With the trade deadline being on February 29th, this article is the second of a four part series of where I preview what each team needs, where they stand, and what they could acquire or move. The order of teams will go by where they stand in the standings. For February 21st, the Central goes as follows:
1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Dallas Stars
3. St. Louis Blues
4. Colorado Avalanche
5. Nashville Predators
6. Minnesota Wild
7. Winnipeg Jets
The Chicago Blackhawks have reloaded rather quickly from the summer. This season's bunch is different than last's, but this team is still aiming to win the Stanley Cup once again, making it the fourth time in seven years.
What They Need: Bottom Pairing Defenseman, Top Six Forward, Depth Offense/Defense/Goaltending
Who Could Be Moved: Bryan Bickell
Who Could Be Acquired: Andrew Ladd, Teddy Purcell, Evgeni Medvedev, Mikkel Boedker,
The Dallas Stars failed to make to the playoffs last year, but with the smartness of general manager Jim Nill and a red not start to the 2015-2016 season, the Stars seem to be a lock for the playoffs. In three years, Jim Mill had acquired Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Patrick Sharp in blockbuster deals; and picked up ex-Hawks Antti Niemi and Johnny Oduya. As the Stars continue to get into the playoffs, expect Jim Nill to make antler move.
What They Need: Top 4 Defensemen, Depth Defensemen, Depth Offense
Who Could Be Moved: Patrick Nemeth, Jamie Olekisak, Valeri Nichuksin,
Who Could Be Acquired: Roman Polak, Keith Yandle, Andrew Ladd
The St. Louis Blues have been injury riddled this year, but some of their top guys are getting back now, including the following: Jaden Schwartz, Paul Statsny, and Jake Allen. The Blues are sure to be in the playoffs, but what they do determines the future of coach Ken Hitchock and captain David Backes.
What They Need: Veteran Defensemen, Depth Forwards
Who Could Be Moved: Carl Gunnarson, David Backes, Brian Elliot, Kevin Shattenkirk
Who Could Be Acquired: Eric Staal, Mikkel Boedker, Brad Boyes, Roman Polak, Jonathan Drouin
The Colorado Avalanche have bounced back into the playoff picture after missing the them the past couple of seasons. The Avs have rebounded courtesy of their elite forwards, including Nate MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. The Avs still have a ways to go before being a contender, but seem to have the right mix. Today, they acquired Shawn Matthias from Toronto for Colin Smith and a draft pick.
What They Need: Top 4 Defenseman, Depth Defnesemen,
Who Could Be Moved: Reto Berra
Who Could Be Acquired: Roman Polak, Travis Hamonic, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jonathan Drouin
The Nashville Predators are fighting for a playoff spot, and bolstered their roster earlier this season in a blockbuster one-for-one swap with the Columbus Blue Jackets involving Seth Jones and Ryan Johansen. The Preds have been struggling with a lack of offense and a poor season from Pekka Rinne.
What They Need: Quality Offense, Prospects
Who Could Be Moved: Carter Hutton, Paul Gaustad
Who Could Be Acquired: Eric Staal, Mikkel Boedker, Andrew Ladd, Jonathan Drouin,
The Minnesota are getting back on track after dismissing former head coach Mike Yeo by calling up the coach of the Iowa Wild- John Tortechi. The Wild have made the playoffs the past couple of seasons before being knocked out of the playoffs by Chicago, and usually make their annual trade with the Buffalo Sabres. Will Tyler Ennis be next?
What They Need: Depth Forwards/Defense
Who Could Be Moved: Nicklas Backstrom
Who Could Be Acquired: Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Ennis, David Legwand, Jiri Hudler
After being swept in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Winnipeg Jets are in the bottom 10 of the playoffs, and are still in what they call a "build". They locked up Dustin Byfulgien, but are struggling to keep captain Andrew Ladd and defenseman Jacob Trouba.
What They Need: Players With Terms, Prospects, Draft Picks
Who Could Be Moved: Grant Clitsome, Adam Pardy, Andrew Ladd, Ondrej Pavalec, Michael Hutchinson,
Who Could Be Acquired: Jonathan Drouin, Travis Hamonic, James Reimer
What are your thoughts on the trade deadline? Who could be moved? What are your thoughts on the Central Division? Who makes the playoffs? Who misses the playoffs?
Enjoy Hockey Day In America. More to come…