Top 15 NHL trade deadline 2015 rental players

From Left: Carl Soderberg, Antti Niemi and Erik Cole have all been mentioned in trade rumours. (AP photos)

As the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline approaches the wheeling and dealing is well underway as struggling teams have started to ship out players to contending teams in an effort to compile assets leading up to the June draft.

The Devils sent Jaromir Jagr to the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs traded Daniel Winnik to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings acquired Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes, who also sent Jiri Tlusty to the Winnipeg Jets, on a busy Wednesday, a day after the Panthers dealt pending unrestricted free agent Sean Bergenheim to the Minnesota Wild. Earlier this month, the Maple Leafs sent pending UFAs Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators for a 2015 first-round pick, prospect Brendan Leipsic plus veteran centre Olli Jokinen several days after the Buffalo Sabres sent Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars.

In addition to those moves, the Ottawa Senators signed Marc Methot to a four-year contract extension and the Washington Capitals declared they won’t trade Mike Green to merely acquire a rental player or prospect.

With the players above now off the market, here are the best remaining UFAs-to-be from (mostly) teams on the outside of the playoff picture who could be moved prior to the March 2 trade deadline.


JAY MCCLEMENT, Carolina Hurricanes

Age: 31
Position: Centre
Cap hit: $1 million

The Hurricanes are in total tank mode, so why keep one of your best defensive players whose contract expires in a few months? McClement is a depth centre who's decent in the faceoff circle and one that provides excellent defensive play.

Team that might be interested: New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens


ANTTI NIEMI, San Jose Sharks

Age: 31
Position: Goalie
Cap hit: $3.8 million

Niemi has been one of the more underrated netminders in the NHL since he joined the Sharks in 2010, despite the fact he’s a Stanley Cup champ. In 46 appearances this season he has a respectable 24-15-7 record with a .913 save percentage, 2.60 goals-against average and four shutouts.

Team that might be interested: New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks


CARL SODERBERG, Boston Bruins

Age: 29
Position: Centre
Cap hit: $1 million

Soderberg's play of late leaves much to be desired, but overall he is having another solid season with the Bruins. Plus, he is a bargain at a $1 million. If the Bruins don’t feel like they’ll be able to come to terms with him, GM Peter Chiarelli would be advised to get something for him.

Team that might be interested: New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens


CURTIS GLENCROSS, Calgary Flames

Age: 32
Position: Left Wing
Cap hit: $2.55 million

It’s believed Glencross is “a guarantee to be move” by March 2. He isn’t happy with how Bob Hartley has used him and knows he could be effective on a third or fourth line in another city. He only has six games of Stanley Cup playoff experience, but his blue-collar style lends itself well to playoff hockey.

Team that might be interested: Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning


JEFF PETRY, Edmonton Oilers

Age: 27
Position: Defence
Cap hit: $3.075 million

Petry's agent expects the blueliner will be dealt prior to the deadline. He's a quality puck-moving defenceman that can jump into the rush and log 20-plus minutes a game.

Team that might be interested: Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins


OLLI JOKINEN, Toronto Maple Leafs

Age: 36
Position: Centre
Cap hit: $2.5 million

In his brief time with the Maple Leafs, Jokinen has played well on a line with David Clarkson and Leo Komarov. Having played 1,220 regular season games compared to just six playoff games, Jokinen wants to go to a contending team. If Jokinen finishes the season with the Leafs it will be sad for all involved.

Team that might be interested: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers


MATT BELESKEY, Anaheim Ducks

Age: 26
Position: Left Wing
Cap hit: $1.35 million

The fourth-round pick from the 2006 draft has developed into a quality power forward. He's big, he's strong, he's physical, he's young, he doesn't mind going to the dirty areas of the ice and he knows how to put the puck in the net. Through 55 games with the Ducks this season, the former Belleville Bulls standout has 21 goals and tooks advantage of some first-line time playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported in early February that Beleskey and the Ducks aren't close on term or money in contract negotiations.

Team that might be interested: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers


ERIK COLE, Dallas Stars

Age: 36
Position: Left Wing
Cap hit: $4.5 million

The 36-year-old is having a solid season on the second line beside former Ottawa Senators Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. His physical style is conducive to playoff hockey and he has won a Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006.

Team that might be interested: Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning


DANIEL BRIERE, Colorado Avalanche

Age: 37
Position: Centre/Right Wing
Cap hit: $4 million

He is having a forgettable regular season, but Briere has historically been money in the playoffs. In 124 career post-season games he has 116 points.

Team that might be interested: Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks


MARTIN ERAT, Arizona Coyotes

Age: 32
Position: Right Wing
Cap hit: $4.5 million

If a team wanted to flip a mid-round pick to Arizona for Erat, the Czech forward could provide secondary scoring to a contender.

Team that might be interested: Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders


MICHAL NEUVIRTH, Buffalo Sabres

Age: 29
Position: Goalie
Cap hit: $2.5 million

The Sabres weren’t afraid to ship their other UFA goalie out of town as they sent Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for Anders Lindback. Neuvirth clearly isn’t the Sabres’ goalie of the future and a few teams would be served well to add depth in the crease.

Team that might be interested: New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers


MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO, Philadelphia Flyers

Age: 24
Position: Defence
Cap hit: $1.3 million

After an outstanding start to his NHL career with the Rangers, Del Zotto fell into a rut from 2012 to 2014. However, the 20th overall pick from the 2008 draft has been on fire lately scoring eight points in his last nine games.

Team that might be interested: Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks


ZBYNEK MICHALEK, Arizona Coyotes

Age: 32
Position: Defence
Cap hit: $4 million

The veteran was built for rugged post-season games. He plays a simple, physical brand of hockey and knows when to get the puck high and hard off the glass. A lack of playoff experience won’t matter to teams looking to bulk up the blueline.

Team that might be interested: Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders


CHRIS STEWART, Buffalo Sabres

Age: 27
Position: Right Wing
Cap hit: $4.15 million

Despite his league-worst minus-31 rating, Stewart has played better in the second half of the season. The power forward has the potential to provide a scoring punch and grit to any team lacking goals or size. His relatively high salary could be a stumbling block for certain GMs to fit under the cap.

Team that might be interested: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders


ANTOINE VERMETTE, Arizona Coyotes

Age: 32
Position: Centre
Cap hit: $3.75 million

Vermette will be one of the most sought-after free agents in the summer. With size, speed and the ability to create offence – the St. Agapit, Que., native leads the Coyotes forwards in points through 61 games – he’d be an ideal second-line winger for a playoff-bound team to add.

Team that might be interested: Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators