The prospect of the Olympic roster freeze at 3pm et on February 12th is expected to spark a trade or two before then; however multiple NHL sources describe the current state of trade discussions as 'very quiet.' That said the potential list of players available is growing on a daily basis. Here are the top 10 players expected to be dealt on, or before the March 3rd NHL trade deadline.
1) Ilya Kovalchuk
There is little to no doubt that due to impending unrestricted free agency that Atlanta's superstar and premier goal-scorer will be traded. However, Thrashers general manager Don Waddell says it's too early to officially open the bidding. When it does, Kovalchuk will be a much sought-after commodity.
2) Ray Whitney
Carolina's leading scorer is one of a number of prominent Hurricanes on the block. The 37-year old forward will draw interest based on his scoring touch and the fact he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
3) Peter Mueller
The third-year Coyotes forward hasn't developed as expected after an excellent 54-point rookie season. Mueller's name has surfaced in trade talks, however Phoenix is asking for young talent in return.
4) Matt Stajan
Toronto's top-line centre will likely fit comfortably on most teams second or third lines and may fetch a decent prospect or draft picks in return.
5) Alexei Ponikarovsky
Similar to Stajan, the Maple Leafs value the solid 20-goal scorer, but the potential return on a trade may be too much to pass up.
6) Matt Cullen
In a market expected to pay a premium for centremen, the 33-year old Hurricane with proven offensive skills and a Stanley Cup on his resume will attract trade offers.
7) Lubomir Visnovsky
The 33-year old Oilers' defenceman has scored four of his nine goals on the powerplay. After earning $7 million this season, Visnovsky's contract drops each of the remaining three-years, which may attract suitors.
8) Sheldon Souray
The Oilers are aware of the veteran defenceman's willingness to consider any trade to a team included on his list. Even though Souray has yet to score a powerplay goal this season after scoring 12 last year, he is still regarded as an offensive threat.
9) Ethan Moreau
Edmonton's captain has been a good soldier for the Oilers, but he could be swept away by this teams insistence that a culture change is necessary. The fact Moreau's salary drops to $1.75 next season, the final year of his contract, will make him attractive.
10) Marty Turco
The future of Turco and a number of other Stars' players will be determined in the coming weeks. Dallas is looking for a clean start and may start by moving Turco to a team looking for depth in goal in the playoffs.
There appears to be more buyers than sellers as we creep closer to the deadline, however that could change over the next few weeks as teams get a final reading on their post-season chances.