Contenders eye trade targets
National Hockey League general managers use their down time during All-Star break to assess their own teams and check in with their rival team executives.
Expect to hear lots of rumors during the next few days as a result. But which players could actually move in a trade?
And which players could actually impact the playoff races? Here are some players that fall into that category:
Mikhail Grabovski, C, Maple Leafs: He is the classic example of the sort of supplemental scorer that often hits that market before the trade deadline.
Nikolai Kulemin, W, Maple Leafs: He could become available as well. He scored 30 goals last season but has just five so far this season. He is headed to restricted free agency after earning $2.2 million this season.
Antoine Vermette, C, Blue Jackets: He has scored 19 or more goals five times in his career.
Andrei Kostitsyn, W, Canadiens: Here is another classic supplemental scorer.
Martin Havlat, W, Sharks: He suffered a torn hamstring tendon hopping over the boards for a line change. Prior to that, he scored just two goals in his first 26 games for San Jose.
Mason Raymond, W, Canucks: The National Post notes that in his last 171 games since Jan. 1, 2010 — including the playoffs – he has scored 33 goals.
Evgeni Nabokov, GT, Islanders: He is playing very, very well. He carries a modest salary.
Luke Schenn, D, Maple Leafs: Once upon a time he was a cornerstone player for Toronto.
Tim Gleason, D, Hurricanes: Even with Joni Pitkanen shelved well into March while recovering from knee surgery, Carolina is willing to move some veteran defensemen with expiring contracts.
Antero Niittymaki, GT, Sharks: He has cleared waivers, so his fate remains unresolved. He carries a $800,000 cost, so any team claiming him must believe he can make an impact.
Hal Gill, D, Canadiens: Size matters in the NHL and there aren’t many Gill-sized defensemen (6-foot-7, 244 pounds) in the sport.
Marek Zidlicky, D, Wild: Whenever a player of this caliber sits out back-to-back games as healthy scratch, alarms sound around the league.