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Pending UFA trade candidates

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s hard to believe, but the NHL trade deadline is one week away.

Many names have cycled around the rumor mill for months and we’ll find out some time in the next seven days if these moves come to fruition. Roberto Luongo, Ales Hemsky and Keith Yandle are some of the names who have popped up, but we decided to take a closer look at some players who are set to become UFAs this July and the chances they get traded.

Of note is Miikka Kiprusoff, who we decided to leave off this list after it came out that he wouldn’t report to any other team, for family reasons.

10. Mike Smith

How about chewing on this one: if the Coyotes don’t have an extension in place with Smith by April 3, what should they do? Phoenix needs its playoff dates more than anyone and trading away the netminder who brought them so much unexpected success would run against that, but they also can’t afford to lose him for nothing. And with the uncertainty around this franchise, will Smith sign long-term? There has to be a concern Smith won’t perform as well once he leaves Dave Tippett’s system, much like what happened with Ilya Bryzgalov. Smith appears at No. 10 on this list not because that’s where his talent ranks, but because trading him is a long shot.

9. Adrian Aucoin

This is the first year in more than a decade that Aucoin isn’t averaging more than 20 minutes a game, but he would add a defensive presence to a third pairing. The 39-year-old posted a plus-3 rating over 22 games and three post-seasons with Phoenix. While he won’t be a main piece of any contender, depth is a common denominator on all championship squads, and you could do worse than to have him pulling down 16-plus minutes for you.

8. Steve Sullivan

Sullivan’s ice time has been declining for the past five years, but he’s still a useful depth piece for a playoff club. Over the past three years, Sullivan has played in 21 post-season games, scoring four goals and 12 points in that span. He could land a spot as a support winger on a second line, or as a scoring option on a third line. Great complementary piece.

7. Tyler Bozak

The 27-year-old pivot has been a real nice player for the Leafs this year, winning 53 percent of his faceoffs, logging more than 20 minutes a game and being a power play regular. He’s been linked to Roberto Luongo rumors since they first started surfacing last summer and the only way the Leafs would consider moving Bozak is if they were filling their goaltending need, or getting a significant enough upgrade down the middle. Since his deal is set to expire and a raise is in order, a Bozak trade becomes more likely if he’s part of a larger package.

6. Robyn Regehr

He would attract the same market as Aucoin, but Regehr is younger and still logs upwards of 18 minutes a game, so he’d be the more pricey option. It’s been five years since Regehr saw a post-season game, but if anything, that fact would lead you to believe he’s hungrier than ever. Regehr is the go-to guy on Buffalo’s PK unit and plays a physical game that all contenders seek.

5. Ryan Whitney

This one has been speculated all season and the fact Whitney has been a healthy scratch eight times clearly shows he’s no longer a fit in Edmonton. Rather than lose him for nothing, the Oilers would be wise to take the best offer they can get between now and the deadline. Whitney’s speed may have taken a hit, but he’s still a capable puck-mover who would be able to help improve a playoff team’s power play.

4. Ryane Clowe/Michal Handzus

It appears the window of opportunity for the Sharks has slammed shut after spending about a decade as a contender. While it would be a tough call to trade off veterans when the team is still very much in the playoff picture, something has to change the long-term outlook of this team. It’s time to explore options for Clowe and Handzus, who should be able to find a home on a contender’s depth line. Rumors have been floating around about the Sharks and these pending UFAs would be great additions to established teams.

3. Jaromir Jagr

Dallas would like to keep him, but if they’re not willing to pony up for Jagr, he’ll easily find someone else who will on the open market. The Stars could surely get a draft pick and/or a young body in exchange for the future Hall of Famer, who would be a great add to any power play unit. You’d think if Dallas was inclined to move him, they’d send him back to the Eastern Conference.

2. Mike Ribeiro

This one is tricky. The Capitals could use Ribeiro next year, because without him there would suddenly be a large gap down the middle. He’s led Washington in scoring this season after being acquired from the Stars, but wants a long-term commitment on his next contract. If Washington doesn’t have a deal in place by April 3, they’d have to explore trading him, since they just gave up Cody Eakin and a second round pick to get him for a shortened season. Lots of teams are in need of a skilled center, so there would be a good market for one who is having a very good season.

1. Jarome Iginla

The big fish in this year’s trade waters, Iginla doesn’t want to be a rental player and would like to sign an extension with whatever team he is traded to. Underrate Iginla’s remaining effectiveness at your own peril, as the 35-year-old has hit the 30-goal plateau for the past 11 years in a row, despite not having a top line center to complement his skills. Add Iginla to a contender with a skilled roster and you might be surprised to find just how much he has left in the tank.

Editor's Note: Iginla was traded to the Penguins early Thursday morning.

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