Earlier Thursday, we touched on the situation for the Dallas Stars as the Trade Deadline approaches. The Stars could go in a few different directions, and they are not alone.
There are probably 28 teams that still think the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a remote possibility, though that number could shrink by a few well before the deadline. Still, there is a group of teams that will have to decide if now is the time to strike and add a player or players to bolster a playoff run, or if sticking to the original plan of patience and developing a contender through young players.
Here’s a look at a few of those teams that could swing the number of buyers and sellers and alter the market of available players in drastic fashion:
DALLAS STARS: As already discussed, the Stars are in ninth place and could buy, sell or stay put. GM Joe Nieuwenduk has retooled the roster and there are young centerpieces in place like Jamie Benn, Alex Goligoski and Loui Eriksson and a couple of potential impact prospects in Scott Glennie, Jamie Oleksiak and Jack Campbell.
OTTAWA SENATORS: Nobody thought the Senators would even be in a position to battle for a playoff spot, let alone solidly in the top six of the Eastern Conference. Now that the Senators are a legitimate playoff contender, should GM Bryan Murray try to add veterans one year after dealing a bunch of them away and starting a rebuild? The Senators have prospects and young players at every position and no obvious long-term holes, but Murray may want to build on the momentum of this surprising campaign.
COLORADO AVALANCHE: The Avalanche have yo-yoed a bit in recent seasons, ending up with high picks in 2009 and 2011 with a surprise playoff appearance in 2010 mixed in. Colorado is back in the mix again this season. GM Greg Sherman made a big splash by paying a high price for young goaltender Semyon Varlamov, but veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere has taken control of the nets in Denver and has helped the Avalanche to within a point of eighth place in the Western Conference. The Avalanche could make a push, or they can sit tight and be content with a nice collection of young talent with which to build. If they stumble and decide to sell, don’t be surprised if Sherman tries to obtain high picks in the 2012 Entry Draft after dealing his first pick in 2012 and a No. 2 in either 2012 or 2013 for Varlamov.
WINNIPEG JETS: The Jets are five points back in both the race for the Southeast Division title and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Winnipeg is a young team and given it is the first year back in Manitoba there may not be as much pressure to make the playoffs as there might be in places like Dallas, Minnesota and Florida. Still, the Jets have plenty of salary-cap space and could also look to add some help up front and make a push for an even more memorable return for the NHL in Winnipeg.