With the April 3 NHL trade deadline approaching, managers around the league are evaluating their position as buyers or sellers based off their playoff chances. In a condensed season, teams may view the deadline as a perfect opportunity to upgrade their squad for a deep playoff run, or look to rebuild for a stronger roster for the 2013-2014 season.
Despite the recent trend of no-trade clauses in many player contracts, as well as a lower salary cap for the upcoming season, plenty of activity is projected to occur, with the contracts of many prominent players set to expire at the end of the season.
Here are six players hot on the radar of managers looking to bolster their teams for a late run at a postseason berth.
Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)
The 35-year old captain has spent his entire NHL career with the Calgary Flames, but Iginla may be asked to waive his no-trade clause as the Flames hope to extract some extra value out of him in the final year of his $7 million a year contract. Teams interested in the veteran right winger include Boston, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles -- all clubs expecting to be part of the playoff picture in May. Iginla would provide a leadership presence and a secondary source of offense for whatever team that manages to acquire him. The Flames are near the bottom of the Western Conference, and may need to make some bold changes. Ignila has seven goals this season, but finished with 32 last season.
Ryan Clowe (San Jose Sharks)
Clowe has been struggling with a shoulder injury all season, keeping his offensive production at a minimum, with only nine assists and no goals through 25 games. The Sharks may be interested in some roster moves to shake up a struggling team, and getting value out of Clowe, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent, may be on the top of GM Doug Wilson’s agenda. When healthy, Clowe is a traditional power forward providing decent offensive contributions, and the Oilers and the Bruins are reportedly interested in a move.
Jaromir Jagr (Dallas Stars)
Even at 41, Jagr has been an offensive force for the Dallas Stars, tied for second on the team for scoring with 10 goals and eight assists through 27 games. The Stars may be interested in dangling the prolific right winger as a trading asset in case Dallas fails to become part of the playoff picture closer to April, given his one-year, $4.55 million contract. The Bruins and the Predators may both be interested in extending offers for the veteran to bolster their offensive firepower.
Mike Ribeiro (Washington Capitals)
After being swapped for Derek Roy at the end of last season, Ribeiro may be on the move again, as he is in the final year of his contract, which pays $5 million per season. Currently leading the Capitals in scoring with 10 goals and 21 assists through 28 games, the 33-year-old center has been a subject of interest for the Penguins and the Rangers, who hope to add some scoring to prepare for a playoff run.
Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres)
With the Sabres dwelling in the basement of the Eastern Conference just above Florida, GM Darcy Regier will be thinking about putting ‘For Sale’ signs on all of his veteran star players as the team looks to rebuild. Miller has only one more season on his $6.25 million a year contract, and the 32-year old goalie wants to be on a roster that will contend for Stanley Cups, which Buffalo can no longer promise. The former Vezina winner would attract considerable attention due to the lack of goalies on the market.
Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers)
The 31-year-old right winger may no longer be a good fit in coach John Tortorella’s defensive-minded system, having being demoted to the third line in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to Buffalo on March 12. The Czech sniper certainly has offensive upside, having two 40-plus goal seasons over the last three years with the Rangers. With Gaborik currently on a $7.5 million contract, which is set to expire at the end of the 2013-2014 season, the Rangers may be open to offers for the struggling veteran. The Rangers are currently looking in from the outside at the playoff picture, 14 points off the division lead, but only two points behind the eighth-place New Jersey Devils.