In essence, the trade deadline is much like the NHL's version of Christmas. It's a time when many players are on the move and teams are gifted with extraordinary talent. The trading frenzy starts at around mid-February, but speculation and rumors can circulate from the very beginning of the season. In most cases, the rumors don't subside until management publicly denies it or the trade deadline passes.
For some, the trade deadline may be celebrated, but for others, it may be a source of despair, depending on your favorite team's position during the deadline. If a team is performing well and wants to fortify their depth, then they will most likely be buyers. On the contrary, if a team is under performing and on the decline, then they will most likely be sellers. Either way, the NHL trade deadline is always a source of sheer enthrallment for all hockey fans.
The most exciting part, though, is when there is a distinct possibility of a renowned NHL star being traded to your favorite team. What's not to love when you team trades for the future face of your franchise?
In today's article, we will comprehensively explore 15 NHL superstars that have the highest likeliness of getting traded before the 2017 trade deadline.
15 Dustin Brown
The former captain of the Los Angeles Kings has adopted a much lesser role in the past few years. Coupled with his decline in production, Brown has been the subject of numerous trade rumors. Rumor has it that he did not take the stripping of his captaincy very well and damaged his relationship with the Kings' management team.
The feisty winger's AAV of $5.875 million is regarded as one of the most burdensome contracts in recent memory. Once a 60-point player, Brown has been steadily on the decline and his age has seemed to have caught up to him; the 2003 draftee will be turning 33 next November. Rather than exposing him in the expansion draft, the Kings will likely seek to trade him for considerable value.
Potential Destination: Florida Panthers
14 Brian Gionta
As a veteran with an expiring contract, Gionta's career is seemingly coming to a close. The current captain of the Buffalo Sabres might want to give one more kick at the can and endeavor to win his second Stanley Cup championship. He previously won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. With Buffalo's recent injection of youth, it might be best for Gionta to move on and potentially go to a contender.
Gionta has been a tremendous leader for the younger players on the Sabres. He has mentored stars like Ryan O'Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. Although his time in the NHL might be dwindling, Gionta can be a valuable veteran asset to any contender.
Potential Destination: Ottawa Senators
13 Shane Doan
As another experienced NHL veteran, there's a possibility that Doan leaves the team that drafted him 20 years ago. I was tempted to put him higher on the list, but considering he has played his entire NHL career with the Coyotes, it might be less likely than initially thought. The current captain of the Coyotes has been considerably consistent over the course of his career; the 40-year-old has posted six 60-plus point seasons, including back-to-back 70-point campaigns in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The Coyotes are struggling to produce offense this season and find themselves near the bottom of the standings. If Doan wants to win the coveted Stanley Cup, he's going to have to part ways with the only NHL team he has ever played for.
Potential Destination: L.A. Kings
12 Ryan Miller
Though the 36-year-old has been the undisputed goaltender of the Vancouver Canucks for the past few years, Miller's role in Vancouver is diminishing. After a lackluster season last year, finishing 28th overall in the league standings, it was apparent that the team needs an imminent rebuild. Although Miller led the Canucks to a playoff appearance in 2014-15, the team has steadily declined since then, leading fans to believe that it might be best for the Canucks to part ways with the veteran goaltender.
Miller recently hit the 350-wins plateau and is the second winningest American goalie in NHL history. He won the Vezina Trophy and an Olympic silver medal in 2010, but if he wants to win the prestigious Stanley Cup, he might have to undergo a change of scenery.
Potential Destination: Philadelphia Flyers
11 Cam Fowler
Over the past few months, there have been recurring trade rumors involving Cam Fowler and the Anaheim Ducks. With the market of defenseman in such high demand, there's no question that Fowler is a valuable asset to the Ducks. The Ducks already have a strong blueline with the likes of Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Bieksa. He was quoted stating that he has used the trade rumours as motivation and fuel to become a better NHL player.
Fowler has undoubtedly been a staple to the Ducks' blueline since the franchise drafted him 12th overall in 2010. His superb skating and passing abilities have propelled him to two World Junior gold medals, one at the U18 level and one at the U20 level.
Potential Destination: Detroit Red Wings
10 Patrick Sharp
With his contract expiring this coming off-season, many NHL teams could benefit from adding this veteran forward. Sharp is a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks and was an integral part of their prominent dynasty. He joined the Dallas Stars in 2015, but could only reach the 2nd round of the playoffs. This year, he has been riddled with injuries and has only recently returned to the ice.
The recently turned 35-year-old winger has adapted exceptionally well since his trade from Chicago to Dallas. His invaluable veteran presence has helped guide the team, which many teams may seek as they compete for a spot in this year's playoffs.
Potential Destination: New York Rangers
9 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The former 1st overall pick in the 2011 draft has been headlining trade rumors after continuous struggles with the Edmonton Oilers. With Connor McDavid reigning supreme in Edmonton, Nugent-Hopkins has faded away from the limelight. So far, he isn't the player he once was when he dominated at the junior level. Although he is starting to pick up the pace a little, he is being surpassed by emerging stars like Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton's 2015 first round draft pick.
With Edmonton's focus shifting to young guns like McDavid and Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins doesn't have much room to develop and thrive. The recently named assistant captain may be headed out of Edmonton if he doesn't step up his game in a timely manner.
Potential Destination: Vancouver Canucks
8 James van Riemsdyk
The 27-year-old left winger has played five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has been amongst their top scoring players during his tenure there. He helped the Leafs reach the playoffs once in the 2012-13 season, although eventually faltering to the Bruins in 7 games. With Toronto's recent injection of youth, coach Babcock is keen on giving Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly ample ice time to succeed.
