Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/15/14

As the trade deadline draws nearer, there are three teams -- all considered Stanley Cup contenders when at the top of their game -- that could use a boost in the form a trade.

- Washington Capitals
The Capitals probably need another center to get back to their high-scoring ways. After losing Nicklas Backstrom to a concussion at the beginning of the year, Dale Hunter and company have a gaping hole up the middle. So far, they’ve tried Marcus Johansson, Matthieu Perreault and Brooks Laich in more offensive roles while calling up journeyman Keith Aucoin to add more balance to their bottom lines. That strategy has unfortunately failed the former powerhouse to the point that they are no longer leading the Southeast Divison and are three points out of a playoff spot. In fact, if it hadn’t been for some recent heroics from starting goalie Tomas Vokoun, the Caps would probably be lower in the standings.
Clearly, they need either Backstrom to come back healthy, or they need someone who can play on the top two lines. Even though Laich is a serviceable second line center – despite his current injury – the team employed three very strong centers last season (in Backstrom, Johansson and Jason Arnott) and still could not make it out of the second round. Expecting a team that has not been as effective to turn everything around after losing their top player is a tough expectation. Furthermore, the rental market for centers is relatively nonexistent -- Daymond Langkow, anyone?
Attaining depth at center should shore up the Caps enough to squeak into the postseason, as either the eighth seed or the third. However, GM George McPhee will need to be quite creative with his options.
- Philadelphia Flyers Obviously, the Flyers need help on the blue line. Their captain Chris Pronger has been limited to only 13 games this season and will not return this season due to his concussion-like symptoms. His absence has created a lack of leadership on the back end and moreover a dearth of guys who can eat minutes. While Andrej Meszaros and Matt Carle have stepped up their game, adding someone who can help offensively and defensively would be a huge boon to the perennial contenders.
An option that has been kicked around is maligned d-man Marek Zidlicky, who has past success with blue-line stalwart Kimmo Timonen. Although Zidlicky wouldn’t be a great even-strength presence, his ability to play the power play would give Meszaros and Carle a much needed rest, allowing them to focus on their penalty killing work. With nine forwards already in double digit goal totals and the team carrying two capable starting goalies an additional defenseman should help complete an already strong team.
Now, GM Paul Holmgren just needs to find the right fit for his club.
- Chicago Blackhawks Somewhere along the line, the Blackhawks lost their way on defense. Even though they still bolster a strong core with Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, D-men Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy have been relatively ineffective while free agent signing Steve Montador could be better at both ends of the ice. Thursday night’s eight goals would have been the low watermark on the season had they not lost again to the Calgary Flames the following night. Now, mired in a five-game losing streak, this team needs help.
Instead of blowing up the entire roster, the team could opt to play better defensively and acquire a crease-clearing defenseman to aid in the transition. As teams like the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers continue to show, a physical team who is tight in their own end can generate a great deal of scoring opportunities. However, that process starts with tightening up which means an offense-first player like Nick Leddy would need his minutes tightened at even strength. Unlike the previous two teams, the Blackhawks may have a match in Bryce Salvador, Bryan Allen or possibly even exiled d-man Shaone Morrisonn.
Even though GM Stan Bowman is budget restrained, he should be able to sure-up his blue line and get old man Sean O’Donnell out of his top six.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wizards apologize for odd Black History Month tribute

Report: McCoy may want more money from Bills

Andre Johnson laughed upon hearing he wouldn't start

Brad Stevens: LeBron 'looks like the MVP to me'

Le'Veon Bell tees off on Mel Kiper Jr. over Twitter


Eagles ship LeSean McCoy to Bills for Kiko Alonso

Murray would reportedly give Cowboys hometown discount

Report: Giants ‘considering a run’ at Ndamukong Suh

Darnell Dockett reportedly visiting 49ers on Tuesday

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: ‘That’s bulls–t'

Hamels trade talk motivating Red Sox pitching staff

Columbus Zoo names newborn penguin after Ezekiel Elliott

Matt Barnes blasts NBA over James Harden suspension

Joe Rogan: Ronda Rousey could beat half the men

Bills tell C.J. Spiller he won't be re-signed

Ohio State self-reported funny NCAA violation

Lupul, Phaneuf, Cuthbert threaten lawsuit against TSN

Report: Adrian Peterson has trade list of five preferred teams

Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s homosexual 'lifestyle'

Trent Cole has ‘no respect’ for Eagles after release from team

Ronda Rousey lands free ticket to Pacquiao-Mayweather bout

Report: Celtics to pursue Love, Monroe and Gasol this summer

Trying to solve the Alex Guerrero problem

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.