Your! Call: Who will be the first deadline domino to fall? Staff

2/12/2012 2:08:02 PM

With the NHL trade deadline just over two weeks away, teams around the league seem to be in a holding pattern.

The rumour mill is running at a steady rate - as is normal for trade season - yet with all the names supposedly in play, no big names have yet swapped jerseys.

The Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens completed the year's highest profile trade to date, when the Flames re-acquired Michael Cammalleri and others for a package including Rene Bourque. But that was exactly one month ago and not the type of transaction one would classify as a "deadline deal".

By this date last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs had already dealt Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim for Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner. The Ottawa Senators, too, had sent Mike Fisher to Nashville.

So, who will be the first domino to fall and get things rolling?

Many teams are likely still assessing their realistic chances at the playoffs.

Aside from the Carolina Hurricanes, every team currently out of the Eastern Conference playoffs trail the eight-place Toronto Maple Leafs by eight points or less with 25 games (or more) remaining.

The Western Conference presents a similar picture, with only the Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets and the suddenly surging Ducks lagging behind the pack. The difference between the eight-place Phoenix Coyotes and the 12th place Minnesota Wild is just four points.

So, is it just a matter of the race being too close to call with two weeks remaining? Or does a domino need to fall to kick trade season into high gear? Or is it becoming too difficult to make blockbuster deals in the salary cap era.

The big names and helpful depth players are out there, even amongst those few teams that appear to be out of the race, but who will be the first to connect the dots on a deadline deal?

The Flames and Hurricanes have been the most active so far in 2012. In addition to the Cammalleri deal, the Flames shipped Brendan Morrison to Chicago. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, moved Alexei Ponikarovsky to New Jersey, as well as completing a depth swap with Florida.

Jeff Carter still remains in Columbus. The Oilers have pending unrestricted free agent Ales Hemsky. Will the Ducks part with Ryan Getzlaf?

So, who will be the first big name to be dealt? Or will no big names be traded before February 27?

As always, it's Your! Call.

And don't forget to tune into NHL on TSN: Countdown to TradeCentre, Monday at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

TSN's coverage of TradeCentre 2012 begins Monday, February 27th at 8am et/5am pt.