Every Wednesday, a trio of SI.com staffers sits down for a discussion of the hockey world's hot button issues. This week, Sarah Kwak, Sam Page and Al Muir assess the trade market just two weeks out from the March 2 deadline and the best on-ice burns.
• The Predators fired a shot across the bow of other Stanley Cup contenders with their early and aggressive acquisitions of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from Toronto. Which team most needs to step up and match their move?
SARAH KWAK: I think Tampa Bay could use a good experienced defenseman to round out its group. The Lightning's forwards are fast and nifty, and their goalies are more than serviceable. But on defense, they are a little lacking and could use an upgrade. GM Steve Yzerman doesn't like trading picks for rentals, but only two of his defensemen have more than 25 games of postseason experience. That said, the pool of available defensemen with playoff experience is thin—if it even exists. So if they could swing for a player who may carry term, maybe someone like Maple Leafs defensemen Stephane Robidas or Dion Phaneuf. Perhaps that's worth a pick?
AL MUIR: I'll stick with the West too and say the Kings. Maybe it's a stretch to call them contenders when they're sitting out of the top eight, but we all know what the defending champs are about. Open the door just a crack and they'll barge in and start trashing the place. That door opens up if they add a veteran, top-four defenseman. Doesn't necessarily have to be a big name like Phaneuf or Keith Yandle. Andrej Sekera is one option. Roman Polak would be a nice fit as well, although he might be tough to pry away from the Leafs. I know L.A.'s GM Dean Lombardi is playing it cool, but I think he's got something cooking.