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Interesting names emerging as NHL deadline nears

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Darren Dreger
2/19/2009 1:03:09 PM
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Playoff races aside, there will be trades on Mar. 4 and based on the discussions taking place now we've compiled a list of the Top 10 most interesting trade possibilities.

No. 10 - Alex Kovalev. NHL executives are curious about his future in Montreal. If Bob Gainey wants to cut ties, there are teams willing to consider the risk.

No. 9 -  The Oilers are believed to be one team interested in Kovalev and sources say Edmonton forward Erik Cole could be worked into a package as the Oilers search for a top line forward.

No. 8 - Chris Pronger. How the Anaheim Ducks play over the next two weeks will determine whether Pronger is truly in the mix. The most likely scenario is that the Ducks hold on to Pronger for their playoff push and reconsider trading him at the draft.

No. 7 - Ryan Whitney. With the return of Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins have a stockpile of blueliners and league sources say Whitney could fetch the quality forward Ray Shero is seeking.

No. 6 - Olli Jokinen. The Phoenix centre is available but NHL GMs wonder about a 10-year player who has never once been in the playoffs.

No. 5 - Jay Bouwmeester. The Panthers have talked to a number of teams and has a variety of trade scenarios to consider, but it's possible Bouwmeester has a change of heart and stays.

No. 4 - Nik Antropov may headline the parade of players out of Toronto. Brian Burke has established the asking price for Antropov - a first round draft pick.

No. 3 - Philadelphia prospect James van Riemsdyk.  The University of New Hampshire forward, picked second in 2007, has been linked to Atlanta in a deal that would see a goalie going to the Flyers.

No. 2 - Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen is of interest to the Flyers. If Atlanta GM Don Waddell continues to rebuild, swapping Lehtonen for a prospect such as Van Riemsdyk would have to be seriously considered.

No. 1 - Ryan Smyth. Colorado needs to cut payroll and Francois Giguere is talking to teams about Smyth. The Avs won't ask Smyth to waive his no-trade unless there's a decent deal tabled. Teams are working on their offers now.

These are big names that may require big deals for teams to pull the trigger. However, this list of 10 present some powerful possibilities.

Ryan Smyth (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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