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Deadline Primer: Brodeur, Callahan, Kesler big names

Monday, 03.03.2014 / 1:43 PM / 2014 Trade Deadline

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Deadline Primer: Brodeur, Callahan, Kesler big names
The NHL Trade Deadline is set for 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday and three of the most intriguing players being discussed in possible trades are New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, and Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler.

The most decorated goalie in NHL history, the captain of one of the League's most celebrated franchises, and one of the grittiest centers in the game might all have to change their addresses later this week.

The NHL Trade Deadline is set for 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday and three of the most intriguing players being discussed in possible trades are New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, and Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler.

There were, however, some interesting plot twists Monday regarding Brodeur and Callahan. Brodeur was announced as the Devils' starting goalie for their game Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings at Prudential Center, and Callahan reportedly lowered his contract demands as negotiations toward an extension continue with the Rangers.

Ryan Callahan, Martin Brodeur and Ryan Kesler are among the intriguing names that could be switching addresses by the time the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline passes at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI, Scott Levy/NHLI, Jeff Vinnick/NHLI)

Where that leaves the Devils goalie and the Rangers right wing come Wednesday is still a mystery.

Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts, among other statistical categories, has played his entire 21-year career with the Devils. However, with Cory Schneider entrenched as the No. 1 goalie in New Jersey, Brodeur has repeatedly said all season that he would be open to a trade if it gives him a chance to play more and helps the Devils in the long run.

Brodeur has been talked about in rumors involving the Minnesota Wild, a team that needs to solidify its goaltending for a push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild seem like the perfect fit for Brodeur because they would likely provide an opportunity for him to play more than he is with the Devils.

The Wild have been riding rookie Darcy Kuemper, who has played well (10-3-2, 2.20 goals-against average, .924 save percentage) and looks like he might be a future No. 1 goalie. However, can Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher rely solely on Kuemper once the playoffs come around, especially with no reliable No. 2 option behind him right now?

Probably not.

Josh Harding was a great story earlier in the season, but his multiple sclerosis has put him on the shelf. Niklas Backstrom has had injury issues all season and the Wild can't bank on him as a legitimate option should Kuemper falter.

Brodeur could split time with Kuemper down the stretch. It would essentially be an open competition for the No. 1 job in the playoffs.

However, it's not clear if Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello wants to pull the trigger on a trade that would ship the most important player in the history of the franchise out of the only organization he has ever known. Lamoriello hasn't said anything publicly to declare his intentions one way or another, and he likely won't.

The Wild, though, should be targeting other goalies as well, such as Jaroslav Halak.

It doesn't seem likely that the marriage between Halak and the Buffalo Sabres will last more than just a few days. Halak is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season and the Sabres, who acquired the goalie in last week's blockbuster that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues, are clearly in the sellers' category with the deadline approaching.

Provided Halak and Brodeur are available, it might come down to what the Wild would have to pay or be willing to pay to acquire either of them. Fletcher would be in a position to choose the cheaper option if this is the route he goes down.

Callahan's situation is about dollars and sense, but how much are the Rangers willing to spend to keep their captain?

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com and TSN reported Monday that Callahan has come down on his term from his original demand of seven years and is now asking for six, but he's still looking for in the neighborhood of $6.5 million annually. The money is too rich for the Rangers, who may be concerned about the long-term viability of Callahan considering the style he plays.

Callahan has already missed time this season because of injuries to his shoulder, wrist and left knee.

If the sides can't come to terms on a new contract by Wednesday, the Rangers will likely trade their captain even though they're in the playoff race in the Metropolitan Division and Callahan is playing on their second line.

Kesler is another big name to monitor. Could he be on the move out of Vancouver?

A Kesler trade seemed farfetched before the Olympics, but the Canucks are still struggling and could be in line for a shakeup. There is obviously plenty of interest in Kesler, so much so that TSN's Darren Dreger reported Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero will try to do anything he can to acquire the gritty center before the deadline.

Imagine if the Penguins had a lineup down the middle that included Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kesler? In fact, with Brandon Sutter as well, it would make sense to move Kesler to Crosby's right wing. The Red Wings would also seem like a great landing spot for Kesler, who is from Livonia, Mich., approximately 20 miles from Joe Louis Arena.

However, Canucks GM Mike Gillis has to be willing to deal here, and it would have to be a blockbuster because Kesler is signed for two more seasons after this one with a reasonable $5 million salary-cap charge.

Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny is in a similar situation as Callahan. The Denver Post reported over the weekend Stastny might be traded if he and the team can't agree on a new contract or at least make headway toward one before Wednesday.

The Avalanche are a playoff-bound team and are understandably leery about disrupting their chemistry, but they also don't want to lose Stastny for nothing in the offseason.

It's a bit more cut and dried with New York Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek, and Sabres forwards Matt Moulson and Chris Stewart.

The Islanders and Sabres are not playoff-bound this season. Vanek and Moulson are targeting big paydays when they hit the free-agent market on July 1. There will be no hometown discounts given, so it makes sense for them to be on the move before the deadline.

Stewart is signed through next season with a salary-cap charge of $4.15, but Buffalo GM Tim Murray might be intent on moving him for more future assets to help his rebuild.

The Los Angeles Kings have been the rumored destination for Vanek. It makes a lot of sense for Kings GM Dean Lombardi to try to get him.

Despite their 3-0 record since the NHL returned from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Kings are still 28th in the NHL with 2.32 goals per game. Vanek would give L.A.'s offense the jolt it needs similar to what Jeff Carter did for the Kings two years ago. Vanek has 44 points in 47 games with the Islanders and is coming off a three-point game in a loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

The Kings, though, could also be targeting Moulson, who used to be part of the organization and is goalie Jonathan Quick's brother-in-law. However, Shero is never shy in these situations and he might want to get in on the Moulson sweepstakes.

Either way, Moulson appears to be in a good situation as a guy who could go play with his brother-in-law in L.A. or with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh.

The Buffalo News reported Sunday the Ottawa Senators are interested in Stewart. Murray, of course, has ties to the Senators as he came to Buffalo earlier this season after seven years as the assistant GM in Ottawa. He is keenly aware of the Senators' prospects and draft picks available.

Here are some other names to watch with the deadline approaching:

* Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky is expected to be traded before the deadline. Hemsky is in the final year of his contract and doesn't appear to have a future in Edmonton. The Oilers also might try to move goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, forward Ryan Smyth and defenseman Nick Schultz.

* In addition to Vanek, the Islanders might be inclined to move defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who has an expiring contract.

* Schultz and MacDonald could be intriguing options for the Boston Bruins, who are in the market for veteran help on the blue line because of injuries to Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. Seidenberg is out for the season and the Bruins aren't sure when McQuaid will be ready to return to the lineup. He missed his 11th straight game Sunday with an injury in his groin/hip region.

* Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri could be an intriguing rental option for contending teams looking for some offense. He's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

* Nashville Predators general manager David Poile has to consider what he wants to do with forward David Legwand, who has played his entire career with the organization. Nashville has ground to make up in the playoff race and Legwand is headed toward unrestricted free agency this summer. He could be a good pickup for a team looking to bolster its center depth, but Legwand would have to waive his no-trade clause to be dealt.

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness