and Baertschi). Antoine Vermette would have been a good fit here too because the cost was quite low, but that ship has sailed.
Carolina Hurricanes - The Carolina Hurricanes, who currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference but they haven't been in complete sell mode yet. The only expiring contract they have dealt is Alexei Ponikarovsky and they actually re-signed Tim Gleason to a four-year deal. The cap floor and injuries in both Raleigh and Charlotte might be preventing Jim Rutherford from making all of the moves he wants, but Carolina doesn't need to blow everything up right now. The most likely thing Rutherford will do is trade those with expiring contracts or those who are on cheap deals in return for salary, prospects and picks. Who exactly do the Hurricanes have to trade now that Tuomo Ruutu is injured, though? Better yet, what kind of moves will Rutherford be making over the next week if any at all?
Chicago Blackhawks - Add Souray as a new name to the Blackhawks list of potential targets as the Stars seem to be positioned as seller as they are listening on several key veterans such as Brendan Morrow, Steve Ott and Souray. Souray is not the defensive defenseman the ‘Hawks desperately need but he is a physical one who has a booming shot from the point.
Colorado Avalanche - The Avalanche are pretty close to a blank slate next season, and it seems likely to me that they'll keep it that way, and that doesn't leave them with too many options. On the way out, I assume that any taker for Chuck Kobasew would be appreciated, but that doesn't seem likely. If there are offers for other players at the margins, the Avalanche would no doubt consider that as well. On the way in, it really depends on the budget. If there is wiggle room in the budget, it makes some sense for the Avalanche to pick up a cheap rental so long as the contract expires at the end of the season. I don't know which way they'll go, but at a guess, I'd say that they're more likely to do nothing or to sell around the margins than they are to buy anything of significance for this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets - Last but not least, TSN's Bob MacKenzie is reporting that Rick Nash's agent, Joe Resnick, is hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that sends the power forward out of town. It seems that Nash's list of acceptable trade destinations will not change in the offseason, so the question now is simply who blinks first - Scott Howson or his suitors. Glen Sather, please pick up the white courtesy phone...
Dallas Stars - What we're seeing with fans this time of the year is a restlessness, a hunger for change and for improvement. Some sort of sign that the Stars have a direction and a plan in place and they are headed in a specific direction -- this is what the fans want. With each trade that is made and doesn't involve the Stars, there's a growing impatience about the lack of action by the Stars and it's seen as a sign the Stars are content and don't want to improve.
Detroit Red Wings - This team has scoring. What it needs is more grit, size and agitation in the bottom six. I don't feel that Emmerton or Mursak can hack it for a long cup run just yet. A player like Paul Gaustad is exactly what the Wings need. He's a character guy that fans love. He is big, abrasive and clutch in the faceoff circle and on the PK.
Edmonton Oilers - Steve Tambelilini went from being "one of the busiest people at the 2012 trade deadline" to one of the quietest simply by signing Andy Sutton and Ales Hemsky. Where the Oilers were supposed to deal for more picks to sustain the rebuild, now they've got a whole bunch of used and used up parts they're hoping to pawn off on some sucker.
Florida Panthers - Relying on surprising (but not exactly spectacular) goaltending from Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, Florida wins games by the slightest of margins, often regardless of the difficulty of the opponent. As the one goal losses piled up last season, so have one goal wins this season. It's certainly an improvement, but it doesn't make for a dominant team play that goes on winning streaks or opens up wide point cushions within the division. As the deadline approaches, the obvious need is scoring; scoring to get the first goal, scoring to build leads and scoring to close out games. Anything else is just side-tracking the problem.
Minnesota Wild - There's a lot of money spent up front already, but that's made up for on the blueline where the Wild have Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella playing top four minutes already on very cheap contracts. Plus, I think there's a reasonable chance that some of these players will be moving on.
Montreal Canadiens - Plekanec said Friday that he wasn’t aware of being the subject of any trade talks. Agent Rick Curran Sunday denied a suggestion that the veteran centre has been asked about waiving his no-trade clause, which is part of the six-year, $30-million deal he signed in 2010.
Nashville Predators - After picking up Hal Gill, the focus has shifted to the forwards, which are probably one man short of being able to run three fully-stocked, effective two-way lines. A skilled offensive center to complement Mike Fisher and David Legwand would probably make the biggest difference, as opposed to a sniper on the wing (but that wouldn't hurt).
New Jersey Devils - Based on all of this information, I'm confident in saying that Marek Zidlicky is a clear upgrade over Kurtis Foster (and most other third pairing defensemen) and he provides more depth on defense. I don't believe he'll be a big scorer on the team either this season or next season when he's another year older. I don't think he's worth $4 million. I do think he can help if he is used within his capabilities . I would recommend that Peter DeBoer keeps him on the third pairing and give him significant time on the power play. This way he has a contribute in offensive situations and he can be protected at even strength. With that protection, Zidlicky can prosper and help get the play forward. That alone will make the blueline stronger from top to bottom. Zidlicky may not be a 30-40 point defenseman anymore. Yet, given that the most power play points a defenseman not named Foster has on this team is 4, he won't have to chip in a whole lot to be useful.
