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From the Press Box: Anticipating the Trade Deadline

Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno is co-host of the RotoWire fantasy hockey podcast, The Great Ones. He has been an accredited member of the Toronto sports media for more than 20 years. Paul also helps with RW's DFS podcast and is a contributing writer for RW NFL, MLB and CFL content. Follow him on twitter: @statsman22.

Today, From the Pressbox:

As a fantasy owner you need to constantly be looking to bolster your rosters. As the trade deadline approaches, some of them may soon be switching teams, while others are finally starting to play as they were originally expected. Most people will wait until much closer to the trade deadline. Winning fantasy players will not wait that long. Here are some players who are either hot right now and others who are likely to be moved before the trade deadline passes. Check these guys out.

David Legwand - A career long member of the Preds, Legwand is in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.5 M cap hit. He has fashioned a pretty nice season with nine goals and 27 assists, but at 33 years of age he may be deemed expendable and could garner a nice return at the trade deadline. This will be a tough call for the Preds because Legwand was the first ever draft pick of the franchise. For the good of the team, he should be dealt. A trade to a contending team would see an immediate spike in his value in fantasy pools.

Alex Goligoski - This young blueliner is blessed with great offensive skills, but he got off to a very slow start and seemed to have lost a bit of confidence with his puck-moving skills. During the past two weeks he seems to have rediscovered his top form. He has played top minutes on the special teams all season, but things are clicking for him lately, with 10 points in his last eight games. If your blue line depth needs an upgrade and he is available, snap him up quickly.

Roman Josi - Josi was expected to star on the Predators' blueline, but his season began with injury woes. He struggled through the first two months of the season, likely because his concussions issues forced him to lose some of his fitness and timing. All of that seems to be in order now as he is another impressive young defenseman who is showing off that offensive upside with eight points in his last seven games.

Gustav Nyquist - There seems to be an increasing realization that a changing of the guard is taking place in Motown, where the Wings have keened heavily on a core of veterans for a long time. Injuries to that experienced group have paved the way for increased responsibility and more playing time going to some relatively unproven players. Nyquist has seven points in his last five games after only 10 points in his first 22 games this season. The wings playoff hopes are slipping away and he may get a ton of ice time if Detroit becomes focused on the development of some younger players down the stretch.

Nick Bonino - The Ducks have shed the image of being a one-line offense this season. Bonino's emergence as the second line center has been a really key development in that regard. He has tallied a career-best 40 points in the club's 54 games played and has been a key contributor to the clubs' second power play unit as well with six of his 16 goals coming with the man advantage. He is thriving because the Ducks have improved the depth of their forward ranks and his unit doesn't face top opposing defensive coverage. That is the benefit of playing behind Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

Tom Gilbert - The Florida Panthers appear destined to miss the playoffs once again and that means that a few of their players will be involved in trade discussions. From their defense corps, we should expect to hear that Tom Gilbert might be a valued commodity. He has had a nice comeback season after floundering in Minnesota last year. He is currently riding a hot streak with seven assists in his last five games played and will be a UFA at season's end.

Brad Boyes - Up front, a Panther who should also generate significant interest is this veteran goal scorer, who is also headed for free agency in the off-season. With 13 goals thus far he is on a 20-goal pace and could be attractive to any team that wants a boost in their secondary scoring ranks.

Jiri Tlusty - The Carolina Hurricanes have warmed to the challenge of the playoff hunt after an ordinary start to the season. Tlusty, a front-line player for the Canes last year, got off to a terrible start (seven points in 26 games) and was actually pushed well back on the club's depth chart for quite some time. With the changing of the calendar, he seems to be back on track, producing six points and a (+5) rating in seven games. He is back in the top six forward ranks and could be headed toward a big finish to his season after all.

P.A. Parenteau - The Avalanche are faced with some tough salary cap decisions in this off-season as key players like Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly are both in need of new contracts in the summer of 2014. It has been widely speculated that only one of them would likely be retained. However, this week Parenteau's name has been leaked in talks. He has seen his offensive production slip this season after three pretty solid campaigns. At 30 years old and with two more years with a $4M cap hit, he might have more value in the trade market because he is one of the older players in Colorado. It's not like he is struggling mightily as he is still on a pace for a 50-point season.

Tomas Vanek/Matt Moulson - Oddly enough these snipers were dealt for one another and both are headed toward free agency this offseason. You have to think the Islanders are more disappointed with the fact that they are not headed toward the post-season. That was expected of Buffalo. So, despite his 47 points in 52 games and a nice working relationship with John Tavares, you can bet that the Isles will dangle Vanek in trade talks. Moulson is a 30-year-old winger who does not fit the rebuilding program that is underway in buffalo and is very likely to be moved to a contender at the trade deadline.

Nazem Kadri - The Maple Leafs have been waiting for the 23-year old former first round pick to resemble the player who dominated play for a 20-games stretch last season. Since the second half of the strike-shortened season and through this year, he has shown flashes of an impressive skill set and other teams (such as Pittsburgh) have inquired about his availability. He should not be dealt by the Leafs for anything less than his own profile, a young skilled player who fits easily into a team's top-six forwards or top offensive defender. If you can get him for anything less, pull the trigger immediately.

Ryan Miller - The long-time standout netminder seems terribly wasted as the number one goalie on a team that is clearly in a major rebuilding mode in Buffalo. Even though he is playing for a last place club, the powers that guide the Team USA roster selection process saw fit to select him for the upcoming Olympics because they all recall what he did last time out. He is still very capable of dominating performances and a contending team looking for an upgrade in net would be a great fit here. If that deal happens, he immediately returns to a top tem goalie in the fantasy spectrum.

If you forecast the right player movement and make a trade in the next week or so, you may get very good value from these additions and they might not cost you as much as they will later on. That's the benefit of getting out in front of he crowd in your fantasy leagues.