Trade Deadline 2012

In less than a week, the NHL Trade Deadline will take place. On Monday, February 27 at 3 PM give or take some late announcements on the West coast, last minute deals will be the topic.

It's one of hockey's most popular days that brings fans, media, bloggers closer to players and GMs. As usual, TSN will be live with their Deadline Watch bright and early at 8 ET with wall to wall coverage. NHL Network will pick it up for those in the U.S. If you're busy working, make sure to check your texts and Twitter for the latest breaking news.

How much action will there be? In a league full of parity where only a handful of teams are completely out of it like Columbus with Rick Nash, it's very hard to predict who will be traded. While Blue Jacket GM Scott Howson will be busy fielding calls on Nash and Jeff Carter, the rest depends on how execs view their rosters moving forward. All 15 teams in the East still believe they can make the playoffs while out West, it's 13 vying for eight.

Such is life in the new NHL where brownie points only intensify races. In the Southeast, eight total points separates first place Florida from last Carolina. Similarly, the Pacific has San Jose and Phoenix deadlocked with 69 while sizzling Anaheim has crawled within nine. The same Ducks who couldn't get out of their own way have responded to Bruce Boudreau with a Devilish push. Is there enough time? They're closer at this point than New Jersey was.

Combine the crowded Atlantic and Central where four teams can win each division and gain home ice as a top three seed and it's nearly impossible to figure out what the first round will look like. Only Vancouver has their division (Northwest) locked up with a healthy 17-point gap on Calgary. It's why the Canucks should edge out Detroit and New York for the President's Trophy.

Who is on the block? The bigger question is how far will teams go to acquire help. The Eastern Conference leading Rangers need offense and probably another D. Does Glen Sather stick to the plan and find cheaper alternatives or cave in on Nash? Toronto desperately wants in but lacks the goaltending and an iffy blueline. What will Brian Burke do? How cash strapped are the Devils? Is there any chance Zach Parise re-signs?

These are all good questions as the deadline approaches. Will it be a blockbuster weekend or a quiet one like last year where minor deals and extensions ruled the day? Find out soon.

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