The 2013 NHL trade deadline is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, and the latest hype around huge names like Dan Boyle, Roberto Luongo and others possibly on the move has caused a frenzy in the hockey world.
These are some of the biggest stars in the sport, and the fact that these players are rumored to be on the trade block and could be dealt before the deadline has NHL fans across the world waiting with anticipation.
All of the following NHL standouts have been heavily involved in rumors all year, and the possibility of them getting moved by the deadline continues to grow with every passing day.
All contract and salary-cap information courtesy CapGeek.com.
Dan Boyle, D, San Jose Sharks
While the San Jose Sharks continue to fight for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs (currently in sixth place, just four points out of ninth), the realization that the team should rebuild for an attempt at a Stanley Cup next season should be starting to sink in for the franchise.
San Jose should be looking to move as many of the high-priced or expiring contracts out of town in order to make room for this year’s free-agent class and re-signing its own players. One of the stars that should be moved is veteran defender Dan Boyle and his $6.66 million contract.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, two teams at the very least have expressed interest to the Sharks about acquiring the defenseman:
The Rangers and Flyers have shown interest in defenceman Dan Boyle. If Boyle goes anywhere, it'll likely be the Rangers because they're in a position to make the playoffs and might be willing to pay the asking price. There has been lots of interest
Boyle is still one of the best offensive defenders in the NHL—five goals and 11 assists so far this season with 10 of those points coming on the power play—and his ability to move the puck is second to none.
San Jose shouldn’t have a hefty asking price for the defenseman considering he is an unrestricted free agent after next season, and with the league-wide desire to add quality defenders before the deadline, the Sharks should get all that they ask for and more in a possible Boyle deal.
Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks
While there is no questioning just how talented Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has been over his career, the fact that the goalie is under contract until 2022 with a cap hit of $5.3 million per year is why the team is trying to move him.
This is one of the worst contracts in NHL history, and the team has been forced to offer Luongo—a top-five goaltender in the league when playing well—for almost nothing in return thus far because of his albatross of a deal.
In the same report from Garrioch, the Toronto Maple Leafs have once again started pursuing a possible deal for the veteran netminder, but how much the team is willing to give up remains the biggest question:
The Leafs have been sniffing around the NHL's goalie market and have held talks with the Canucks regarding Roberto Luongo. While Vancouver has always coveted centre Tyler Bozak to help shore up the middle, it will be interesting to see if this deal can get done.
Despite the drama that has surrounded Luongo since being put on the trade market last summer (h/t The London Free Press), the Canucks’ backup has remained positive and hasn’t been a distraction inside or outside the locker room.
While his 7-4-3 record, 2.44 goals against average and .904 save percentage are all solid despite having no rhyme or reason to his relief appearances behind starter Cory Schneider, the way Luongo has handled himself throughout will ultimately force a team to make this deal.
All signs point to Toronto.
Frans Nielsen, C, New York Islanders
At only 28 years old, New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen already has seven years of experience in the NHL, but he could be so much more successful if he wasn’t stifled on an inexperienced and underperforming team.
While the Islanders have enough promising youth to build a contender in the future, Nielsen could help a Stanley Cup contender become a favorite now, and he should be dealt at the trade deadline.
Despite the immense success of the Blackhawks so far this season, Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily Herald is reporting that the team is interested in one of the Islanders’ top offensive players:
A source confirmed to the Daily Herald on Saturday that the Blackhawks and Islanders have been talking multiplayer trade with the centerpiece of the deal being New York center Frans Nielsen.
Nielsen would bring the kind of scoring depth teams dream of—playing either second-line center when injuries happen or manning the third line when the team is healthy—and his possible addition to the already-dangerous Blackhawks would make the team Western Conference favorites.
With the return the Islanders would get from a talented Chicago franchise, this is a deal that should get done before the deadline.