The NHL Trade Deadline is one month away, and Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek of NHL Live broke down potential buyers and sellers, and the likelihood of major trades by March 2.
"Teams are looking to do things sooner than later if they can help it," Hradek said. "What happens is, though, the teams that are holding the chips, sometimes they like to wait because they feel they can get more later. It's almost like a poker game. They're sitting there wondering when is the optimal time to make the move? When can I get the most for the particular player?"
Among the buyers looking for help on defense are the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, with names including Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres) and Andrej Sekera (Carolina Hurricanes) in the mix.
"You never have enough defenseman come playoff time," Hradek said. "Some teams have a different need than others. I'll start at the top with the L.A. Kings because of [Slava Voynov]. He is a second-pair defenseman. He is a guy that played 20-plus minutes in a lot of situations so the need in L.A. isn't to add just depth guys. The need is to specifically find someone that could play on a second pair within their group. It's very, very, very difficult to do."
Myers, a 6-foot-8 right-shot defenseman, could generate interest from the Ducks.
"I think it's possible," Hradek said. "I think there's a lot of upside to this kid's game, still. I think he's in a real tough spot now on a team that's really struggling. I think a change of scenery might be good for him and if the price is right, perhaps good for the Buffalo Sabres. I don't imagine that they're going to give him away, but if they can get something significant for him maybe it makes sense for them."
Among buyers who could be shopping for forwards are the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets. The Rangers are a team that could use help in the faceoff circle and a name that makes the most sense to Hradek is Antoine Vermette of the Arizona Coyotes.
"He will be moved," Hradek said. "The Coyotes are going to do several things, I think, over the next month in terms of moving some players out. Vermette would be a great fit for the Rangers. The problem is do the Rangers have a match for the Arizona Coyotes? A lot of teams are interested in his guy."
Hradek anticipates the New Jersey Devils to be sellers with Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder among the names available.
"It has to be a particular fit for Jagr," he said. "I think there will be some interest in Jagr, but I do think it will have to be really precise. If you're a speed team that really plays a speed game, I don't know if there's a fit for Jagr. Boston, actually, the way they play, it does make some sense. Maybe [general manager] Peter Chiarelli would be interested in bringing him back, just like they might be interested in bringing back a Michael Ryder, who they had before and helped them win a Stanley Cup.
"[Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello] hasn't been in this position of trading away guys. He's not a seller but in this case he might be best suited to do that because maybe he can get something to help the franchise moving forward."