Originally posted on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 1/22/12
The trade deadline is just over a month away, and it is starting to become clear which teams will be buying, and which will be selling. Here is a look at five players that could be packing their suitcase in the coming month. 
  1. Ales Hemsky

Word around the league is that Hemsky is the most likely high-end player to be dealt at the deadline this year, and it is easy to understand why. The Oilers are going after their third straight last place finish, and Hemsky will be a UFA after the season. The perfect recipe for a trade to a contending team before he gets overpaid in the summer.

Ales has been with the Oilers since he was drafted 13th overall in 2001. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but his inability to stay healthy and propensity for passing before shooting every time he has the puck has seen him fall out of favor in Oil Nation.

So what can the constantly rebuilding Oil hope to get in return for the dynamic Czech winger? Well they waited until the deadline last year with Dustin Penner and managed to get a 1st and Colton Teubert for the pancake loving winger. So Hemsky should be able to fetch a similar return, if not more.

Few have ever questioned his talent, but consistency has been fleeting for Hemmer. If he can find his way onto a contending team, he may find that spark that has made him a point a game player on three occasions in his career.

  1. Tuomo Ruutu

The Hurricanes are in a position similar to that of the Oilers. Near the bottom of the league with expiring players that are likely to leave on July 1st. Ruutu is the perfect type of sandpaper player that a contending team could add to their third line as they make the trek towards Lord Stanley.

But the thing with Ruutu is that he is not just a one trick pony. He can put the puck in the net while getting under your skin and drawing penalties. Not the most loved player around the league, but someone that he vital towards a championship contender.

Expect him to fetch a 2nd round pick perhaps, and maybe a prospect. The Hurricanes need to stockpile some young kids as they try to determine what direction to take the franchise. They have an odd mix of talented kids and horribly overpaid veterans, and they will start shipping the older guys out of town if they can get some decent value in return.

  1. Zach Parise

Parise may not be available, but if the Devils do decide to test the waters, he could become one of the most interesting deadline players in years. Imagine if they put him on the market and wait until the last minute for the best offer.

He could certainly fetch more than Kovalchuk and Hossa, who were part of deadline deals in recent years. Before missing almost all of last year with an injury, Parise’s name was being mentioned amongst the elite players in the league.

He was putting up ridiculous numbers on a team that is not usually known for their offensive outputs. But he will be a UFA after the season is done, and it will be interesting to see if he wants to stay in Jersey.

The Devils are another team in flux. Brodeur is on his last legs, and Kovalchuk seems to be going through the motions on many nights. Adam Henrique has been a nice surprise this year, but there is little in the way of secondary scoring on any given night.

What kind of bounty could Parise get on the market? Would a solid top-4 blueliner, a 1st round pick and a high end prospect be enough? Possibly. But who is willing to give that up for a player who may just walk to the big money in the summer?

  1. Ryan Smyth

Why would the Oilers trade their heart and soul after just reacquiring him in the summer? Well maybe he wants to get that ring sooner rather than later. He is one of the veteran leaders for the youngsters in Edmonton, but he must realize that they are not about to win the Cup anytime soon.

So a quick rental deal might be worked out. Ship him off to a contender for a few months, and then sign him back in Edmonton as a free agent in the summer for a hometown discount. It would work out for everyone involved.

Smyth would certainly understand what the Oil are trying to do, and he still has the talent to fetch a 2nd of 3rd round pick as Tambo and Lowe continue to stockpile players.

It would certainly pain many Oilers faithful if he got to hoist Lord Stanley while wearing anything besides copper and blue, but at the end of the day, if he wants to get that ring, he will likely have to go elsewhere to do it.

  1. Michael Rozsival

Every team is always looking for a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman. Rozsival is the latter, and he is likely to be moved as we inch closer to the deadline day. He is a solid veteran blueliner that can step into any lineup and play solid two way minutes.

He has been struggling somewhat in recent years, but playing in front of dozens of fans in Phoenix could do that to anyone. He can play second pairing minutes for a contending team and the coach will not have to worry about him making mistakes out there.

The Rangers are a possible destination, as they start to look more and more like real contenders. But their blueline remains weak. Youngster Ryan McDonagh is playing Pronger-esque minutes, and he may start to wear down as the season wears on.

While he may not be the biggest name player, expect Rozsival to attract significant interest as the deadlines inches closer.

This article first appeared on Puck Drunk Love and was syndicated with permission.


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