By now, the buyers have made their shopping lists.
With the NHL’s trade deadline set for 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 27, general managers are running short on time to make improvements to their rosters. They know who they want and have to find a way to seal the deal—or deals.
Here’s a closer look at 15 players that are being discussed. They are divided into five likely to be traded (bags are packed), five who could be traded (waiting by the phone) and five outside possibilities (wild cards):
Bags Are Packed
Jaroslav Spacek, Carolina
Contract: $3.83-million cap hit, pending unrestricted free agent
Skinny: Already moved once this season in the trade that saw Tomas Kaberle go to Montreal, Spacek remains a good rental option for a contender. The veteran defenceman brings nearly 900 games of NHL experience and can fill in with minutes on special teams.
Marek Zidlicky, Minnesota
Contract: $4-million cap hit through 2012-13
Skinny: A former 50-point blue-liner, Zidlicky is looking for a fresh start. The veteran didn’t take kindly to being made a healthy scratch by coach Mike Yeo earlier in the season and has asked to be moved. He controls his own fate with a no-trade clause.
Mark Eaton, N.Y. Islanders
Contract: $2.5-million cap hit, pending unrestricted free agent
Skinny: With the Islanders seemingly en route to another year outside of the post-season, GM Garth Snow will take calls on his expiring contracts. Eaton won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and represents a fairly inexpensive option for teams looking to add depth on the blue-line.
Ales Hemsky, Edmonton
Contract: $4.1-million cap hit, pending unrestricted free agent
Skinny: One of the few skilled players on the market, Hemsky can fill a top-six forward role on a number of contending teams. The fact his contract is expiring makes him even more appealing.
Travis Moen, Montreal
Contract: $1.5-million cap hit, pending unrestricted free agent
Skinny: Pierre Gauthier’s decision to trade Hal Gill last week left many believing the Habs GM has decided to be a seller at the deadline. If that’s the case, Moen will be a sought-after commodity. The veteran forward plays a solid two-way game and was a major contributor in Anaheim’s Stanley Cup run in 2006.
Waiting By The Phone
Luke Schenn, Toronto
Contract: $3.6-million cap hit through 2015-16
Skinny: The trade rumours have followed Schenn closely during an up-and-down season. At times, the young defenceman seems to be out of favour with coach Ron Wilson but he’s an appealing asset to other teams. Still just 22, he’s in his fourth NHL season.
Derek Roy, Buffalo
Contract: $4-million cap hit through 2012-13
Skinny: The diminutive centre is having a bit of a down season offensively—he’s not alone among Sabres players on that front—but will still draw interest. Buffalo has very little room to operate below the salary cap and Roy could be the odd man out if GM Darcy Regier decides to make a splash.
Jeff Carter, Columbus
Contract: $5.27-million cap hit through 2021-22
Skinny: Really, the only question is whether a team can stomach that contract? Carter has registered the eighth-highest goal total in the entire league since 2009 and is a game-breaker when he’s at his best. Columbus is a motivated seller, too.
Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay
Contract: $4.5-million cap hit through 2014-15
Skinny: The six-foot-four winger is on pace for just 15 goals this season, but remains an intriguing option. He’s been playing more than 20 minutes per game since returning from an upper-body injury earlier this month and has plenty of playoff experience. Malone holds a no-movement clause.
Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles
Contract: $1.25-million cap hit through 2012-13
Skinny: Bernier is arguably the most valuable trading piece Kings GM Dean Lombardi holds heading into a big deadline for the organization. The former first-round pick is stuck behind Jonathan Quick in the rotation—he’s made just 11 appearances this season—and will likely need to head elsewhere to secure a No. 1 job.
Rick Nash, Columbus
Contract: $7.8-million cap hit through 2017-18
Skinny: No one has generated more pre-deadline buzz than Nash, who has been the face of the Blue Jackets since getting drafted first overall in 2002. Despite the interest his availability has generated, it’s unlikely he’ll be changing addresses prior to Feb. 27—Columbus is seeking a mint in exchange for its captain.
James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia
Contract: $4.25-million cap hit through 2017-18
Skinny: The big forward has a lot of suitors and should net a decent return if GM Paul Holmgren elects to make a move. The Flyers are always aggressive, especially at this time of year, so nothing can be ruled out.
Cory Schneider, Vancouver
Contract: $900,000 cap hit, pending restricted free agent
Skinny: It’s hard to imagine the Canucks parting with an excellent insurance policy in goal, but it remains an outside possibility with GMs talking trade. Schneider is widely considered the best goaltender not currently filling a No. 1 role.
Jack Johnson, Los Angeles
Contract: $4.36-million cap hit through 2017-18
Skinny: With the Kings looking to make deals, Johnson’s name has emerged as a potential trade piece. The 25-year-old defenceman is an offensive-minded player who can quarterback a power play. He’ll only be moved if Lombardi makes a major deal.
Zach Parise, New Jersey
Contract: $6-million cap hit, pending unrestricted free agent
Skinny: The Devils risk losing their captain for nothing if they hang on to Parise past the deadline. However, with the cash-strapped team climbing the standings, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll be moved. Don’t be surprised if the skilled forward signs elsewhere on July 1, however.