Top 10 Forwards Available At NHL Trade Deadline
NHL Trade Deadline Is Rapidly Approaching
The NHL Trade Deadline is rapidly approaching, and there is no doubting that many general managers around the league are working night and day attempting to make a big move. In recent days moves, such as Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues, have shaken the league to its core, and there are certainly many more trades in store that will transform the outlay of the league and its playoff outlook.
As the deadline approaches on March 5, 2014, at 3 p.m. et many of the biggest and most important names to be featured on the NHL Trade Rumor mill are forwards, and specifically goal scorers Chris Stewart has already taken his bags to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Miller trade, and moving forward, there will be many teams who will either be in the playoffs or are on the bubble that will be looking for an impact forward. After all, these are the types of players who can change a team's playoff outlook, and potentially even be the difference in a Stanley Cup winning campaign.
Keeping in mind the top notch teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild who are going to be looking for an impact forward, I have identified the 10 best goal scorers who will be available at the NHL Trade Deadline. Each of these players are exceptionally talented, veteran players who will at the very least be a force down the stretch, and could be the difference come playoff time.
10. Mike Cammalleri
Mike Cammalleri has pure offensive instincts, as despite being 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, he possesses a great shot, has great puck skills, and is a smart player in the offensive zone. The 31 year old may only have 13 goals and eight assists during the current season, but his previously stated ability on the puck and the ability to play all three offensive positions has made him a top target at the NHL Trade Deadline.
9. Ray Whitney
Few players available at the NHL Trade Deadline are as experienced as Dallas Stars left winger Ray Whitney, who is 41 years old and surely approaching the end of his career. The 41 year old is still an above average asset on a second or third line role though, and has the ability to be utilized on the wing of any teams top power play unit. The veteran player may only have seven goals and 15 assists this year, but his silky smooth moves and veteran savvy have six to eight teams vying to give Whitney one last hurrah at a second Stanley Cup championship.
8. Ales Hemsky
Ales Hemsky is a great option looking to give a supremely talented player a free flowing offensive role, as he loathes defensive duties but can wow on offense.
The 30 year old skates with a grace that can't be taught, seems to have eyes in the back of his head when looking for teammates, and has ability with the puck that makes one wonder if he has glue on his stick. Still, during the current season, he has only seven goals and 17 assists, which can largely be brought down to the fact he seems unmotivated.
7. Sam Gagner
Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner is a bit of an odd pick to be on the trade block, as he is only 24 years old, is supremely talented, and is under contract for the next two years at a $4.8 million cap hit. Still, the Oilers can't seem to get anything right with their young core, and Gagner's ability to find teammates all over the ice and play both up the middle and on the wings is being ignored.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators are amongst the teams attempting to acquire the 24 year old.
6. Marian Gaborik
Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Marian Gaborik can be a bit of a streaky scorer, but his mix of game-changing speed, soft hands and extremely quick release make him an extremely valuable threat in the offensive zone.
During the current season, Gaborik has been slowed down by injuries, although he has recently returned from the injured reserve list and his totals of six goals and seven assists in 20 games aren't awful. Still, Columbus doesn't seem particularly enamored with the 32 year old, and the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens are amongst the teams who could have him for a cheap fee.
5. Matt Moulson
Buffalo Sabres left winger Matt Moulson is a surprisingly efficient goal scorer, as he isn't an especially great skater or physical player, but he gets into good scoring positions and has knack for getting pucks into the back of the net.
The 30 year old had three straight 30 goals seasons from 2009 to 2011, and currently has impressive totals of 17 goals and 19 assists in 54 games. Almost every team in the hunt for a rental goal scorer has been rumored to be in the hunt for Moulson, but the Pittsburgh Penguins look to be an especially intriguing and predictable option.
4. Ryan Callahan
New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan has been the subject of many rumors over the last few days and for good reason. Callahan will be a free agent after the season, is an extremely hard worker, has a nose for the goal, and can be featured on either the right or left wing.
Amongst the possible teams inquiring about the American are the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning, with the latter providing an especially intriguing trade option.
3. Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler is a surprising addition to this list, but in recent days, it has come out that he asked for a trade from the Vancouver Canucks earlier in the year. The 29-year-old center could help any team fighting for the playoffs, as he has good size at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, a good set of hands, provides shut down play in the defensive zone, and is willing to sit in front of the net on the power play.
Whether or not the Canucks will want to deal the American with two years left on his contract is questionable, but it is obvious that many teams will be vying for his services.
2. Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis has been another surprising addition to the trade block, as he also asked for a trade away from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Even at 38 years old, St. Louis is an exceptionally talented and efficient player, as he maintains great speed, scoring ability and is also a natural playmaker from the right wing. A potential trade to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan looks intriguing, but there is no doubting other teams will call about the 38 year old's services as well.
1. Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek only joined the New York Islanders this season, but his refusal of a new contract has made him the top player available at the NHL Trade Deadline. Vanek is big, physical, has a great shot and has been extremely consistent in getting pucks to the back of the net throughout his career.
The Austrian will likely bring back the biggest haul of any available player, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and Vancouver Canucks are amongst the teams who have inquired about his services.