We've already seen several blockbuster trades in the last week, with Ilya Kovalchuk, Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere changing teams, and more big deals are expected between now and the March 3 deadline.
There could be a flurry of trades completed before the Olympic roster freeze kicks in Friday at 11 p.m. The freeze stays in effect until Feb. 28, which then allows for only three days of trading between when it ends and the official deadline.
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Teams such as Anaheim, St. Louis and a few others were planning to use this final week to determine if they were to be sellers or buyers at the March 3 deadline.
The Ducks won a big game against Los Angeles on Monday night, but general manager Bob Murray still is expected to be a busy man in the next few weeks fielding offers.
Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer would be the biggest chip on the market if Murray decides to deal his captain, but there are other good players who could be available as well.
1. Scott Niedermayer: If he becomes available the teams you keep hearing are the Blackhawks, Vancouver and New Jersey. He'd be an ideal pick up for the Hawks.
2. Ray Whitney: Any number of teams could use the Hurricanes goal scorer, particularly Pittsburgh, Boston and Los Angeles. Whitney has a no-trade clause and has hinted he'd waive it to go to the Penguins.
3. Matt Cullen: This veteran would be a good addition to any club needing a center. He was linked to the Hawks awhile back.
4. Marty Turco: He's an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Stars aren't expected to re-sign him. Who needs goalie insurance? How about Washington, Ottawa, Philadelphia or the Hawks?
5. Tomas Plekanec: Montreal's leading scorer is also set to become an unrestricted free agent and could be available. He has been linked to several teams, including Calgary.
6. Martin Biron: The Islanders certainly are ready to move the experienced goalie with the low $1.4 million cap hit. Buffalo is believed to be interested.
7. James Wisniewski: He's already making $2.75 million with the Ducks and will be looking for a raise as a free agent. He is available, and the Hawks definitely are interested in bringing back his grit.
8. Keith Tkachuk: The big guy has plenty of game left, and Boston has wanted him before.
9. Paul Kariya: With the Blues going nowhere and Kariya headed for unrestricted free agency like Tkachuk, he's there for the taking.
10. Alexei Ponikarovsky: Another big winger who could help a contender, and the Maple Leafs are ready to move him along with a few others, including defenseman Garnet Exelby.
11. Joe Corvo: Word is the Hurricanes would like to deal as many of their unrestricted free agents as possible, of which Corvo is one.
12. Mike Modano: Who wouldn't want him for a playoff run?
13. Jere Lehtinen: Like Modano, he's set to be an unrestricted free agent and could net the Stars a good return.
14. Ethan Moreau: He has another year left on his contract with the Oilers, but for a team looking to add leadership and grit, Moreau is your guy. The Penguins could be his destination.
15. Andy Sutton: He has been a steady factor for the Islanders, playing 21 minutes a night, and could be the answer for a team needing a depth defenseman.
Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf suffered a sprained ankle in Monday's game against the Kings, which could have ramifications for the Canadian Olympic team.
Getzlaf, Canada's No. 2 center, had an MRI on Tuesday that came back negative. He's listed as day to day.
Already speculation has started about a possible replacement for Getzlaf on Team Canada with the names of Jeff Carter, Jason Spezza, Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Patrick Sharp being floated.
Show must go on
With both Washington airports shut down by the record snow last weekend, the Penguins had to fly to Newark, N.J., after a Saturday afternoon game in Montreal, then bus three hours to Washington in order to make their Sunday afternoon date with the Capitals.
The game might not have been played if it weren't for the fact NBC was televising it nationally.
At some parts on the Penguins' bus trip they could go only 10 mph through the snow. They didn't arrive at their hotel until 2 a.m. and then lost to the Capitals in overtime.
Carolina defenseman Niclas Wallin had to waive his no-trade clause in order to be traded to San Jose on Sunday. But he was more than happy to go from last-place Carolina to first-place San Jose.
"It's like winning the lottery," he said.
"What we like about the trade is we didn't have to give up anybody off our roster," said Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who gave the Hurricanes a second-round draft pick for Wallin and a fifth-rounder.
Around the rinks
• According to various reports out of Boston, the Bruins are not shopping 35-year-old goalie Tim Thomas, shooting down a rumor in Sunday's Ottawa Sun.
• Did Calgary GM Darryl Sutter get enough in return for Dion Phaneuf? Some general managers are said to be miffed Sutter never let it be known that Phaneuf was available.
The Flames got Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers from Toronto for Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and a prospect.
• Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen returned to the lineup Tuesday for the first time since Oct. 8, when he tore the ACL in his knee in a game against the Blackhawks.
The Wings needed to trade Ville Leino to Philadelphia for a fifth-round draft pick to make room for Franzen under the salary cap.