Know when to fold 'em

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

A trip to Florida won't be much of a vacation for National Hockey League general managers.

You can bet that trade talk will ramp up at the GMs' meetings, which begin tomorrow in Naples. And for many of those GMs, the moves they make or don't make could go a long way in determining the fate of their teams.

Will the Atlanta Thrashers find a new home for Marian Hossa? And will the Toronto Maple Leafs be able to first convince Mats Sundin to accept a trade ... and second, will they be able to extract a king's ransom in return?

With the NHL's Feb. 26 trade deadline looming, playoff contenders won't all be able to put together a deal for superstars, but in some cases, it's about the intangibles. Acquiring a key faceoff man or a third-line grinder may prove to be an important ingredient.

Sun Media's Bruce Garrioch takes a team-by-team look at what may happen as NHL teams approach the trade deadline.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Needs: If anything, the Ducks will deal for offensive help, but GM Brian Burke doesn't want to give up a lot off his roster. Sure, the Ducks will make calls about the likes of Atlanta RW Marian Hossa and Toronto C Mats Sundin, but Burke isn't big on deadline deals.

Who's available: D Sean O'Donnell and C Todd Marchant.

BUFFALO SABRES

Needs: The Sabres' No. 1 priority should be getting D Brian Campbell signed, but if he won't, he could be dealt. The Sabres will get calls about RW Maxim Afinogenov, but the Sabres likely don't want to make that kind of move. They'll add for depth, but don't expect anything big here.

Who's available: D Brian Campbell and D Dmitri Kalinin.

DALLAS STARS

Needs: Co-GMs Les Jackson and Brett Hull would like to get some scoring help for C Mike Modano. Dallas made a bid for free-agent C Peter Forsberg, but was rebuffed. The Stars have made calls on Islanders RW Miroslav Satan, Thrashers RW Marian Hossa and Montreal LW Michael Ryder.

Who's available: LW Jussi Jokinen, RW Antti Miettinen and D Mattias Norstrom.

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Needs: The Panthers are in the Southeast Division, so they can't count themselves out of the race. They have tried to trade C Olli Jokinen, even though GM Jacques Martin has spent plenty of time denying it. The Panthers need more leadership in their dressing room, which means adding veterans.

Who's available: C Olli Jokinen, D Branislav Mezei and D Mike Van Ryn.

ATLANTA THRASHERS

Needs: RW Marian Hossa will tell the Thrashers he has no interest in coming back and then the sweepstakes for his services will begin. The Thrashers could hold onto Hossa to try to get to the playoffs, but they really don't want to lose the potential unrestricted free agent for nothing in the summer.

Who's available: C Bobby Holik, RW Marian Hossa and RW Mark Recchi.

CALGARY FLAMES

Needs: The Flames will grab a big-name centre if they can land one. They've made calls about San Jose's Patrick Marleau and Florida's Olli Jokinen. Dealing for one of those two will probably cost too much, so expect GM Darryl Sutter to add depth on his third line. He also wouldn't mind bring in a blueliner.

Who's available: LW Kristian Huselius, C Daymond Langkow and LW Alex Tanguay.

DETROIT RED WINGS

Needs: The Wings don't feel like they need to do much, but they don't want other contenders grabbing all the good players, either. If Toronto C Mats Sundin decides he's willing to move, the Wings will be players. Detroit GM Ken Holland is another guy who has avoided making big moves at the deadline.

Who's available: C Jiri Hudler.

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Needs: GM Dean Lombardi could use help everywhere. The Kings have tried going young, they've tried going in a different direction and they've tried just about everything. Lombardi might want to try getting a goaltender.

Who's available: C Derek Armstrong, D Rob Blake, LW Ladislav Nagy, D Tom Preissing, D Brad Stuart and LW Scott Thornton.

BOSTON BRUINS

Needs: The Bruins would like to add scoring and they'll be players for RW Marian Hossa if the Thrashers decide to make a move. GM Peter Chiarelli would like to put Hossa alongside C Marc Savard (the pair played together in Atlanta). The Bruins would like to get Sabres D Brian Campbell.

Who's available: LW P.J. Axelsson, RW Glen Murray and LW Peter Schaefer.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Needs: The Avs want to bolster their lineup at the deadline. They could do a lot of things, including making a bid for Atlanta RW Marian Hossa. With the $7 million to spend under the $50.3-million salary cap, they're also expected to make a pitch for Los Angeles D Rob Blake.

Who's available: D John-Michael Liles and LW Andrew Brunette.

EDMONTON OILERS

Needs: GM Kevin Lowe is in a selling mode. Lowe might want to wait until next year to see his team 100% healthy, but he is willing to listen at this deadline. Lowe won't be looking for any help. He'd like to peddle G Dwayne Roloson (and his $3.67-million US contract for next year).

Who's available: G Dwayne Roloson, C Jarrett Stool and D Steve Staios.

MINNESOTA WILD

Needs: GM Doug Risebrough has eight unrestricted free agents on his roster, but he really doesn't want to do much. Risebrough believes the Wild has good chemistry and really doesn't want to tinker much with the roster. The only move Minny might make is one to bring in a depth player or two.

Who's available: RW Pavol Demitra, RW Brian Rolston and D Nick Schultz.

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Needs: The Hurricanes may have already made their big deal by picking up D Joe Corvo and RW Patrick Eaves from the Senators. GM Jim Rutherford is going to have to rebuild his blue line, but it's doubtful that's going to happen at the deadline. A team that has to decide whether it wants to buy or sell.