The former 2nd overall draft pick in 2007 might be headed out of Toronto since it seems like youth is taking over by storm. Although Toronto has recently strung some wins together, they have been constantly blowing huge leads. With Kessel's departure in 2015, van Riemsdyk might be moved at this year's deadline for an identical package of prospects and picks.
Potential Destination: New Jersey Devils
7 Gabriel Landeskog
After being drafted one selection behind Nugent-Hopkins in the 2011 draft by the Colorado Avalanche, the immensely talented two-way forward won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, amassing an impressive 52 points. The next season, he was named captain and in doing so became the youngest captain in NHL history thus far. The Landeskog trade rumors have been heating up as of late, which indicates that the 24-year-old captain might well be on his way out of Colorado.
He has led the Avalanche to one playoff appearance in the 2013-14 season. Additionally, he has also won an Olympic silver medal with Team Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Although Landeskog has established himself in Colorado, if the Avalanche are looking to shake things up, then he might be an asset worth trading.
Potential Destination: Boston Bruins
6 Marc-Andre Fleury
Fleury's name has been circulated for some time now, but with Matt Murray's most recent injury, he might have a chance to prove himself in the Penguins' net. After multiple struggles last season, Fleury seems to have found his game and help the Penguins continue their success. But does this make him more tradeable? Yes, his improved performances benefit the Penguins, but doesn't that also increase his value?
The 32-year-old goaltender has won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins, with the most recent one coming in 2016. Although he has provided the Pittsburgh Penguins with solid goaltending for the past 12 seasons, the team might opt to stick with Matt Murray as their starter, which in that case will force Fleury to find a new home.
Potential Destination: Calgary Flames
5 Kevin Shattenkirk
The offensive defenseman has been headlining trade rumors for a long time now - dating back to last season. But with one year remaining on his contract, it seems like now is the perfect time for the St. Louis Blues to trade him. He has posted four 40-point plus seasons with the Blues and has been imperative to the Blues' power-play success. Although Shattenkirk is a good fit in St. Louis, the current market for defenseman is booming and many teams could use an exceptional puck-moving defenseman like Shattenkirk.
The 27-year-old defenseman has been a key contributor for the Blues from the back-end and possesses impeccable hockey vision. When the trade deadline approaches, Shattenkirk could well be on the move since defensemen have recently become a hot commodity in the NHL trade market, and he's quite possibly the best available option.
Potential Destination: Boston Bruins
4 Jarome Iginla
The Colorado Avalanche are sucking, and they're sucking big time. With Jarome Iginla's career dwindling, it might be best for both the team and Iginla if they traded him to a Stanley Cup contender. The 39-year-old has 1,512 games and counting to his résumé, but no Stanley Cups. It's obvious that he is in the pursuit of one after he notably requested a trade from his longtime team, the Calgary Flames, back in 2013.
So far, Iginla is having a subpar season with five goals and five assists, and is currently on pace for 22 points; a point total that would be an all-time low for him. With the Avalanche at the bottom of the standings and with his career nearing the end of the road, it would be wise for Iginla to request a trade, once again, in an attempt to cap off his illustrious NHL career with a Stanley Cup championship.
Potential Destination: Edmonton Oilers
3 Ben Bishop
The main reason behind the Ben Bishop trade rumors is the Lightning's preference to protect Andrei Vasilevskiy in the upcoming 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. Although this is all pure speculation, there's no denying Vasilevskiy's outstanding performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs when filling in for Bishop. Since then, Bishop has been incredibly inconsistent and now, the Lightning find themselves out of a playoff spot.
Since the trade deadline is approaching quickly, GM Steve Yzerman probably wants to deal Bishop to get some value out of him instead of losing him to free agency for nothing. The 30-year-old goaltender is a one-time NHL All Star and has led the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. If the Lightning want to get value out of Bishop, now is the time to trade him.
Potential Destination: Dallas Stars
2 Matt Duchene
Along with Avalanche teammate Gabriel Landeskog, the former 3rd overall pick in 2009 has been the subject of fervent trade rumors as of late. The effervescent 25-year-old has established a name for himself in Colorado and is a two-time All Star. He has become a fan favorite in Colorado with his slick moves and goal-scoring abilities, as well as with his involvement off the ice. Duchene is an interesting trade chip, as he is both young and talented, and could be a determining factor whether a team wins the Cup or not.
Duchene, an Ontario native, has achieved extensive success with Team Canada on the international stage, including an Olympic gold medal in 2014, two World Championship gold medals and a notable 2016 World Cup gold medal. His unwavering consistency has been an asset to the Avalanche, and if teams are interested in Duchene, they're gonna have to give up a lot for a heck of a hockey player.
Potential Destination: Carolina Hurricanes
1 Jaromir Jagr
Last but not least, the legend himself - Jaromir Jagr. With two Stanley Cups to his résumé, you'd think that he has won enough. No. How can he settle for anything less than greatness? He is, indeed, the legend himself. Besides, his last Stanley Cup championship came in his second season in the NHL alongside longtime Penguins captain Mario Lemieux.
So far, Jagr has had a tremendous career and isn't looking to retire anytime soon. With the Florida Panthers trending downhill, he's going to want to request an imminent trade before the deadline. He was most recently traded at the 2015 trade deadline from the Devils to the Panthers. At 44 years of age, the ageless wonder is still going strong and is showing no signs of slowing down. As a member of the Triple Gold Club, Jagr will certainly be looking to add to his collection of personal accolades this upcoming playoff season.
Potential Destination: Montreal Canadiens