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Trade Coverage

Trade Deadline primer for Central Division

NHL.com assesses team needs, assets, whether GMs are likely to buy, sell or stand pat

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 1, and the 30 general managers in the League have until then to decide if they are going to buy, sell or stand pat. NHL.com is taking a division-by-division look at where each team stands with less than a month to go before the deadline.

The balance of power is shifting at the top of the Central Division. 

The Minnesota Wild have charged into first place, going 24-4-2 in their past 30 games, and lead the Western Conference.

The top two teams last season in the Central, the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues, are in much less secure positions in the standings. 

Six division teams remain in the running for spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and each will be looking for an edge that may help it reach the postseason. 

Here is a trade deadline primer for the Central Division:

NOTE: Salary-cap figures from capfriendly.com 

 

MINNESOTA WILD (35-12-6, 76 points) 

 

Where they stand: First place in Central Division  

What they need: A fourth-line center or wing who can join the top nine 

Pending UFAs: D Nate Prosser, D Victor Bartley, G Darcy Kuemper 

Pending RFAs: RW Mikael Granlund, RW Nino Niederreiter, C Erik Haula, C Jordan Schroeder, D Mike Reilly, D Christian Folin 

Projected cap space at deadline: $2.3 million 

Current contracts: 47 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: C Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes; C Brian Boyle, Tampa Bay Lightning; RW Radim Vrbata, Arizona Coyotes; RW Jarome Ignila, Colorado Avalanche 

Potential assets: Haula, Kuemper, Prosser, C Charlie Coyle 

Biggest trade chip: Coyle, though it's possible GM Chuck Fletcher won't use it. Coyle has had his struggles, but a first-place team can afford more patience than those on the bubble. 

2016 deadline: Fletcher made three trades on deadline day but none involving front-line players. 

GM's deadline track record: Fletcher consistently has tried to shore up his team prior to the deadline, with mixed results. In 2013, he made one of the biggest moves when he acquired forward Jason Pominville and a 2014 fourth-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for goaltender Matt Hackett, forward Johan Larsson, a 2013 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick. Fletcher has a good thing going this season; he will be careful. 
 
 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (33-17-5, 71 points) 

 

Where they stand: Second place in Central Division 

What they need: Some plug-and-play experience and/or skill up front for third or fourth line 

Pending UFAs: D Brian Campbell, LW Andrew Desjardins, RW Jordin Tootoo, D Michal Rozsival, G Scott Darling 

Pending RFAs: LW Richard Panik, C Tanner Kero, C Dennis Rasmussen, D Michal Kempny 

Projected cap space at deadline: $1.8 million 

Current contracts: 43 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 10 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: RW Radim Vrbata, Arizona Coyotes; RW Drew Stafford, Winnipeg Jets; RW Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche; LW Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars 

Potential assets: Darling, Desjardins 

Biggest trade chip: Desjardins, given his pending UFA status 

2016 deadline: The Blackhawks made a big push prior to the deadline, acquiring forward Andrew Ladd from Winnipeg, forward Tomas Fleischmann from the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Tim Jackman from the Anaheim Ducks. The cost was high -- a 2016 first-round pick and a second-rounder in 2018, among other assets - and Chicago lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

GM's deadline track record: Stan Bowman is not afraid to move and has been a main player prior to the two most recent deadlines. In 2015, he acquired forward Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, and it paid off with a third Stanley Cup title in six seasons. Chicago may soon start taking a new route by not expending so many future assets for deadline moves. 
 
 

NASHVILLE PREDATORS (26-19-8, 60 points)

 

Where they stand: Third place in Central Division 

What they need: Top-six forward. They already have acquired depth in center Vernon Fiddler from the New Jersey Devils and forward Cody McLeod from Colorado. 

Pending UFAs: C Mike Fisher, C Mike Ribeiro, Fiddler, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, D Brad Hunt, D Yannick Weber 

Pending RFAs: C Ryan Johansen, LW Viktor Arvidsson, LW Austin Watson, LW Pontus Aberg 

Projected cap space at deadline: $17.3 million 

Current contracts: 45 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: C Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; RM Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche 

Potential assets: Fisher, Ribeiro, LW Kevin Fiala 

Biggest trade chip: Fisher. GM David Poile will tread carefully because the Predators seem to have found a rhythm since the start of 2017. Disrupting chemistry isn't something he's afraid of, but he's aware he's done plenty of that in the past year, having traded captain Shea Weber on June 29. 

2016 deadline: Nashville made one trade, acquiring defenseman Corey Potter from Arizona for future considerations. Poile had made his major move nearly two months before the deadline, trading defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Johansen on Jan. 6. 

GM's deadline track record: Poile has plenty of action on his resume and often prefers to get a week, or weeks, ahead of the deadline pressure. In 2015 his big move came two weeks before the deadline when he acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Olli Jokinen, forward Brendan Leipsic and a 2015 first-round pick. He acquired forward Filip Forsberg from the Washington Capitals for forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta on deadline day in 2013. 
 
