The calendar has flipped to February, and in the course of this NHL season that means it is trade deadline month. There were a couple of interesting trades in January, but hockey's swapping season is likely to pick up in the coming days. Here at NHL.com, we will bring you a daily roundup of reported rumors about who might be available and which teams might be looking to make a move for your lunchtime consumption in Deadline Diner.
So maybe the Ducks aren't cooked just yet. Anaheim, on the strength of an 11-2-2 run, has halved what was once a 20-point chasm between the Ducks and the No. 8 position in the Western Conference. Now the Ducks will embark on the second of two mega road trips this season, and it will go a long way to determining if Anaheim can complete a miracle run -- or if it is time for GM Bob Murray
The Ducks have eight games on this trip that takes them right up to the brink of the trade deadline.
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"Core pieces, such as Bobby Ryan
and Ryan Getzlaf
, have been part of the rumor mill for weeks," writes Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register. "It is unlikely that either will be moved unless it is for a star player in return or a considerable package that would at least include a top-six forward, a high-level prospect that's close to NHL-ready and a high draft pick.
and Saku Koivu
have been deemed untradeable by Murray unless they ask him to work a deal to a Stanley Cup contender. More realistic targets are defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky
, scoring wingers Jason Blake
and Niklas Hagman
and possibly enforcer George Parros
A few of Anaheim's top prospects have already arrived, but have had trouble making a consistent impact to this point. The Ducks could use more youth on defense to build with behind Cam Fowler
and Luca Sbisa
, and the search for more secondary scoring to fill in behind the top line, not to mention long-term replacements for Selanne and Koivu, continues. Even if Murray doesn't part with Ryan or Getzlaf in a mega deal, Visnovsky could fetch a huge return as maybe the top defenseman on the trade market.
Pierre LeBrun reported during TSN's "Insider Trading" segment that three teams -- the Boston Bruins
, the New York Rangers
and the San Jose Sharks
-- are definitely interested in pursuing Ray Whitney
, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Whitney leads the Coyotes with 49 points, but as LeBrun pointed out the Coyotes are very much in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This morning they woke up in eighth place in the West, and it hard to imagine the leading scorer being dealt for any price as long as they are in that position.
"The Wizard" would be a perfect veteran addition for any number of teams looking to add -- he's won the Stanley Cup and has proven he can still play a high level. If Phoenix were to slump in the next couple of weeks, Whitney could return a lot of value in a trade. LeBrun reported Whitney can tell the Coyotes eight teams that he would accept a trade to, but that discussion hasn't happened yet.