This is going to be a division-by-division look around the NHL and the different needs, in the short- and long-term, each club might be looking to remedy between now and Feb. 27.
A quick note: Salary cap information comes from Capgeek.com. Acquisition space is different than a team's salary-cap space -- it is how much salary a team can add on that day and be in compliance from then until the end of the season. The number changes daily, but each team's figure for this exercise will be what it was Feb. 4 unless that team makes a major move.
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SAN JOSE SHARKS
Record: 29-15-6, 64 points (third in the West)
Goals for: 2.78 (10th in the NHL)
Goals against: 2.28 (fifth)
Power play: 18.9 percent (T-ninth)
Penalty kill: 78.6 percent (26th)
Key injuries: RW Martin Havlat (due back before playoffs)
Acquisition space: $7.410 million
Skinny: GM Doug Wilson made some major changes during the offseason, adding defenseman Brent Burns and forward Martin Havlat, who is currently injured. He also made a couple of deft depth moves on defense by adding Colin White and Jim Vandermeer. The Sharks have a strong top five on the blue line and three valid options to be the No. 6.
With a healthy Havlat, San Jose can match firepower up front with just about any team, as well. If Wilson is going to look for help, it might be a third-line/energy forward who can play on the penalty kill. The Sharks are pretty thin in the prospect department, in part because of the Burns deal.
Expect Wilson to be pretty quiet, but he could make one of those under-the-radar deals that loom large in late May. He also has a goaltender (Antero Niittymaki) that he could send to a non-rival, but the return likely will be minimal.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Record: 26-18-10, 62 points (7th)
Goals for: 2.11 (30th)
Goals against: 2.06 (3rd)
Power play: 15.7 percent (21st)
Penalty kill: 87.2 percent (4th)
Key injuries: Simon Gagne (out indefinitely)
Acquisition space: $2.306 million
Skinny: If GM Dean Lombardi can find a deal that will help coax more offense out of the Kings, expect him to be interested. The problem is with the players already on the roster -- they should be scoring significantly more goals than they are.
GAA: 2.66 | SVP: 0.896
The best trade chip is backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, but Lombardi would want a hefty return. He's shown a willingness to make significant moves around this time of year, so don't be surprised if the Kings are among the suitors for a top offensive player.
Record: 25-21-8, 56 points (9th)
Goals for: 2.61 (15th)
Goals against: 2.56 (9th)
Power play: 12.5 percent (29th)
Penalty kill: 83.6 percent (11th)
Key injuries: None
Acquisition space: $31.493 million
Skinny: Coach Dave Tippett and GM Don Maloney have managed to coax a team few expected to be playoff-worthy into the postseason in each of the past two seasons. Maloney may have some work to do this month if it is going to happen again.
SOG: 118 | +/-: 16
If the Coyotes decide to go in the other direction, forwards Ray Whitney and Daymond Langkow could be coveted if they are willing to waive their no-move clauses. Maloney already has said captain Shane Doan will not be available. Phoenix has a couple of prized prospects on defense but a better long-term solution in net or an impact scorer up front would be a welcome addition for the future.
Record: 27-23-2, 56 points (11th)
Goals for: 2.56 (17th)
Goals against: 2.81 (19th)
Power play: 14.6 percent (23rd)
Penalty kill: 82.3 percent (16th)
Key injuries: LW Brenden Morrow (due back mid-February)
Acquisition space: $42.871 million
Skinny: Dallas could be an interesting player this month. The Stars have stability in ownership and the space to acquire any player they want on the market.
SOG: 129 | +/-: 11
If the Stars decide to buy, one more top-six forward would be a nice addition. They also could look to move a pending unrestricted free agent defenseman like Nicklas Grossman or Sheldon Souray if things go south in the next couple of weeks.
Record: 20-24-8, 48 points (13th)
Goals for: 2.56 (19th)
Goals against: 2.92 (T-24th)
Power play: 17.3 percent (16th)
Penalty kill: 83.7 percent (10th)
Key injuries: None
Acquisition space: $14.371 million
Skinny: After a nice run before the All-Star break, the Ducks have stalled a bit in their quest to make a run at playoff contention. It is probably time for GM Bob Murray to decide how much he wants to revamp his roster for next season.
SOG: 105 | +/-: -15
Murray doesn't have a lot of attractive pending unrestricted free agents (assuming Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu aren't available), but if he puts a core player on the market (think Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Lubomir Visnovsky), he could have many offers to consider. The Ducks are not particularly flush with impact prospects, and moving one of those three almost certainly would bring that type of return.