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NHL trade rumors: Avalanche, Bruins and Lightning should be buyers

Regardless of where your team stands, the annual flurry of rumors, trade activity, reactions in the media, and watching traded players' impact - or lack thereof - is a blast for hockey fans.

It is an exciting time of year in the NHL. There have already been a few trades in 2024, but here are some other teams and potential players to watch as the deadline approaches:

Potential Sellers

Anaheim Ducks

There is a clear eye on the future for the Ducks which could see them be dangerous in a year or two as their young talent Anaheim made a splash in January by acquiring Cutter Gauthier from the Flyers for Jamie Drysdale.

Bizarre circumstances aside, that looks like a very solid, mutually-beneficial hockey trade.

The Ducks could make even more of a splash from a selling perspective. They could land a very good haul for Frank Vatrano and Adam Henrique. Henrique is set to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the season while Vatrano is under contract next year as well before becoming a UFA.

Vatrano is having a career year with 22 goals and 38 points, both of which lead the Ducks. He would bring a nice scoring threat to an acquiring team and would land the Ducks a nice return given his extra year of control.

Henrique is a solid, reliable, veteran center that would bring stability to the acquiring team. Henrique has 15 goals and 35 points along with a +1 rating which is impressive on such a bad team.

Pittsburgh Penguins

General Manager Kyle Dubas said publicly that the Penguins have no discussions regarding trading top left winger Jake Guentzel.

He doubled down that anything out there is purely speculation. However, it is easy to see why fans and media would speculate.

The Penguins are in unfamiliar territory. They are seven points out of a playoff spot with three teams to hurdle. While it is not panic mode yet, if they do not inch closer come the start of March, they may be forced to sell an asset like Guentzel.

If dealt, Guentzel would instantly upgrade the acquiring team. In 2018, he had his first 40-goal season, and since the 2019-20 season, Guentzel has 308 points in 298 games.

He is a Stanley Cup winner, can play on any team’s top line, and is effective on both the power play and penalty kill.

Potential Buyers

Boston Bruins

After a record-setting regular season last year and then getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs, the Bruins are not going to be complacent this trade deadline despite being atop the Eastern Conference.

Their primary need is center support. The Bruins are an injury away from being weak up the middle which does not bode well for a team come the postseason.

While the Bruins, who are +850 to win the Stanley Cup, have a clear need at center, that does not necessarily mean they would stop there. Last year, Boston acquired Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway.

That is two forwards and a defenseman, all of which were impactful down the stretch. To avoid another disappointing season ending, look for the Bruins to acquire multiple impact players up and down the lineup once again.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning were just dealt a blow to their blue line having lost Mikhail Sergachev for the remainder of the season.

Sergachev has had an unfortunate injury history and the Lightning having to backfill is nothing very new.

But they were banking on Sergachev being part of a playoff run. Now, they are forced to look externally for defensive reinforcements.

Similar to the Bruins, the Lightning may not stop making moves once they get their defenseman. This franchise has been fantastic in the past decade at pulling off trades.

They acquire players that may not sound spectacular in headlines, but very well complement the roster as is and make a big difference in big moments.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are in a battle in the Central with the Stars and Jets. Colorado has gone through a couple of rough stretches this year that while they have gotten through on the other side, reflect a bit more volatility than they would prefer.

The Avalanche could use reinforcements in net as Alexander Georgiev has been a workhorse and could use a breather after playing in 45 of the team's 54 games this year. They could also benefit from additional depth at center.

In a competitive division with a tough schedule, look for the Avalanche to fill in important gaps that bring them from a good playoff team back to a bona fide Stanley Cup contender.

Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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