The midseason point is finally upon us and the NHL's playoff picture is starting to emerge. Teams are beginning to form as buyers or sellers at this year's deadline and it seems inevitable a few of these names will be on the move as rentals for the postseason push.
6. Jeff Carter
The Los Angeles Kings are buried in the bottom of the standings with a core of players on the wrong side of 30 years old. Jeff Carter is a prime target ahead of the deadline, however his contract may keep him out of any deal. He'll still be paid over $5 million for the next four years. However, Carter's 19 points in 43 games proves he can still perform offensively even on an extremely poor team. He's a big center and could command a hefty return if he is dealt to a contender.
5. Wayne Simmonds
Simmonds is on the last year of his contract with a team that's entirely out of the playoff race. He's the pinnacle of a late season rental and should be dealt from the Flyers at the deadline. Simmonds' 12 goals is third on the Flyers and his four goals on the power play leads his team. His gritty play and hard-nosed front net battles make Simmonds an attractive target for the grind of the playoffs.
4. Brayden Schenn
Vladimir Tarasenko would be a much more notable headline for the Blues trade block but the price is steep for the star winger. A more realistic target would be Brayden Schenn who has quietly put together yet another strong season for his Blues. He's a volatile player who can slot in on the wing or center and play both the man-advantage and the PK. With Ryan O'Reilly dominating down the middle, Schenn has become expendable and should command a huge return if dealt.
3. Gustav Nyquist
Gustav Nyquist is yet another player who perfectly fits the build of a rental player. The 29-year-old forward has scored 36 points in 44 games on an offensively-challenged Detroit Red Wings team. He's on the last year of his team-friendly four-year, $19 million contract making him a perfect rental for a contender. The talented right winger will be a highly-touted target during the trade deadline.
2. Kevin Hayes
Kevin Hayes is another big center who's been putting together a career year for his New York Rangers. He signed a one-year extension this past off season for the sole purpose of the Rangers to trade him at the deadline this year. Hayes' 33 points in 39 games proves he's an all-purpose center who can perform both offensively and defensively. The Rangers are asking for a package of a first-round pick and high-end prospect for the big center. The price is steep but well worth it considering the center market.
1. Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene seems to be on the move once again. Just a year after being dealt mid-season to the Ottawa Senators, the talented center is on the block. The 27-year-old has quietly put up 42 points in 37 games, leading the Senators offense. However, the Sens are in a full-rebuild and can't afford to keep both Mark Stone and Duchene. He'll command a high price similar to the trade that brought him to Ottawa, but he'd be a huge piece for a team that's starved of center depth.