Tight races for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each conference have left some teams in limbo about whether to be buyers or sellers, or to stand pat. Others have been trying to figure out whether to keep or trade players who can become unrestricted free agents July 1.
Here's a look at 10 teams that might make the biggest impact before the trade deadline:
The Senators have been at or near the bottom of the NHL standings all season and will be seeking assets to assist in their rebuild.
Ottawa traded center Matt Duchene, a potential unrestricted free agent, and defenseman prospect Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday for forward prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and conditional first-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Video: Tanguay on the adjustment period for Matt Duchene
Then on Saturday, the Senators traded forward Ryan Dzingel, another potential UFA, and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Blue Jackets for forward Anthony Duclair and a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and the 2021 NHL Draft.
The picture, however, is less clear for potential UFA forward Mark Stone, who leads the Senators in scoring. Sportsnet reported that Ottawa recently revived contract talks with the 26-year-old and is making another push to see if they can get him to agree to a new contract.
Stone was a healthy scratch for the second straight game Friday when the Senators hosted Duchene and the Blue Jackets at Canadian Tire Centre and he is not expected to be in the lineup Sunday when Ottawa is home to the Calgary Flames (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NHL.TV).
New York Rangers
Despite playing surprisingly well this season, the Rangers are in the bottom five of the Eastern Conference and are committed to a rebuild that began late last season.
New York made its first big move Saturday, trading 31-year-old forward Mats Zuccarello, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, to the Dallas Stars for a conditional second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Meanwhile 26-year-old forward Kevin Hayes, who also can become a UFA on July 1, is expected to be traded and was a healthy scratch in New York's 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils and is expected to be held out of the lineup Sunday when the Rangers play the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena (12:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NBCWA, MSG, NHL.TV).
Defenseman Adam McQuaid is another potential UFA who would have value to a team looking to add a veteran who's won the Stanley Cup.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Status: It's complicated
The Blue Jackets could be buyers and sellers depending on what they decide to do with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Artemi Panarin, who each can become a UFA and isn't interested in contract discussions during the season. That leaves general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in a difficult position where he needs to figure out what he could potentially get back in a trade (if Bobrovsky agrees to waive the no-movement clause in his contract) and whether he could use those assets to add other players.
Video: CBJ@CHI: Panarin cashes in on Bjorkstrand's nice feed
Columbus is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the best goaltender in the NHL (2012-13, 2016-17), might represent the Blue Jackets' best chance to win a postseason series for the first time in their 18-season history. Panarin is Columbus' most-skilled forward and leads the Blue Jackets in scoring.
The Blue Jackets already made two significant moves when they acquired Duchene from the Senators on Friday and Dzingel from Ottawa on Saturday.
The Jets went all-in at the trade deadline last season by acquiring center Paul Stastny, who had an expiring contract, from the St. Louis Blues for a conditional first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and forward prospect Erik Foley. Winnipeg is in a similar position this season, battling the Predators for first place in the Central Division, looking for more scoring theup front and well stocked with prospects.
The Jets have been mentioned as possible destinations for Hayes and Stone, and the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and Senators GM Pierre Dorion met in Cheveldayoff's suite during the second intermission of an American Hockey League game between Milwaukee and Manitoba, the Jets' top farm team, in Winnipeg on Sunday.
The Predators have flown under the radar a bit with the Jets, Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks battling it out for first in the Western Conference and the Tampa Bay Lightning running away in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. However, Nashville, which advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and won the Presidents' Trophy last season, remains one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup, and GM David Poile has always been aggressive in the trade market.
The Predators, who already acquired bottom-six forwards Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod in recent weeks, have been linked to Panarin and Stone. After refusing to trade coveted forward prospect Eeli Tolvanen last season, will Poile move the 19-year-old or 22-year-old forward Kevin Fiala this season?
Bruins GM Don Sweeney said David Pastrnak's left thumb injury won't impact his approach before the trade deadline. Perhaps that's because Boston was looking to add scoring depth at forward even before Pastrnak was injured at a team function Feb. 10.
Pastrnak will be re-evaluated in one week, which happens to coincide with the trade deadline. Forward Charlie Coyle was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Video: How Pastrnak's absence will affect the Bruins
The Bruins are jockeying for second place in the Atlantic Division with the Toronto Maple Leafs in arguably the most important battle for home-ice advantage in a potential Eastern Conference First Round series.
It's no secret the Bruins were top-heavy offensively with the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak. That was why coach Bruce Cassidy moved Danton Heinen up to the first line and Pastrnak shifted to the second line with David Krejci before the injury.
Boston has been linked to Panarin, Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and Carolina Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland.
The Stars are in position to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2015-16.
With goalie Ben Bishop mentioned as a possible Vezina Trophy candidate this season, Dallas is one of the best teams defensively in the NHL. But the Stars have struggled to score goals all season. So there's an obvious need for scoring depth, and GM Jim Nill said in a Q&A with NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger that he plans to be active on the trade market, including potentially for players on expiring contracts.
Dallas made two trades on Saturday, adding Zuccarello up front in a deal with the Rangers and acquiring defenseman Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
New York Islanders
The Islanders have been one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season, leading the Metropolitan Division one season after missing the playoffs and losing captain John Tavares to the Maple Leafs in free agency in the offseason. GM Lou Lamoriello won't abandon his plan to build the Islanders for long-term success, but the three-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils (1995, 2000 and 2003) also understands the importance of taking advantage of opportunities.
Video: EDM@NYI: Lehner slides across to rob Klefbom
Under coach Barry Trotz, the Islanders have fixed their defensive structure and have received outstanding goaltending from Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss. However, New York is in the bottom third in the NHL in goal-scoring.
Look for the Islanders to keep forwards Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, who each can become a UFA on July 1, and try to add scoring depth instead before the deadline.
The Capitals were able to keep most of their roster intact after winning the Stanley Cup last season with the hope that their chemistry would help them repeat. They are in a decent position in the Eastern Conference standings but continue to search for consistency. Washington acquired forward Carl Hagelin in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional sixth-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft. On Friday, the Capitals acquired defenseman Nick Jensen and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft from the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Video: COL@WSH: Burakovsky tips home Oshie's nice feed
In a meeting with the media Feb. 4, Washington GM Brian MacLellan said he'd like to shake up the chemistry among his bottom-six forwards. Andre Burakovsky, who can become a UFA, remains a candidate to be traded for another top-nine forward or for assets that can be used to acquire one.
The Wild are in a desperate battle to earn their way into the playoffs, but a recent spate of losses and poor play has undermined their chances. Normally, that would make Minnesota a candidate to add players or at least keep potential UFA forward Eric Staal for the home stretch.
But The Athletic reported Thursday that GM Paul Fenton has received permission from ownership to do whatever is necessary to improve Minnesota now and in the future, including trading its core players.
Staal, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, reportedly has a 10-team no-trade clause.
The Wild sold off one piece on Wednesday, trading foward Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.