As the NHL Trade Deadline nears, the Eastern Conference is marked by three top teams looking to beef up their rosters, several disappointing playoff teams looking to boost their credentials, and several also-rans looking to pawn off whatever they can.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the conference and led the trade deadline shopping binge too. They got their buying done early, gobbling up veterans Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla from the West's Stars, Sharks and Flames respectively. That should mean they're done shopping, but GM Ray Shero is never finished until the deadline clock strikes.
Rumored to be pursuing: Haven't they had enough already?
The Boston Bruins ended up being the Penguins' bridesmaids in the Iginla sweepstakes, with the player himself essentially forcing the Flames to take Pittsburgh's offer. As a result, the Bruins still seek to upgrade their forward depth, and they'll have to look elsewhere. They've already picked up Jaromir Jagr. Could they do more?
They could also look to add a puck-mover for their defense.
Rumored to be pursuing: Curtis Glencross, Steve Sullivan; Mark Streit, Ryan Whitney
The New York Rangers have had a disappointing follow-up to their Eastern Conference finals appearance, and a major concern is the forward depth hits they took over the summer. Coach John Tortorella has been openly concerned about youngsters Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller and how asking too much too soon of them could hurt their development. So the Rangers are in the market to add forwards. Like the Bruins, though, they could be done after Wednesday's addition of Ryane Clowe.
They're also appearing in rumors for Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, in part due to Boyle's history with Tortorella in Tampa Bay.
Rumored to be pursuing:
Derek Roy; Dan Boyle
Selling? Marian Gaborik has been a disappointment this season, and his contract makes adding other big money problematic. His name occasionally surfaces in trade rumors.
The Philadelphia Flyers probably shouldn't be buying. Their blueline is a mess, they're several slots out of a playoff spot, and new injuries to Maxime Talbot and Danny Briere add to a long list of troubles. But the Flyers aren't used to sitting on the sidelines -- neither in the playoffs nor at the deadline -- so they are rumored to be in just about every auction out there, including goal-less Sharks winger Ryane Clowe, who seems to interest every Eastern team that likes big bodies.
Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey recently took an in-depth look at just why the Flyers situation is so complicated, and how there is no easy fix. Not that the Flyers won't try.
Rumored to be pursuing: Everybody, including
Ryane Clowe, Jaromir Jagr; Dan Boyle, Ryan Whitney
The Ottawa Senators are also injury ravaged, with their top defenseman and top forward out for the season. Yet somehow they've survived without Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza, so they might added around the edges for their playoff run. They've been linked to interest in Curtis Glencross, but otherwise Sens rumors have been quiet. There is also the chance they will sell goaltender Ben Bishop.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are apparently buyers, but mainly through their interest in adding a veteran goalie. They've been linked to both Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff, with Calgary reportedly granting them permission to talk to Kiprusoff.
Languishing six points out of eighth place and having fired their coach, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in no position to buy. But they continue to need a goalie they haven't had since Nikolai Khabibulin was backstopping them to a Cup, so they've been linked to several of the goalies on the market.
There are several teams that still have a shot of claiming one of the final two playoff spots in the East, but that shouldn't keep them from selling.
Florida Panthers -- The bottom dwellers should be sellers, but so many of their most attractive assets are out injured. Marcel Goc may be too good and affordable to sell. Thomas Fleischmann's contract (two more years, $4.5 million each) is probably too expensive to buy.
Buffalo Sabres -- The Sabres are in full sell mode, having already dumped Robyn Regehr on the Kings. They are rumored to be shopping Jason Pominville and goaltender Ryan Miller, and now Thomas Vanek wants to discuss his future with the team that appears to be heading toward a demolition rebuild.
New York Islanders -- They're making an impressive push for the playoffs themselves, tied for eighth going into Tuesday's action. But they are still a team building toward the future -- and at most positions they have prospects ready to step in -- so they should entertain any offers for unrestricted free agents Brad Boyes, Mark Streit, Marty Reasoner and Keith Aucoin.
The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 3.