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Previewing deadline in Southeast

Hockey Primetime Erika Schnure
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Carolina Hurricanes

Buyers or sellers?

Carolina's in the basement of the Southeast Division and unlikely to make the playoffs, so if the Hurricanes make any deadline moves, it'll be with their minds on the future. With about $13 million in cap space, the Hurricanes have plenty of room to bring in some new players. But recent Hurricanes trades have also made it clear they'd like to make some room for their prospects to move up.

Needs

Scoring. The Hurricanes' top-six forwards have started to pick up their first-half slack, but they're basically without secondary scoring. The Hurricanes have been giving a lot of "tryout" time to call-ups this season, and players like Zac Dalpe, Drayson Bowman and Riley Nash have gotten a good look at the NHL level. If they aren't willing to rely on those young players, they could be in the market for some secondary scoring.

Surplus

Tuomo Ruutu had been rumored to be heading out of Raleigh, but with a recent upper body injury keeping him out for three weeks, few will be biting. Besides, word is the Hurricanes are looking to lock up Ruutu with an extension soon. Anthony Stewart hit the waiver wire last week, but went unclaimed. If the Hurricanes are looking to get rid of him, they could throw him in with some picks and prospects for a trade return. Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek are two defensemen who are in the last year of their contracts and could become trade bait.

In the system

The Hurricanes made trades for Evgeny Dadonov and A.J. Jenks in January, two players who could make the jump to the NHL as soon as next season. Dalpe, Bowman and Nash are all centers, so the Hurricanes are set at that position in their system. But they could use some NHL-caliber defensemen — Justin Faulk made the leap to the NHL this year, and the defense in the minors is somewhat lacking in players who could make that jump.

Florida Panthers

Buyers or sellers?

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With the Panthers basically tearing down their roster over the summer and building it back up with free agents, they don't need to make a lot of moves at the deadline. They're in good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000, and have just received many key players back from injury. The Panthers may be looking to buy and sell at the deadline.

Needs

The Panthers could use a few rentals to cover the losses of some players still on the mend. Scottie Upshall has played in just 17 games this season, and after a short return, suffered a setback that required abdominal surgery. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski has been out for a month with a broken hand which had to be surgically repaired, and his return date is uncertain. The Panthers might look for a veteran defenseman rental to take his place.

Surplus

The Panthers may not be willing to part with anyone who would be attractive to buyers: players like Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss all have over 40 points this season and are unlikely to be moved.

In the system

Jacob Markstrom is NHL-ready, so the Panthers don't have an immediate need for a goalie. Scott Timmins, after spending 19 games with the Panthers last year, has stayed in San Antonio all year, but could be a potential trade component. The Panthers have a wealth of young prospects still in Canadian juniors and college they'd likely be unwilling to move in the interest of the future of the team. Jonathan Huberdeau, their 2011 first round pick, has built upon his MVP junior season, putting together 45 points in 24 games this year. Expect Huberdeau, Quinton Howden and Nick Bjugstad to stay put.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Buyers or sellers?

Not even the Lightning know whether they will be buyers or sellers, as Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times this week. "The trade market dictates what, if anything, we're going to do," he said. "At this point, there's nothing that makes any sense that is the right thing to do, whether it's short or long term."

Needs

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The Lightning might want to start looking for a goaltender. Dwayne Roloson has fallen out of favor with his poor performance this season, and should Clemmensen get hurt, the team needs a confident back-up. With much of the team currently hurt, any number of rentals — at forward and defense — are a possibility for Tampa.

Surplus

Tampa has a large number of pending unrestricted free agents who could be moved. Dominic Moore has already been traded to the San Jose Sharks, while Ryan Shannon, Adam Hall, Pavel Kubina, Brett Clark, Matt Gilroy and Bruno Gervais are all on the last year of their contracts and may be the most likely candidates to go if the Lightning opt to make trades.

In the system

Carter Ashton has had a great rookie season in Norfolk and is developing very well. Evan Oberg's been a frequent call-up with all the injuries on the blue line, and he's performed well in the AHL since his trade from San Antonio. Ashton and Oberg should be sticking with the Lightning organization at the deadline.

Washington Capitals

Buyers or sellers?

In a fierce fight for a playoff spot, the struggling Capitals will probably be looking to shake up the roster by bringing in some new players. However, with just over $6 million available in cap space (thanks to the LTIR status of defenseman Tom Poti), there's not a lot of wiggle room. If the Caps bring in new players, they'll have to sell off some roster players in return.

Needs

Nicklas Backstrom's concussion revealed that the Capitals are very thin at the center position. Marcus Johansson has been filling in for Backstrom on the first line, but with no timetable for Backstrom's return, the Capitals once again have the need to find a second-line center who can center two talented wingers and add some scoring himself.

Surplus

The Capitals have a lot of wingers in the AHL who can be used as bargaining chips, and Dale Hunter has recently scratched several players who could be on the move. Defenseman Jeff Schultz is a big positional player, but doesn't play physical enough for Hunter's liking. He has two seasons left on his contract at $2.75 million per year, which could make him tough to move. Mike Knuble is another player who has recently voiced his displeasure at being scratched. But he may also be difficult to deal — he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, but at 39 with a $2 million cap hit, his age and price might be a deterrent.

In the system

General manager George McPhee is one of the best drafters in the league, and that means the Capitals have a very deep prospect pool to dive into should trades require it. But dealing high-profile prospects isn't something the Capitals like doing, so come trade deadline, don't expect players like Evgeny Kuznetsov or Dmitry Orlov to be involved in any deals. The Capitals already made two minor league deals earlier this month, adding defenseman Kevin Marshall and center Mike Carman.

Winnipeg Jets

Buyers or sellers?

The Jets have over $12 million available in cap space, so they should be buyers next week. The team started early, trading Riley Holzapfel to the Anaheim Ducks for Maxime Macenauer, who made the Anaheim Ducks out of training camp, but was later sent down to the AHL. Macenauer is a contender to make the Jets roster next year.

Needs

Captain Andrew Ladd went ahead and voiced it to the media this week: the Jets need scorers. "With the troubles we've had scoring, if it's not going to come from within this room, we probably could use some help there," Ladd said, alluding to the trade deadline. "We've got a great goaltender, we've got D that can move the puck and play both ways." With all the Rick Nash trade talk, the Jets might be the only team in the Southeast that have the cap room and the need for him.

Surplus

The Jets have a few defensemen who become unrestricted free agents this summer: Johnny Oduya, Randy Jones and Mark Flood. Oduya could be a juicy bit of trade bait, eating up almost 20 minutes per game with a $3.5 million cap hit.

In the system

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has hinted he doesn't want to move any young prospects. He definitely won't want to move 2011 pick Mark Scheifele or 2009 second-rounder Carl Klingberg.

Tagged: Hurricanes, Islanders, Flyers, Avalanche, Lightning, Capitals, Coyotes, Ducks, Panthers, Jets, Blue Jackets, Ed Jovanovski, Rick Nash, Adam Hall, Mark Flood, Nicklas Backstrom, Riley Nash

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