 

ST. LOUIS BLUES (27-22-5, 59 points)

 

Where they stand: Fourth place in Central Division, first wild card in Western Conference 

What they need: Goalie, skilled forward after losing forward Robby Fabbri for the season with a knee injury 

Pending UFAs: C Patrik Berglund, RW Scottie Upshall, D Kevin Shattenkirk 

Pending RFAs: RW Nail Yakupov, LW Magnus Paajarvi, LW Kenny Agostino, D Colton Parayko 

Projected cap space at deadline: $3.6 million 

Current contracts: 46 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: RW Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche; G Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets; G Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins; G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning 

Potential assets: Shattenkirk, LW Jaden Schwartz, LW David Perron 

Biggest trade chip: Shattenkirk. The trade rumors have followed the skilled defenseman for a couple of seasons. Given his pending UFA status, this would appear to be the time for a move. 

2016 deadline: The Blues acquired goaltender Anders Nilsson from Edmonton for goaltender Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth-round pick in 2016. 

GM's deadline track record: Acquiring D Robert Bortuzzo and a 2016 seventh-round pick prior to the 2015 deadline was a good move for GM Doug Armstrong. Bringing in rental goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott from Buffalo prior to the 2014 deadline made big headlines but didn't work in the end and cost St. Louis a lot (goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016). After replacing coach Ken Hitchcock with Mike Yeo on Feb. 1, Armstrong is likely looking to refresh for his roster again. 
 
 

WINNIPEG JETS (25-27-4, 54 points) 

 

Where they stand: Fifth place in Central Division, five points behind Calgary Flames for second wild card in Western Conference 

What they need: Goaltending, depth on defense with Tyler Myers out 

Pending UFAs: RW Drew Stafford, RW Chris Thorburn, D Paul Postma, G Ondrej Pavelec 

Pending RFAs: C Marko Dano, C Andrew Copp, LW Brandon Tanev, D Ben Chiarot, G Connor Hellebuyck 

Projected cap space at deadline: $25.4 million 

Current contracts: 43 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7) 

Potential targets: G Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins; G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning 

Potential assets: Pavelec, Stafford, Thorburn 

Biggest trade chip: Stafford. An experienced, skilled, pending UFA who could be exactly what a contender is looking for. 

2016 deadline: Four days before the deadline, the Jets traded their captain, forward Andrew Ladd, defenseman Jay Harrison and forward Matt Fraser to Chicago for Dano, a 2016 first-round pick and a 2018 conditional first-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: Kevin Cheveldayoff has moved deliberately but effectively prior to the deadline, as with the trade of Ladd, a pending UFA, last year. In 2015 he sent forward Evander Kane, goaltender Jason Kasdorf and defenseman Zach Bogosian to the Sabres for Stafford, forward Brendan Lemieux, forward Joel Armia, Myers and a 2015 first-round pick. That year he also acquired veteran forwards Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty. 
 
 

DALLAS STARS (21-23-10, 52 points) 

 

Where they stand: Sixth place in Central Division, seven points behind Calgary Flames for second wild card in Western Conference

What they need: Help on defense, probably a goalie 

Pending UFAs: LW Patrick Sharp, RW Ales Hemsky, RW Jiri Hudler, RW Patrick Eaves, LW Lauri Korpikoski, D Johnny Oduya 

Pending RFAs: RW Brett Ritchie, C Radek Faksa, C Mattias Janmark, LW Curtis McKenzie, RW Adam Cracknell, D Jamie Oleksiak, D Patrik Nemeth, D Esa Lindell 

Projected cap space at deadline: $9.1 million 

Current contracts: 46 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: D Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets; G Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets 

Potential assets: Eaves, Oduya, Sharp, Hudler 

Biggest trade chip: Eaves. If GM Jim Nill has to go into selling mode, expect good offers for the veteran even though he'd be a rental. Eaves is having a productive season with 19 goals. 

2016 deadline: The Stars acquired defenseman Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a 2016 conditional second-round pick. 

GM's deadline track record: Nill's move in 2016 was significant, though it did not pan out. He has not otherwise been a major deadline player, but this year, if he determines the future is the priority ahead of this season, he has cap space and some assets to help reposition the Stars. 

 

COLORADO AVALANCHE (15-33-2, 32 points) 

 

Where they stand: Seventh place in Central Division, 27 points behind Calgary Flames for second wild card in Western Conference 

What they need: High draft picks and top prospects, with the consensus seeming to be that GM Joe Sakic will rebuild from the ground up 

Pending UFAs: RW Jarome Iginla, C John Mitchell, RW Rene Bourque, LW Andreas Martinsen, D Fedor Tyutin, D Cody Goloubef 

Pending RFAs: C Mikhail Grigorenko, LW Matt Nieto, D Eric Gelinas, D Nikita Zadorov, D Patrick Wiercioch, G Jeremy Smith 

Projected cap space at deadline: $1.9 million 

Current contracts: 47 of 50 

2017 NHL Draft selections: 7 (1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7) 

Potential targets: D Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets 

Potential assets: C Matt Duchene, LW Gabriel Landeskog, Iginla 

Biggest trade chip: Duchene. Quality centers are almost always in short supply, so Sakic can expect many calls. 

2016 deadline: The Avalanche acquired forward Mikkel Boedker from the Arizona Coyotes as a rental for forward Alex Tanguay and two prospects. They also acquired Gelinas from the New Jersey Devils for a 2017 third-round pick and got forward Shawn Matthias from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Colin Smith and a 2016 fourth-round pick. Of all those acquisitions, only Gelinas remains.

GM's deadline track record: Sakic tried to be bold in 2016. He tinkered only a little in 2015, with bit and depth players. His is likely to be February's most-dialed number among League GMs.

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