With the unofficial second half of the NHL season just getting underway this week, and the trade deadline on Feb. 27 right around the corner, many teams are assessing their needs and their chances of making that push to the playoffs and beyond.
As the deadline approaches, many general mangers will spend hours on the phone haggling and cajoling, looking for that piece that might bring their squad the Stanley Cup.
As happens every year at this time however, there are vastly more buyers than sellers. With just about 60 percent of the season gone many teams aren't quite ready to pack it in and look to next year, not if they have even the faintest hope of the playoffs.
But as of the All Star break there were at least three teams that could reliably be considered sellers.
Here's a look at who they are, how they got there, and what potential riches could be in store for the team that offers them the right deal.
Despite notching 99 points last season, good enough for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, the Ducks have been terrible all season. The team canned bench boss Randy Carlyle at the end of November in favor of Bruce Boudreau, but the shakeup at the top did little to improve their fortunes.
The reasons for their failure are somewhat of a mystery with much of the team's backbone from last season still intact. But the reasons are somewhat irrelevant as the team is now in a position of having a roster full of high priced players who have not lived up to expectations.
All the rumors for the Ducks revolve around the team's trio of young forwards Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Perry led the Ducks with 98 points last season, Getzlaf was not far behind with 76 despite playing in just 67 games Ryan brought up the rear with a very respectable 71.
All three players have taken a major step back offensively, Perry and Getzlaf are on pace for a final point total in the 60s this year and Ryan's pace will leave him in the 50s.
Perhaps a change of scenery and a chance at the playoffs would reenergize them and allow them to return to form, but any GM hoping to grab one of them is going to have to offer Anaheim a boatload, not only to clear salary space (all three make more than five million dollars per season) but to make up value for one of the three best young players in the league.
Columbus Blue Jackets
After making their first playoff run in 2008, the Blue Jackets went right back to the basement in the National Hockey League, a place they still occupy with a league worst 32 points.
Things have gotten so bad in the Buckeye state that team owner John McConnell sent what amounted to an apology letter to season ticket holders over the All Star Break.
The big piece that could potentially be moved here is Rick Nash. Nash was the Jackets first ever draft pick and has been the face of the franchise for virtually its entire existence. He has never expressed a desire to leave despite all the losing, and GM Scott Howson has said that the team has no plans to trade him.
But, the 6'4, 200-plus-pound goal scoring machine is a once in a lifetime commodity, surely some GM might take a chance to add him as a centerpiece to the lineup.
However his 7.8 million dollar price tag and seven year deal could prove to be a huge stumbling block.
The more realistic prize in the Blue Jackets system is Vinny Prospal, the 36-year-old leads the Blue Jackets in assists and his very manageable one year deal will be appealing.
He could provide solid depth up the middle on the second or third line for a team that hope to contend this spring.
It has been a bleak season in Carolina, and it seems clear that the Hurricanes will miss the playoffs for a third straight season and a fifth in the last six.
One of the few positives this for this squad, apart from the emergence of wonderkid Jeff Skinner, is that they have a few very desirable pieces to trade.
First and foremost is pivot-man Tuomo Ruutu, the 28-year-old Finn is has 20-goal a season talent and can play the wing as well as center. He's been to a Conference Final with Carolina in 2008 and his one year deal makes him an attractive piece.
Chad LaRose is another interesting option on the Hurricanes roster. The 29-year-old wing is a solid two way player who will never score in eye popping numbers but is very consistent getting 20-30 points per in each of his five full years.
Though LaRose is not going to ignite a fan base, but he could be a solid depth addition for a contender.
The final 'Cane that could be moved is Jaroslav Spacek. Spacek is in his 16th season and is well past his prime, but that doesn't mean he couldn't help a team shore up their back line.
He has been out of the line-up more than in it over the past two seasons, which makes him a risk, but it never hurts to add a cagey veteran defender with more than 60 games of playoff experience, especially when he can be had for a bargain.