CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Here's a preview of the notable buyers, sellers and trade candidates as NHL teams head towards the trade deadline, which is set for 4 p.m. Atlantic on Monday.
In the Eastern Conference, keep an eye on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The defending Stanley Cup champs are believed to be in the market for an affordable depth centre.
The Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the league for most of the season but they're being challenged for top spot in the East by the Boston Bruins. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman could go shopping for a top-four defenceman.
With goaltenders Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth sidelined, the Philadelphia Flyers playoff hopes are at risk of derailment. They could be forced to look for a netminder.
Defence remains the Achilles heel of the New York Islanders. GM Garth Snow could be sniffing around for some blue-line help. The Toronto Maple Leafs could also get into the market for a depth defenceman.
With the Carolina Hurricanes trying to secure their first playoff berth since 2009, GM Ron Francis could pursue a scoring forward, possibly a centre. The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets are in danger of falling out of the playoff chase. Like the Hurricanes, they could use additional offensive punch.
Over in the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators could be all-in for another push to the Stanley Cup Final. GM David Poile is said to be seeking a scoring winger. The St. Louis Blues are also believed to be in the market for a top-six winger.
The Winnipeg Jets are likely Canada's best hope for winning the Cup this season. They could consider adding a depth forward and a left-side blue-liner. The Calgary Flames could also be in the hunt for more scoring at right wing.
Non-playoff clubs attempting to rebuild their rosters are shopping veteran players, especially those eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July.
The Ottawa Senators last week shipped defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings in a four-player trade. They probably aren't done dealing. The New York Rangers are being very aggressive sellers.
Expect the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks to ship out one or two pending free agents. The Florida Panthers could also follow suit. The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly willing to listen to offers for all but defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and rookie star Clayton Keller.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens could also go into sell mode, but they don't have many affordable rental players to offer up. Playoff bubble teams, such as the Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche, could also become sellers if they lose ground in the standings.
Notable trade candidates
Forwards Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, New York Rangers.
Left wing Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres.
Defenceman Mike Green and goaltender Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings
Left wing Patrick Maroon, Edmonton Oilers
Winger Mike Hoffman and centre Derick Brassard, Ottawa Senators
Defenceman Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Forward Thomas Vanek, Vancouver Canucks
Lyle Richardson is a freelance writer with the Sporting News and runs the website Spector’s Hockey. His column will appear in The Guardian throughout the NHL hockey season.