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Top 15 targets for the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

by Dan Rosen

The 2015 NHL Trade Deadline is next Monday, March 2, at 3 p.m. ET, so expect the rumor mill to churn in overdrive this week as general managers work the phones to try to make one last ditch effort to improve their teams heading down the stretch in the regular season.

Although there have already been two significant trades involving key players such as defensemen Cody Franson, Tyler Myers and Zach Bogosian as well as forwards Evander Kane, Mike Santorelli and Drew Stafford, there are still plenty of teams that need some help and players that could be on the move.

Here is a list of the 15 most interesting trade deadline candidates in 2015, and the teams that should be interested in acquiring them:

1. Keith Yandle, Arizona Coyotes

Position: Defenseman

Contract: 1 year remaining, $5.5 million salary-cap charge

Yandle might be the most coveted defenseman who could be available for contending teams, but he also might be the most expensive because he's not strictly a rental player. He's ideal for any team looking to bolster one of its top-two defensive pairings, but that team would likely have to be willing to part with a high-end forward.

Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers

2. Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

Position: Right wing

Contract: 7 years remaining, $8 million cap charge

The only reason Kessel isn't first on this list is because of the blockbuster it would take to move him out of Toronto, a blockbuster that might not be feasible, if the Maple Leafs are even interested, until June. But Kessel's name has been mentioned enough in trade rumors that he has to be at least considered as a target for contending teams. He obviously would be a huge addition to any team because of his ability to score.

Potential suitors: Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers

3. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers

Position: Right wing

Contract: 4 years remaining, $6 million cap charge

Eberle doesn't require the same level of contractual commitment as Kessel, but it's still significant. He's only 24 years old and clearly has tremendous offensive ability. The Oilers would consider trading Eberle in order to shake up their young core and potentially add a proven defenseman or a young goaltender that can grow with the team.

Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets

4. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Bernier
Goalie - TOR
RECORD: 17-18-5
GAA: 2.73 | SVP: .914
Position: Goaltender

Contract: Pending RFA

Bernier's availability depends on Toronto's willingness to go with a scorched earth rebuild. He's a valuable commodity to a team that needs goaltending help or depth. He obviously can be a No. 1 goalie. He's also a restricted free agent after the season. If Toronto wants to go scorched earth, investing a lot of money in goaltending only to be in a deep rebuild doesn't make sense.

Potential suitors: San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames

5. Mike Green, Washington Capitals

Position: Defenseman

Contract: Pending UFA

The Capitals are in a tough spot here with Green, who is in the final year of his contract. Green has assumed the role as Washington's fifth defenseman, but he's making $6 million this season. It's a lot to ask the Capitals to re-sign Green at that price or higher to be their sixth defenseman, but Green has value to the Capitals now as a point-producing, power-play quarterback. If they keep him they risk losing him for nothing in the offseason. If they trade him they risk cutting out a big part of their offense.

Potential suitors: Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks

6. Andrej Sekera, Carolina Hurricanes

Position: Defenseman

Contract: Pending UFA

Other than being a left-handed shot, Sekera is very much like Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, in that he's a safe player who can log upwards of 20 minutes, join the rush, be reliable on the back end, and contribute on the penalty kill. He is a valuable asset for any team looking to bolster its defensive depth because he has the ability to play on any pair. He has a $2.75 million cap charge.

Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks

7. Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs

Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf
Defense - TOR
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 20 | PTS: 22
SOG: 84 | +/-: -4
Position: Defenseman

Contract: 6 years remaining, $7 million cap charge.

Phaneuf is a target for criticism as the No. 1 defenseman and captain in Toronto, but there is a prevailing thought in the hockey community that if he is traded to a better team that already has an established No. 1 defenseman that he could be a significant contributor. Phaneuf's contract is a major hiccup and the Maple Leafs would likely have to retain some portion of his cap charge in any trade.

Potential suitors: Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks

8. Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils

Position: Right wing

Contract: Pending UFA

Jagr is a rental player who wouldn't cost too much, but could have an impact down the stretch for a contending team in need of a right wing on one of their top three lines and on the power play. What Jagr lacks in speed he makes up for in puck possession. He's 43 years old but he still has the ability to control the play and create scoring chances off the wall.

Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins

9. Jeff Petry, Edmonton Oilers

Position: Defenseman

Contract: Pending UFA

Petry, who carries a $3.075 million cap charge, is the ultimate rental defenseman for a team that needs depth on its back end from a guy who can log 20 minutes and join the rush. It helps that he's a right-handed shot. Plenty of teams covet righties. He has missed the past two games with a rib injury that isn't supposed to impact his trade value.

Potential suitors: Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks

10. Antoine Vermette, Arizona Coyotes

Antoine Vermette
Antoine Vermette
Center - ARI
GOALS: 13 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 35
SOG: 82 | +/-: -20
Position: Center

Contract: Pending UFA

With his ability to score, win faceoffs, play on the penalty kill, and play on any of the top three lines, Vermette has great value for a contending team depending on how much that team is willing to pay for what is likely a rental center. He has a $3.75 million cap charge.

Potential suitors: New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames

11. Daniel Winnik, Toronto Maple Leafs

Position: Forward

Contract: Pending UFA

Winnik, who has a $1.3 million cap charge, would provide experience, depth and versatility in a bottom-six role for a contending team. His contract expires at the end of the season, so he's a rental player. He has appeared in the playoffs three straight seasons. He played nine playoff games with the Ducks last season.

Potential suitors: St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings

12. Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs

Position: Center

Contract: 3 years remaining, $4.2 million cap charge

Bozak is an interesting option available because he has played first-line minutes in Toronto, but is likely more suited for a second- or possibly third-line role on a better team. However, he is not a rental and his cap charge is high if he's only going to be a third-line player. If the Maple Leafs are willing to withhold some salary it makes him far more attractive. The key, too, is the Maple Leafs don't have to limit their potential trading partners to contending teams, particularly if they're significantly interested in getting rid of some or all of Bozak's cap charge.

Potential suitors: Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary Flames

13. Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils

Marek Zidlicky
Marek Zidlicky
Defense - NJD
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 23
SOG: 97 | +/-: -9
Position: Defenseman

Contract: Pending UFA

Zidlicky is another right-handed shooting rental defenseman who should be moved to a contending team before the deadline. He has the skills to play top-four minutes and contribute on the power play. Zidlicky has a $4 million cap charge.

Potential suitors: Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks

14. Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes

Position: Right wing

Contract: Pending UFA

Tlusty, who has a $2.95 million cap charge, is another rental right wing who could slide into a hole a contending team has in its top six. Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford had Tlusty when he worked in Carolina. It's not farfetched to consider the Penguins being interested in him now, particularly to play with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist.

Potential suitors: Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals

15. Chris Stewart, Buffalo Sabres

Position: Right wing

Contract: Pending UFA

Stewart ($4.15 million cap charge) has been an underperforming power forward, but put in the right position on a team that gets the puck deep, grinds and cycles he could provide that extra bit of scoring punch necessary. He is heading toward unrestricted free agency after this season and would be motivated in a playoff run because he'd like to secure a significant contract come July 1.

Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks


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