The NHL's Feb. 29 Trade Deadline is approaching and teams are making decisions on whether to buy or sell and decide which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out today's trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
Patience, Leafs fans
All the talk leading up to the Trade Deadline in Toronto has centred around the Maple Leafs' chances of landing pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos.
But for a number of reasons, mainly that Stamkos likely isn't willing to go through another rebuild during his prime years, and signing Stamkos would put a wrench in Brendan Shanahan's plans for a proper rebuild, Larry Brooks of the New York Post doesn't see Stamkos landing in Toronto.
But that doesn't mean the Leafs won't soon be without a superstar free agent, it's just going to take a little more patience.
Brooks speculates New York Islanders star John Tavares, who could be frustrated with the situation in Brooklyn, could sign with the Leafs in 2018 when his contract is up. It's still a ways away and a lot can change, but the Mississauga native would be as big a coup to Leafs fans as Stamkos.
On the Watch List
Teams looking for some frontline help at the Trade Deadline this year are in luck, because there are a number of attractive forwards that could be available prior to February 29.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun speculates the trade market is moving a little slow because there is such a glut of forwards that still has to figure itself out.
Garrioch also had notes on a number of Canadian teams. There is interest in Edmonton Oilers Teddy Purcell and Justin Schultz, and while the usual suspects in Toronto are expected to be moved, names like PA Parenteau and Daniel Winnik, the Leafs have tried to move Joffrey Lupul and his salary but have been unsuccessful.
With the Trade Deadline two weeks away, it figures to be a busy time for the Vancouver Canucks.
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province offers up five predictions for the Canucks, leading with a Dan Hamhuis trade.
Botchford believes the aging Hamhuis will be dealt to make room for a younger player, and is likely off to an Eastern Conference team
Among the other predictions offered up, Botchford believes the Canucks won't acquire any first round picks, and they won't trade Radim Vrbata or Chris Higgins but do find a landing spot for Brandon Prust.
Next Man Up
With Dustin Byfuglien locked up long-term in Winnipeg, all the talk is about what the Jets will do with captain Andrew Ladd. But don't forget about Jacob Trouba.
Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe says Jets GM Kevin Chevaldayoff will have to decide if re-signing Trouba is a good investment with money already locked into Byfuglien, who plays the same side. If the answer is no, Trouba could be on the market with a Ryan Johansen-type return expected.
The San Jose Sharks have enjoyed strong goaltending from Martin Jones all season but that doesn't mean they won't swing a deal for a goalie before the Trade Deadline, they need somebody to back him up.
After Alex Stalock's less-than-impressive performance late last week, Paul Gackle of the San Jose Mercury News speculates the team could look to land a better backup goalie in the next two weeks.
Gackle also says the team could look towards one of their AHL goalies to fill the spot as well.
Travis Hamonic requested a trade to a Western Conference team at the start of the year and so far the New York Islanders have been unable or unwilling to grant him one. Expect that to be the case all season long.
Arthur Staple of Newsday reports it seems unlikely the Islanders will move Hamonic, with their appetite for shipping away their most consistent defenceman exceedingly low.
One rumour was that Hamonic could be moved to his hometown Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Jacob Trouba, but for salary reasons, that deal is unlikely.