It’s almost here: trade deadline day.
We will see over the next few days which teams will identify themselves as buyers, with an eye toward this year’s playoffs, and which will be sellers, hoping to improve themselves for next year and beyond.
In the meantime, here is this week’s THN Power Rankings:
Let’s call it the February blahs, but the Red Wings looked decidedly regular in losing six in a row before winning big against Colorado. The victory came with a big price, though. Superstar defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is out, with what the team is calling an injured knee.
The streaking Stars scored a huge 1-0 win over the Red Wings; a massive confidence booster should the two teams hook up in the Western Conference playoffs.
Guess who’s leading all NHL goalies in wins? Ageless Martin Brodeur had 32 wins through Monday night, the 12th consecutive season he has recorded 30-plus wins.
This slide the Sens are going through is the real deal. Despite adding veterans Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore, Ottawa has lost three in a row and Montreal has pulled even in the standings.
The Wild’s last four wins all came in overtime or the shootout. Marian Gaborik, who has finally achieved star status, scored the winner against Nashville Sunday with 4.4 seconds remaining in overtime.
The Ducks are clearly a better team with Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer back, but it has to be concerning they have allowed more goals than they have scored. Don’t be surprised if GM Brian Burke swings a deal for more offense.
A year ago the Penguins couldn’t give away Ryan Malone. Now he has become a consistent performer and has three two-point games in his last five outings.
Veteran Alexei Kovalev continues to be one of the feel-good stories of the season with two goals and five points in his last three games.
When the Predators cleaned house last year, Jason Arnott probably wondered why he was left behind. Now he is a big part of one of the best reclamation projects in league history.
After taking a five-day break from action, the Rangers returned with back-to-back wins and are once again looking like a team capable of making noise in the Eastern Conference.
The Sharks built a 2-0 lead against the Islanders in Long Island Monday, but lost 3-2. They remain one of the NHL’s most puzzling teams; ninth overall, but not looking like a real Stanley Cup threat.
With just two wins in their past 10 games and word Peter Forsberg will not be rejoining them, the Flyers are in desperate need of good news. Expect GM Paul Holmgren to be busy at the trade deadline.
This is why we love Jarome Iginla. With 31 seconds remaining in what winds up being a 4-2 loss to Anaheim, Iginla engages in a fight with Travis Moen. It sends both the Ducks and his teammates a message – he means business.
The Canucks are going through a win one, lose one phase. They proved they can outscore – and stand up physically – in a 4-2 win over Edmonton Saturday.
It wasn’t too long ago the Sabres were at the bottom of The Hockey News’ Power Rankings. Now, with six wins in 10 games, the Sabres are coming out of hibernation.
The Hurricanes have won three of their past five games; the only two losses coming to the New Jersey Devils. With captain Rod Brind’Amour reportedly out for the season, expect GM Jim Rutherford to trade for some more offense.
Good news for the Avs; Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny are close to returning to action. After a 4-0 loss to Detroit Monday, they can’t get back quick enough.
Three losses in four games leave the Bruins clinging to the last playoff spot in the East.
Daniel Carcillo is not only leading the Coyotes in physical play, he can actually play the game, too.
It is looking more and more like the Thrashers will trade Marian Hossa, but they want players in return so they can continue their charge toward the playoffs.
After losing a tough one to Nashville, the Blues rebound with a 5-1 whipping of the Blue Jackets to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Just when it looked like the Islanders were done like dinner, they record four straight wins. So what does GM Garth Snow do now – aim for the playoffs or begin rebuilding for next season?
Mike Green continues to lead all NHL defensemen with 15 goals, but has just one marker in his past 14 games.
All eyes are on Olli Jokinen to see where he’ll land at the trade deadline.
Although the Blue Jackets still have a mathematical chance at the playoffs, expect rookie GM Scott Howson to start dealing veterans for picks and prospects.
Rookie Dustin Byfuglien has three goals in three games – part of the reason why this franchise has such a bright future.
The foundation for a good team is here, but injuries have conspired to ruin the Oilers’ season.
Interim GM Cliff Fletcher continues to chat with rival GMs as he sets the table for the team’s next fulltime GM.
Jay Feaster has a tough decision to make. If he can’t sign defenseman Dan Boyle to an extension, he’ll probably have to trade him.
Defenseman Rob Blake says he won’t waive his no-trade clause, which puts GM Dean Lombardi in an uncomfortable position.
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 on Mondays. Changes in rankings reflect each team’s play from the previous seven days.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
From now until the trade deadline (Feb. 26) The Hockey News is having a subscription sale. Click HERE to get $10 off our regular subscription price.