The NHL trade deadline is less than four weeks away, which means you'll be reading, hearing about and laughing out loud at many rumored deals. Some have speculated few moves of consequence will go down, although one Western Conference GM isn't one of those people.
Â“I think you'll see some trades take place before it's all said and done,Â” said the GM, who requested anonymity. Â“Quite a few teams think they're only a piece or two away from a major run in the playoffs, and (GMs) are talking all the time. You hear the opposite sometimes, but players can still be moved in this league.Â”
Here is a rundown of the more likely candidates to be traded:
Fredrik Modin, CLB
Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean said he'll try and re-sign Modin and Anson Carter, both of whom will be unrestricted free agents this summer. However, Modin is likely to command a better deal than Carter and the Jackets can't afford to re-sign both and rebuild their sub-par defense at the same time. Modin's stock also is a little higher than Carter's around the league, so he'll fetch more in a deal.
Peter Forsberg, PHI
Ladislav Nagy, PHX
When Nagy skated to the bench for a line change as the Coyotes were on the wrong end of a shorthanded 2-on-1 in November, his fate with Phoenix was all but sealed. One of many soon-to-be UFAs on this list, he'll be overpaid by some team come summer, but it won't be the Coyotes.
Chris Gratton, FLA
The Panthers have crept back to the fringes of the playoff race, but few are harboring the notion they're a team worth keeping intact. And Gratton, a good dressing room presence who'll make an affordable $1.5 million next season, could help any post-season contender.
Brad Stuart/Marco Sturm, BOS
Boston's two biggest prizes in the Joe Thornton deal are also both UFAs after this season. Stuart has been presumed to be the first who will go, but Sturm (12 goals, 22 points this year) won't break the bank on his next contract and has had playoff success (nine assists and 15 points in 38 games) in years past.
Manny Legace, STL
He started the season slow, but Legace has since been playing like gangbusters for the Blues and has a 10-3-1 record with three shutouts since Dec. 31. He also has no contract commitments beyond this season and would only cost the team that acquires him roughly $500,000.
Martin Biron, BUF
Biron's name has been consistently mentioned in trade rumors ever since Ryan Miller assumed No. 1 goalie status in Buffalo. Sabres GM Darcy Regier almost certainly won't be able to re-sign him in the off-season, so the only question is whether or not the organization is comfortable with watching an asset walk away for nothing in return. I think they'll want something in return.
Gary Roberts, FLA
Clearly, Roberts has no future with the Panthers. He also has a no-trade deal that allows him to choose his destination. The Maple Leafs and Senators are often mentioned as the front-runners in any potential deal for the ageless wonder, but don't discount a team like the Canadiens, who could use Roberts' grit and leadership, from joining the bidding.
Martin Lapointe, CHI
Like the recently traded Craig Conroy, Lapointe is a solid citizen who has another season and $2.4 million left on his current contract. The Hawks are definitely in sell mode, and nobody other than Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin and Tuomo Ruutu are safe.
At least one member of the defense corps, CAR
When the Hurricanes get all their blueliners back from injury, they'll have 10 D-men from which to choose. You have to figure guys such as Frantisek Kaberle, Bret Hedican and Glen Wesley won't be moved, meaning if I were David Tanabe, Niclas Wallin or Andrew Hutchinson, I wouldn't be making many long-term plans in the Carolinas.
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