Rumour Report: NHL trade deadline preview, part 1

To get you set for this year's NHL trade deadline, we take you around the league and examine each team's rumoured targets and trade bait.

This year's deadline should be a marked improvement on the last, where the market was constrained by the rules of the Vegas expansion draft and pessimistic salary cap projections. With neither factor in play this year and many teams ready to sell, it could be a fun couple of weeks.

Here's a look at where each team stands right now.

Anaheim Ducks
Could be a buyer or seller depending on where they stand closer to the 26th. Antoine Vermette would be their top UFA rental to dangle out there if they go that direction. They've been linked to Evander Kane, Rick Nash and Alex Galchenyuk, but none of those trades are likely to happen if the team can't put together a string of wins.

Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes stumbled out of the gate and have been in the seller camp since about mid November. Most Coyotes rumours tend to revolve around Niklas Hjarmalsson, who may be a fallback for teams striking out on the top UFA rentals, but Max Domi has recently seen his name in trade talk as well. Jason Demers and Antti Raanta have to a lesser extent, while the buzz surrounding 2019 UFA Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ever present.

Boston Bruins
The Bruins may be one of the busiest teams at this year's deadline. They've been linked to Kane, Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Patrick Maroon, Mike Hoffman and Slater Koekkoek among others. Ryan Spooner's name has always come up in trade talks, but an in-season move seems less likely.

Calgary Flames
Calgary have been linked to Kane, Max Pacioretty, Jeff Skinner and Zack Smith. Rumours have suggested their prospect depth, particularly goalie Jon Gillies or David Rittich, could be available as part of a package.

Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are always dogged by trade rumours even when they're fighting for a playoff spot. Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, Teuvo Teravainen and Cam Ward have seen their names in the rumour mill. On the buyer front, the Canes have been linked to Mike Hoffman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Chicago Blackhawks
Earlier on in the year, rumours suggested the Blackhawks might be willing to move Brent Seabrook. That's gone quiet, but lately teams seem to be poking around to see if they can pry Brandon Saad away given his recent struggles.  If the team does sell for the first time in ages, it's more likely players like Patrick Sharp or Jan Rutta would be some of the lower end rentals available.

Colorado Avalanche
The Avs are hanging around in the mix for a wild card, but they could become sellers if things continue to slide. If they sell, expect teams to inquire on Tyson Barrie and Blake Comeau. They'd also like to find a taker for Andrew Hammond if possible.

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