With the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaching, and the Twitter drama significantly increasing, it's time to take a look at each team in the Western Conference, and make some sort of determination of their deadline status.
The Ducks sit firmly in the second spot in the West. Because long-term deals for forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry kick in next year, Anaheim is looking at plenty of cap room to make deals if it chooses. I'd like to see Anaheim add a two-way forward or a strong defenseman, perhaps the kind of role player to aid one of the NHL's worst penalty kills. There's no guarantee the fit is out there, but special teams can bite even the best-looking teams come playoff time. Adding some help there can't possibly be a bad thing.
There might not be a bigger seller in the NHL right now than Calgary. Certainly, there isn't a bigger one in the West. The Flames dealt captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh last week. They traded defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis Monday night. Who's next? Possibly goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, if the Flames can find a team willing to take on a big cap hit for a goalie with a save percentage of just .873. Anyone else Calgary might try to sell off -- even pending UFA defenseman Anton Babchuk, who has played two more games this season than I have -- has a no-trade or no-move clause. Brilliant work, GMs.
Sitting in first in the West for most of the season, Chicago shook off a pretty average stretch with a 7-1 beatdown of the Red Wings Sunday afternoon. GM Stan Bowman might not make more moves after Monday's addition of Michal Handzus from San Jose, but he also gets to welcome forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp back to the lineup soon. That might feel like a deadline addition.
While Colorado is at the bottom of the West, it's hard to figure the young Avs will sell many parts. Veteran forward Chuck Kobasew could have some value to a playoff contender as a depth addition, and defenseman Greg Zanon is a shot-blocking machine who has another affordable year ($2.25 million) on his deal. The rest of the core is pretty young and inexpensive, and there's little reason to move anyone unless GM Greg Sherman opts for a shakeup.
This could be an interesting case. Coach Todd Richards has this team contending unexpectedly for a playoff spot. Sergei Bobrovsky has been a great find in goal, and the team is finding ways to win despite not really filling the net with goals. If management could find a way to bring in a scorer at the deadline without mortgaging something from the future, one has to think it would be at least discussed. Columbus really isn't scoring much, and it could be something that hampers the team's surprise playoff hopes.
Joe Nieuwendyk clearly made the decision Tuesday that his team are sellers. While the West race is tight, the Stars had (and still have) pieces of value. The big one was veteran forward Jaromir Jagr, who can clearly still play (14 goals), and is on a one-year deal. Jagr went to the Bruins, while forward Derek Roy went to the Vancouver Canucks. Are the Stars done?
As Sunday's blowout loss at home showed, these aren't the normal Red Wings. This group will have to scratch and claw to make the playoffs, and it would help if someone could step up and score some goals. Detroit is remarkably average offensively, something that will need to improve if Jimmy Howard doesn't. There aren't a lot of proven goal scorers out there, and will Ken Holland willingly give up a future piece for a rental?
As impressive as Edmonton's young players are, the Oilers could be headed toward another lottery pick. Veteran defenseman Ryan Whitney -- UFA this summer -- could be moved, but there isn't much else Steve Tambellini can do here. I don't see the Oilers making any big moves. Flip Whitney for a draft pick and keep trying to build with youth. The Oilers might be buyers, but it doesn't make sense to buy much.
The defending champions struggled a bit for a while, but have been playing quite well lately. GM Dean Lombardi knows what it takes to win, and while there's a chance the Kings will make a play for another forward, I tend to think their deal Monday for Buffalo defenseman Robyn Regehr -- potentially a great pickup to help in the playoffs -- could be it.
The Wild loaded up in the summer, signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They aren't going to add a lot of money in future years, because there will be a lot of big dollars given out to young players on their second contracts. Instead, it makes sense that any move Minnesota makes will be about the short term. Could pending UFA Pierre-Marc Bouchard be dealt?
Like many teams, the Predators are in a tough spot. Buyer or seller? If the Predators sell, who would they give up on? 2014 UFA David Legwand has a no-trade. If Nashville decides to buy, the need for some more skill up front is there, and I doubt David Poile would turn down another blue-liner if he can find one. It's just a matter of deciding what this team's place is, and that isn't an easy call.
At 2-5-3 over the last ten games, the Coyotes could be a team that sells this week. Despite his reputation, Raffi Torres could be a guy with value on the market. He can score, and he obviously brings a lot of snarl, along with experience. Phoenix has a few veterans who -- according to CapGeek -- have modified no-trade clauses, so they could be difficult to move. But with so much uncertainty surrounding the franchise, it's hard to imagine an older player turning down a deal to a playoff contender.
Between trades already made Douglas Murray going to Pittsburgh, Michal Handzus going to Chicago and Ryane Clowe headed to Broadway, the Sharks are definitely sellers, despite being in the conference's top eight. They are clearly trying to get younger in San Jose. More moves -- Dan Boyle? -- could come before the deadline, but it won't stop this team from trying to get to the playoffs, either.
The Blues got Jordan Leopold from Buffalo over the weekend, then dealt for Bouwmeester Monday. They could stay aggressive. There is still the need for more scoring, and goalie Jaroslav Halak was injured Monday night. That could put the Blues in the market for another veteran goalie. There are a few out there as the deadline approaches.
Who should we discuss here? TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted that Mason Raymond's name has been mentioned as a potential trade target. He's UFA this summer. Oh, and there's Roberto Luongo. Is this the week he is finally dealt to Toronto or somewhere else? Or will @strombone1 live on in Vancouver?