- Rob Vollman, ESPN Insider
Hockey Prospectus is taking a look at the NHL division by division and suggesting ways each team should approach the forthcoming trade deadline.
April 3 marks the NHL's trade deadline, and every team in the league -- both the playoff-bound and those likely headed to the draft lottery -- has needs to address. To prepare for the final flurry of transactions, we're going team by team to see which players could help fill some holes on contenders or provide some foundational stability for teams building for next season and beyond.
One statistic you'll come across in the analysis below is GVT, the main player-valuation metric used by Hockey Prospectus. For a detailed explanation of GVT, click here. All numbers here are accurate as of the morning of March 25.
Puck-moving defensemen, value players who can log tough minutes and skilled goaltenders are the trade-deadline needs in the Northwest Division, whose postseason participants have been all but decided. The offseason acquisition of superstars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter instantly vaulted the Minnesota Wild into contention with the perennial division-leading Vancouver Canucks, while the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche continue to rebuild with youth (hopefully for the last season).
Here's how the Northwest teams can optimize their rosters at the trade deadline for the final push:
The problem: Having already made his blockbuster moves in the offseason, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has been busy making smaller, surgical moves -- mostly to shore up Minnesota's blue line and depth up front. The Wild's primary remaining need is for a player who can provide an offensive boost and can fit on a team that is very near to the salary cap.
8dScott Burnside and Craig Custance