The calendar has flipped to February, and in the course of this NHL season that means it is trade deadline month. There were a couple of interesting trades in January, but hockey's swapping season is likely to pick up in the coming days. Here at NHL.com, we will bring you a daily roundup of reported rumors about who might be available and which teams might be looking to make a move.
BUFFALO: It has been a trying season in Western New York, and the frustration is compounded by the incredibly high expectations after a whirlwind summer of moves to improve the club with new owner Terry Pegula in place. It has been bad times in Buffalo, but bad enough to consider trading the face of the franchise, goaltender Ryan Miller?
GAA: 2.89 | SVP: 0.904
"What happens between now and the NHL trade deadline will reveal how the Sabres feel about Miller and a few others," Gleason writes. "He has a 0.63 goals-against average and .976 save percentage in his last three games. The better he plays, the greater his value. The better he plays, the more tempted they are to keep him.
"And that's what makes the coming weeks so intriguing. Do they trade him with the idea they can make significant upgrades in other areas, assuming they can find a trading partner to take his salary? Or do they keep him with the risk he'll have another season like this one?"
Miller has the third-highest salary-cap hit among goaltenders, though he will be at least fourth next season when Pekka Rinne's extension begins. His 2.89 goals-against average and .904 save percentage are the worst of his career, and Jhonas Enroth has had a strong season backing him up.
Gleason suggests a change might benefit both parties, but Miller is also not that far removed from a wonderful 2009-10 campaign and his transcendent performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics. That kind of move would certainly change the course of the franchise in radical fashion. Miller told Gleason he's not looking to make a move.
"If they came to me and said they wanted to move me, I would want to know why," Miller said to Gleason. "That hasn't been the case. No one has ever asked about my feelings regarding players and movement, especially with myself. People think there's more discussion being done behind the scenes than there really is.
"I hold true to the statement, I'm not going to ask for a trade," he said. "Even if the situation was really, really horrible, I made a commitment. I would like to have some kind of solution before it ever gets to that point."
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"We're studying all of our options," GM Joe Nieuwendyk told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. "I don't think I'm leaning one way or the other on whether we're adding, subtracting or standing still. I think it's too early, and these upcoming games will determine a lot."
Should the Stars decide to look toward the future, there are some attractive options for contending teams to pursue. A pair of high-profile guys are forwards Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, and both have been the subject of trade rumors. Both have a year remaining on their contracts after this one, but both are at reasonable salaries and are guys who could have a big impact for a new club.
"It's been interesting to hear it, because I've never gone through this before," Morrow told Heika. "I know it's a profession, and I understand where I stand, so I'm just going to play and deal with whatever happens on a day-to-day basis."
There are several teams in the same situation as Dallas, able to go in a few different directions during the next few weeks. Nieuwendyk has plenty of cap space if he wants to add and plenty of quality assets, including pending UFAs Sheldon Souray and Nicklas Grossman in addition to Morrow and Ribeiro, if he wants to retool for the future.
PHILADELPHIA: There are not a lot of certainties as this trade deadline approaches -- mostly because so few teams are really "out of it" at this point. One scenario that looks quite likely is Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren's pursuit of a defenseman to help offset the loss of Chris Pronger.
If Pronger is out for the year with a concussion, the Flyers will be able to replace his slightly less than $5 million cap hit thanks to relief from placing him on the long-term injury list. Philadelphia has already been linked to a pair of guys who might not be available -- Nashville's Ryan Suter and newly re-signed Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests two names that could be on Holmgren's list: Carolina's Bryan Allen and Montreal's Hall Gill.
"Allen, a rugged 6-foot-5, 226-pounder, is on the Flyers' radar, according to a League source," Carchidi writes. "He would have to waive a no-trade clause in order to be dealt."
Carchidi also wrote that there "is believed to be a difference of opinion in the Flyers organization" about Gill. While critics often point to Gill's lack of speed, he's been quite an effective player for both Pittsburgh and Montreal in recent postseasons. Both Allen and Gill are pending UFAs, and neither are likely to need to a huge bounty to acquire.