The races are tight and several teams are looking for the exact same thing.
Welcome to the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, where unpredictability rules as the majority of general managers still aren't sure how they will approach things, or even what their approach should be, with only 12 days left before the deadline at 3 p.m. ET on April 3.
NHL.com is here to offer you a trade deadline primer, a look at all 30 teams and what they potentially could do before the final buzzer sounds on this year's trading season.
Here is a peak into the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, in alphabetical order:
Boston Bruins: The Bruins are in the hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference and GM Peter Chiarelli likely doesn't want to tinker too much. However, the Bruins have been included in the Jarome Iginla rumors and could look to acquire the Calgary Flames captain assuming they're amenable to the asking price. Chiarelli told NHL.com that right now the demands for sought-after players across the League are high. If the Bruins do nothing at the deadline they'd still be in a good position to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Buffalo Sabres: It's hard to nail down exactly what players GM Darcy Regier would be willing to deal before the deadline, but chances are he'll listen on just about anybody. If teams are looking for defensemen, they can inquire about Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold -- both have expiring contracts. Regier recently floated the possibility that goalie Ryan Miller and forwards Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek could be available. Miller, Pominville and Vanek all have contracts that expire after next season.
Carolina Hurricanes: GM Jim Rutherford has been trying to acquire a depth defenseman all season and his pursuit won't stop now, especially with Justin Faulk sidelined 2-4 weeks with a knee injury. If the Hurricanes were fading, maybe Alexander Semin would be available, but Rutherford hopes to re-sign him. Cam Ward is out, but Dan Ellis and Justin Peters are handling the goaltending duties for now and keeping the Hurricanes in the race.
Florida Panthers: GM Dale Tallon is not ready to blow up his roster and start from scratch because injuries to key players have been the Panthers' biggest problem this season. In fact, the injuries are impacting Tallon's plans at the deadline, too, because Stephen Weiss and Jose Theodore are hurt and won't be back this season. Weiss and Theodore are both unrestricted free agents after the season. If Tallon can get the right deal for someone like Tomas Fleischmann he may take it, but the Panthers might just have to take their lumps this season and re-adjust during the summer.
Montreal Canadiens: Rental players appear to not interest GM Marc Bergevin, because he's building for the future and won't give that up to win right now. If a player like Pominville becomes available perhaps Bergevin would inquire, but otherwise the Habs will be on the lookout for some depth, likely on the back end.
New Jersey Devils: Lou Lamoriello usually does something at the deadline, so it's fair to expect something out of the typically tight-lipped GM. If defenseman Henrik Tallinder gets healthy, the Devils again will have eight blueliners on the roster and could look to deal one for some help up front. A top-six forward would be a great get, but they'll have to give up more than just one of their depth defensemen to get that type of player.
New York Islanders: The Islanders aren't going to add much salary at the deadline, so it could be stand-pat mode for GM Garth Snow, unless he targets a rental. His team is in the playoff chase now and could use some help to push it over the edge. Snow has shown in the past that he will go after a rental player (Ryan Smyth in 2007) if he senses his team is close, but many of this season's so-called rental players have no-trade or no-movement clauses and it's fair to wonder if they would want to go to Long Island.
New York Rangers: Depth, depth, depth, depth. Say it again and again and again. The Rangers need it up front and on the back end. They've been rumored to be interested in San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who still has one more season left on his contract, which carries a $6.67 million cap hit. Boyle is familiar with coach John Tortorella as they won the Stanley Cup together in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers, though, have a similarly important need for depth in their bottom-six forward group. Of course, that only will matter if Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards start producing.
Ottawa Senators: GM Bryan Murray is in that difficult position where he wants to add a top-six forward but doesn't want to unload any of his young players to do so. Murray will have to see where his Senators are closer to the deadline before making his determination. If Ottawa doesn't fade away, there's a chance Murray could sacrifice some of his future for the benefit of his present team. If the Senators slump, there are rumors that captain Daniel Alfredsson could be in play. The latter seems unlikely with the way the Senators have held on despite several crushing injuries.
Philadelphia Flyers: It appears for now GM Paul Holmgren is taking the realistic approach and choosing not do anything rash to bolster the roster for a playoff run. Holmgren told NHL.com that he would consider adding a player who could help the Flyers now and in the future, but he's not actively searching. Holmgren also said Danny Briere, who has one season left on his contract, has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause, but if the Flyers don't pick up their play soon that's something that could change. Of course, Holmgren also could be playing coy and working on something big.
Pittsburgh Penguins: If the Flames make Iginla available, it's possible he'd consider waiving his no-movement clause to go to Pittsburgh. If GM Ray Shero wants to pull the trigger on that type of deal, Iginla could come in and play right wing alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. That would push skilled rookie Beau Bennett down the lineup and in effect bolster the Penguins' offensive ability in their bottom-six as well. Shero, though, could be in the market for a top-four defenseman. The problem is those kind of players aren't so easy to find.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Two of the major offseason moves GM Steve Yzerman made haven't paid off as of yet, as both goalie Anders Lindback and defenseman Matthew Carle have struggled. The Lightning are fading fast in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but don't expect Yzerman to go into complete overhaul mode. He's a very calculated manager who has a lot of patience. He may want to let the season play out before deciding what changes need to be made.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are in the market for a center and possibly a defensemen. It's possible they won't have to add on defense if Jake Gardiner proves he can stick around this time and make a difference. But the Leafs definitely are thin at center and could use help there, especially if they want to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004. One name being floated in Toronto is Mike Ribeiro, but it's not clear what the Washington Capitals want to do with him. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Washingon Capitals: Speaking of Ribeiro and the Capitals, it's almost time for GM George McPhee to determine if he wants to fish or cut bait. The Capitals are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, so even if they were to go on a hot streak they'd still have to pass several teams to get into a playoff position. If Ribeiro is part of McPhee's plans going forward, then he probably would look to re-sign him instead of trade him, but Ribeiro also is the Capitals' best trade bait because he's a first- or second-line center with an expiring contract.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are contenders for the Southeast Division title, and if they want to go for it then expect GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to be active. He told the Winnipeg Sun he'd like to acquire scoring help toward the top of the lineup to inspire the rest of the team. He also hinted in the same article he'd be looking at center or right wing because he likes the production he's getting out of left wings Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd. The Jets, though, have seven players on expiring contracts, so if the team falters, Cheveldayoff quickly could go into seller mode.