Who's available: D Bret Hedican, C Jeff Hamilton and G John Grahame.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Needs: The Blackhawks need to add some offence. Yes, they've got Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane, but they want to add more experience. While GM Dale Tallon has denied it, goaltending is an issue because Nikolai Khabibulin hasn't been up to snuff.

Who's available: RW Martin Havlat, G Nikolai Khabibulin, RW Martin Lapointe and C Yanic Perreault.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Needs: Jackets GM Scott Howson doesn't know what to do: Is he a buyer or seller? Right now, the Jackets are in the race. If the Jackets decide to buy, they'd likely make smaller moves and try to add a centre and defencemen. Unfortunately, they probably can't afford to do both.

Who's available: C Sergei Fedorov and D Adam Foote.

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Needs: The Habs would really like to add some faceoff help and, naturally, Chicago C Yanic Perreault is a possible fit. GM Bob Gainey might decide to go real big and there's been plenty of talk about getting Thrashers RW Marian Hossa. Don't be surprised if Gainey doesn't do a thing.

Who's available: RW Mathieu Dandenault and RW Michael Ryder.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Needs: The Predators surprised everybody last year by picking up C Peter Forsberg from the Flyers at the deadline. They aren't expected to make that kind of move this year. They'd like to get another offensive player, but GM David Poile isn't likely to do much.

Who's available: LW Martin Gelinas.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Needs: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is one of the league's most methodical players at the management level. He would like to add an offensive defenceman. With so many teams in the playoff race, that could prove to be difficult.

Who's available: RW Aaron Asham and D Karel Rachunek.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Needs: The Flyers are the NHL's most improved team. The Flyers have upgraded their forwards and goaltending, but GM Paul Holmgren would really like some help on defence. Ideally, the Flyers would like to get younger because they feel like they've got a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup this year and for years to come.

Who's available: C Jeff Carter and C R.J. Umberger.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Needs: The Blues are another team with decisions to make, but will ultimately be sellers. They're trying to sign D Bryce Salvador and D Barret Jackman to contracts before the deadline. What happens there could go a long way in deciding if GM Larry Pleau is going to be active at this deadline.

Who's available: D Barret Jackman, LW Martin Rucinsky and D Bryce Salvador.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Needs: The Isles are close enough that they count, but GM Garth Snow has a decision to make. He has a number of pending unrestricted free agents and could get help at the deadline. It's no secret the Isles need scoring. They need to find a big, gritty centre.

Who's available: D Bryan Berard, C Mike Comrie and RW Miroslav Satan.

PHOENIX COYOTES

Needs: Phoenix GM Don Maloney can afford to be patient and stick with the plan to bring in young players. Coach Wayne Gretzky deserves credit for helping Phoenix compete for a playoff spot. The Coyotes would like to add depth at forward.

Who's available: C Niko Kapanen, C Steven Reinprecht and RW Radim Vrbata.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Needs: The Bolts need a goalie, but GM Jay Feaster isn't going to fill that hole at the deadline. That's a summer project which could include moving C Vinny Lecavalier. Instead, Feaster will focus on trying to move Tampa's potential UFAs and won't want much in return.

Who's available: D Dan Boyle, C Chris Gratton, LW Jan Hlavac, RW Vaclav Prospal and G Johan Holmqvist.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Needs: GM Cliff Fletcher arrived with a mandate to help clean up the mess left behind by fired GM John Ferguson. So far, all the guys with no movement clauses -- C Mats Sundin, RW Darcy Tucker, D Bryan McCabe and D Pavel Kubina -- have maintained they don't want to be dealt.

Who's available: D Bryan McCabe, C Mats Sundin and RW Darcy Tucker.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Needs: The Rangers want to be players at the deadline. They want to make something happen. Ideally, they'd like to add help up front and have made a call to the Thrashers about RW Marian Hossa. The Rangers haven't performed up to expectations and GM Glen Sather has never been afraid to make big moves.

Who's available: RW Jaromir Jagr and D Marek Malik.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Needs: The Penguins would like to give Sidney Crosby some help to make a run for the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh would like to add a goal-scoring winger and a reliable blueliner with an edge. A big move? Not likely. More like the move they made last spring to add LW Gary Roberts.

Who's available: C Kris Beech LW Ryan Malone and D Brooks Orpik.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Needs: The Canucks were big players in the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes because they want, and need, more scoring. Expect to see GM Dave Nonis at least make a pitch for Leafs captain Mats Sundin. They also might decide to make a call to the Habs to see what they want for disgruntled RW Michael Ryder.

Who's available: D Luc Bourdon.

OTTAWA SENATORS

Needs: GM Bryan Murray made his big deal, acquiring LW Cory Stillman and D Mike Commodore from the Hurricanes. Murray would also like to add another right winger with size and possibly a rental defenceman who can help the power play.

Who's available: C Nick Foligno, C Chris Kelly and LW Antoine Vermette.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Needs: The Sharks have been looking for help on the blue line all season. That's why they were talking to the Senators about D Wade Redden. No, the Sharks don't need to make a major shakeup, but GM Doug Wilson has been among the most active working the phones. They will make a play for Atlanta RW Marian Hossa.

Who's available: D Christian Erhoff and C Patrick Marleau.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Needs: The Caps really need a second-line centre to replace the injured Michael Nylander and a rugged blueliner. Washington has surprised all by getting back into the race in the Southeast Division and a playoff spot is close. GM George McPhee won't pay any price to get what the Caps need.

Who's available: D Steve Eminger and LW Matt Pettinger.


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