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The 10 most fascinating people of the 2013 NHL trade deadline

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Don’t you want to skip to the end of this book?

Don’t you want to see which NHL teams were the big winners and losers at the trade deadline? Which general managers were bold, and which ones were timid? Which players ended up exactly where you’d figure they would, and which players suddenly become the next Jarome Iginla in a Penguins uniform?

There are a handful of executives and players whose movement will either make the 2013 NHL trade deadline memorable or make it 24 hours of white dudes on TV staring wistfully at their BlackBerrys as they wait for The Greg Zanon Trade.

Here are the 10 most fascinating people of the 2013 NHL trade deadline …

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Jarmo Kekalainen, Columbus Blue Jackets GM

Raise your hand if you thought the Columbus Blue Jackets would be buyers at the trade deadline.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

That was the scuttlebutt this week, as the Blue Jackets occupied the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and possessed a trio of first-round picks in this summer’s draft. Yet at the same time, Kekalainen and team president John Davidson might take the opportunity to make over a roster they inherited from Scott Howson.

Are they rebuilding or making a playoff push? Kekalainen might not even know.

Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres Winger

The captain and career Sabre was asked to submit a list of eight teams to which he’d refuse a trade. He has one year left on his five-year, $26.5 million contract ($5.3 million cap hit). Pominville’s a top six forward who brings offense, grit and leadership. The fans don’t necessarily want to see him go, but after the Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr trades it appears Buffalo’s got the yard sale open.

Will the population of Pominville decrease by one?

Mike Ribeiro, Washington Capitals Center

Arguably the Capitals best forward this season, Ribeiro’s been a point-per-game player in the walk year of his contract. He’s gone public seeking a 5-year deal; Washington reportedly has offered three years.

The 33-year-old would like to stay with the Capitals, who might be raising the white flag on their playoff push should they deal him. Then again, with Evgeny Kuznetsov projected as a center, maybe Ribs is expendable.

Jay Feaster, Calgary Flames GM

The Flames are in total rebuild mode, which would have been great news back in 2010.

Having dealt Jarome Iginla for practically nothing and Jay Bouwmeester for at least something, Feaster is dismantling the Flames one big contract at a time, stockpiling picks and prospects and hoping the lottery balls fall in his favor. The big question: How deep will the scalpel cut as the Flames gut their roster? Miikka Kiprusoff? Curtis Glencross? Mike Cammalleri?

Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks GM

Dealing Roberto Luongo in something resembling a “hockey trade”, rather than a giveaway to a destination of Lou's chosing, remains Gillis’ greatest challenge. The latest is that the Canucks are talking with four teams about the netminder’s services.

But beyond that, Gillis needs to find Vancouver help at the forward spot, especially at center. Hey, maybe he can dunk Stephen Weiss in the Lazarus Pit. That seemed like a perfect match before his injury.

What Gillis does, or doesn’t do, at the deadline will greatly influence what Vancouver does, or doesn’t do, in the postseason.

Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes Defenseman

The career Coyote has three years left on his contract at $5.25 million annually. GM Don Maloney receives many more calls than he makes regarding Yandle, who at 26 could be anything from a significant piece for a contending team to a cornerstone for a building team. According to The Fourth Period, “the asking price is a top young offensive forward, a defensive prospect and a possibly first-round pick.” Well, it’s good to want things.

Peter Chiarelli, Boston Bruins GM

Now that Penguins GM Ray Shero has zipped up, it’s time for the Bruins to see how they measure up in the Eastern Conference arms race.

[Also: Jaromir Jagr dealt to Bruins; Can he help topple Penguins?]

The Jarome Iginla saga was an embarrassment for Boston and for Chiarelli, who went from landing the biggest trade deadline name to watching him go to the Bruins’ top conference rival for less than what his team was offering.

Chiarelli’s on record as saying he wants a puck-moving defenseman (Ryan Whitney?) and an upgrade on the wing. It’s the blue line that has us thinking big splash for the B’s.

Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks Defenseman

In theory, the Sharks hang onto Boyle as they contend in the West. In reality, he has another year left at $6,666,667 on his contract and GM Doug Wilson has already shown he’s willing to reload on the fly by dealing Douglas Murray last week and Ryane Clowe soon after (we believe).

Boyle wants to remain a Shark. With a limited no-trade clause, it may not be up to him. Could the Rangers or Flyers be in his future? What about the Bruins?

Dave Nonis, Toronto Maple Leafs GM

He’s been the point man in previous Leafs trade deadlines, but this is the first time Nonis hasn’t been in Brian Burke’s considerable shadow at the deadline in Toronto. It’s also the first deadline in recent memory that has the Leafs looking very much like a playoff team and, hence, a buyer.

Nonis indicated he’ll play it conservative: “We’re not trying to sell off players for future assets,” he told the Toronto Star. “We’re going to likely add a piece or two or stand pat.”

The hockey world waits to see how big those piece are – and whether they’re wearing goalie pads …

Jaromir Jagr, Dallas Stars Right Wing

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports that there’s been no progress on a contract extension for Jagr, which means the veteran winger could be on the move to a contender:” [GM Joe] Nieuwendyk in the past has held his assets and tried to make a run at a playoff spot, but the value of the assets are higher this year and the chance of making the postseason appears lower.”

Jagr will no doubt be coveted by several teams in the NHL, including his old club the Philadelphia Flyers and former Atlantic Division rival New Jersey. But what if the Boston Bruins decided to answer the Penguins’ arms race escalation by adding Jagr?

Oh, now that’d be fascinating.

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