New York Islanders - Heading into the weekend, is there anything significant the will do? Is there anything significant the Islanders can do?
New York Rangers - I have been one of the biggest supporters on this site of the Rangers making a move for Nash, but I don't mind hearing this. Glen Sather deserves a lot of credit for his post-lockout work, and if he needs to walk away from the table because Scott Howson's trade demands are too much, then so be it.
Ottawa Senators - Bishop is a 25-year-old goaltending prospect who was drafted in the third round (85 overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, so the move jives with what Bryan Murray said about acquiring a player who'd stay with the team moving forward, rather than looking for a rental...
Philadelphia Flyers - It's the time of year when basically every team in the league has players appearing in trade rumors. One of them on the Flyers side has been Sergei Bobrovsky. The young goaltender knows the name of the game, but says he's only focusing on his job as a Flyer.
Phoenix Coyotes - The league-owned Phoenix Coyotes have caught fire lately going 9-0-1 in their last ten games and as a result, the team is now leading the Pacific Division with 73 points. The Coyotes have already made their big trade, acquiring two-way pivot Antoine Vermette from Columbus for two draft picks. Don’t expect another major move because of their budget restrictions, but the acquisition of a depth player is not out of the equation. Veterans UFAs such as Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow, Ray Whitney, Taylor Pyatt, Michal Rozsival and Adrian Aucoin will now finish the season in the desert.
Pittsburgh Penguins - The most popular name being thrown into trade discussions as of late is Penguins defenseman Paul Martin. In recent years, fans have demanded the trades of underperforming defensemen Alex Goligoski and Ryan Whitney (which eventually happened), and Martin’s future is in question as well.
San Jose Sharks - The good news is that Logan Couture is off the table. The bad news is that it would seem as if Joe Pavelski would be the player in question getting moved, barring a complete fleecing by Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson in regards to his current roster assets. As we mentioned before (and others have mentioned as well), Pavelski seems like the logical fit for Columbus if they're looking to get a cheap, impact player that can begin to contribute immediately and still be around when the rebuild comes full circle.
St. Louis Blues - "We started the year saying that we need to find out about these players," Armstrong said. "Well, there’s no better time to find out about a player than a drive into the playoffs. To bring in other players and put guys we want to find out about in different roles, then we’re just pushing off the process. The season is going to end the way it’s going to end. There’s no guarantee that you bring in a player, and all of a sudden you’re going to become the high-scoring Detroit Red Wings. Those players aren’t out there. We need to see what these players can do when the game is on the line."
Tampa Bay Lightning - While I do not believe the Bolts are going into all-out fire sale mode as some would have you believe, and while I do not think the Bolts are so far from contention that they need to orchestrate an entire revamping of the roster... Well, that doesn't mean others will not approach the Lightning regarding the availability of certain roster players, with general manager Steve Yzerman looking at things from all angles before making a decision to move a player or not.
Toronto Maple Leafs - The Leafs shouldn't trade everyone, but this seems like a good time to clear off some excess crud and open some cap space for next season. If that means Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur, Matthew Lombardi, Colby Armstrong, and yes, Mikhail Grabovski, then I say go for it. It's probably the end for Ron Wilson as well.
Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks will come back next year with a very similar team. If the cap rises (or salaries get rolled back), they're in a good position to add so it likely makes sense to save Cory Schneider (or Roberto Luongo) until the draft, where he'll be a very attractive asset in trade when the Canucks actually have room. As for the deadline, it makes sense for the Canucks to stand pat unless someone really blows their socks off. The exception would be if there's a market for Keith Ballard. Moving him out would make sense long-term, and would give the Canucks the flexibility that they need to add an impact player at the deadline. But barring that unlikely event, I expect Mike Gillis to trust his group to get back on track and for the Canucks to be very quiet.
Washington Capitals - Many thought that the Caps would be well on their way to a fifth straight Southeast Division title but that hasn't been the case. They find themselves two points out of a playoff spot and two points behind the Florida Panthers and haven't lived up to the expectations that pretty much everyone had for them. You can spend all day pointing figures at who is to blame for this but in the end, the Caps struggles are the result of injuries, nearly everyone in their forward corps under performing and some poor patience and decision making from general manager George McPhee.
Winnipeg Jets - It is really tough to say the moment because, much to everyone's surprise, Winnipeg is a good team and is actually superior at controlling possession when the score is close than their Southeast peers. This is a strange team because they play much better at home than they do on the road. They control roughly 52% of the Fenwick close events at home compared to only 48% when they play away from the MTS Centre. They are also at a disadvantage when it comes to games in hand as both Washington and Florida have played at least three fewer games than them. Cheveldayoff is also a first-year GM, so it's hard to figure out what he will do because we do not know his spending habits or if he has a certain budget like a lot of GMs do.