With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone was the first domino to fall in what will surely be an active deadline.

Teams such as the Avalanche and Coyotes are obvious sellers who have assets that many contending teams will be interested in acquiring. Teams such as the Ducks, Bruins, and Predators could all use help to bolster their offense, while the Rangers are among a few different teams who will be looking to shore up their blue line.

The trade deadline has long been my favorite time of the year because it has the potential to completely alter the playoff race and inject life into teams who are able to shore up their weaknesses. Look for big names like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Kevin Shattenkirk to be on the move and ready to make the most of their new opportunities. With that being said, let’s take a look at where the teams stand before the deadline and which teams could benefit from making a move:

  1. Chicago Blackhawks (37-18-5) (+2) — Chicago has been no stranger to this spot in the Power Rankings over the past few seasons, and their recent play warrants this decision. The Blackhawks have won seven of their last eight games and could potentially be the most dangerous team come playoff time, depending on whether or not they can stay healthy.


  1. Washington Capitals (39-12-7) (-1) — A rare letdown of a week for the Capitals sees them drop down a spot. Two straight losses are rare in Washington, and with games against the Oilers, Predators and Rangers this week it will be interesting to see how the Capitals respond.


  1. Minnesota Wild (39-14-6) (-1) — Minnesota drops a spot after their losses to the Blackhawks and Ducks, but the Wild’s well-oiled machine continues to roll. Minnesota has been arguably the most consistent team in the NHL this season and will be tough for any team to beat over the course of a seven-game series.


  1. New York Rangers (38-19-2) (0) — New York currently has the sixth-most points in the NHL, but sits at fourth in their division. The Metropolitan has been a flaming death trap of hockey mastery this season, but ironically the Rangers might be the beneficiary of their standing when all is said and done. As the first wild card seed, they would play the winner of the Atlantic Division, which as it stands would be the sputtering Montreal Canadiens.


  1. Pittsburg Penguins (37-14-8) (0) — Pittsburg played uninspired in Sunday’s loss to the Red Wings; however, their cakewalk of a schedule the rest of the way should allow them to coast into the playoffs and focus on staying healthy for when it really matters.


  1. Columbus Blue Jackets (37-16-5) (0) — Last season the Blue Jackets finished last in the Metropolitan Division with a measly 76 points. This season, Columbus has 79 points with 24 games left to play. No matter how you look at it, this season has been a dramatic success for the Blue Jackets and should lay the foundation for this organization’s bright future.


  1. San Jose Sharks (35-18-7) (0) — San Jose has to be kicking themselves for keeping the Pacific Division race within 5 points. The Sharks have spoiled some good chances to extend their lead; however, they are still the favorites in the division and have a realistic shot at making it back to the Stanley Cup finals if they can figure out the powers of the Central Division.


  1. Edmonton Oilers (32-20-8) (+1) — Edmonton has benefitted from the recent struggles of Anaheim, but this team is legit and I am extremely interested to see where they finish in the Pacific. San Jose seems to be running away with the top seed; however, the Oilers could very likely finish as the second seed and set themselves up nicely for the postseason.


  1. Ottawa Senators (32-20-6) (+1) — Ottawa now controls their own destiny in the Atlantic Division as they remain only two points behind the slumping Candiens with two games in hand. Raise your hand if you believed Mike Condon and Craig Anderson will become one of the league’s most versatile goaltending tandems. If you are not raising your hand, you are probably lying. These two goalies have been dynamite as the Senators continue to roll.


  1. Anaheim Ducks (31-20-10) (+4) — Anaheim went 2-2-0 this week; however, their two victories were both 1-0 wins in which John Gibson stood on his head. Their two losses were by a combined 7-3 score, proving just how essential defense and goaltending are in this league. The Ducks’ offense has been inept as of late; however, if they can acquire an effective winger down the stretch, this team will become a lot more dangerous.


  1. Montreal Canadiens (32-20-8) (-3) — Montreal got its first win under new coach Claude Julien Tuesday against the Rangers thanks to a highlight-reel save from Carey Price at the end of overtime. Price has been mediocre as of late, and Canadiens fans have to hope his heroics will boost his confidence and have him back to his elite ways down the stretch.


  1. Florida Panthers (28-21-10) (+7) — Here come the cats. Florida is coming off of a franchise-best 5-0-0 road trip that resurrected their season and currently holds the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are healthy, and this team looks to be getting hot at just the right time.


  1. St. Louis Blues (31-24-5) (-1) — St. Louis has certainly underwhelmed compared to their lofty preseason expectations; however, the beauty of the NHL can be found in the uncertainty of the playoffs. The Blues can beat any team in the league if they are playing their best hockey, and we have seen it happen time and time again in this league.


  1. Boston Bruins (30-23-6) (-1) — The Bruce Cassidy honeymoon period has died down and now it is back into panic mode as the Bruins currently sit outside of playoff position. Boston will be in survival mode from here on out, but they have the veteran leadership that can keep this team afloat.


  1. Nashville Predators (28-22-9) (+2) — Nashville’s inconsistency has been worrisome throughout the season; however, they are stringing together enough wins to hold onto the top wild card spot in the West and will be a team no one wants to face when the playoffs roll around.


  1. Toronto Maple Leafs (28-20-11) (-1) — Toronto has hit a rough patch as of late; however, they have surpassed the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division after an overtime victory against the Jets on Tuesday. Auston Matthews notched three assists in the game and remains second among rookies in points.


  1. New York Islanders (28-21-10) (-1) — Doug Weight should be seriously considered for the Islanders’ permanent head coaching position as New York has gone 11-4-2 during his 17 games as interim head coach. Keep an eye on the Islanders over the next few weeks as Tuesday marked the beginning of a nine-game road trip; however, the Islanders have a measly eight road victories on the season.


  1. Philadelphia Flyers (28-24-7) (+2) — Philadelphia has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season and continue to see their playoff hopes fade away. Similar to the Stars, there is talent all throughout this roster; however, porous goaltending has plagued them over the last few months.


  1. Calgary Flames (30-26-4) (-1) — Calgary does not have the feel of a playoff team; however, they continue to play well in February and currently hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Brian Elliott had a slow start to the season, but he has been playing much better as of late. Elliott will need to continue to sustain his success if the Flames are to be taken seriously down the stretch.


  1. Winnipeg Jets (28-29-6) (+6) — Winnipeg is playing awesome hockey as of late with points in their last five games, four of those being victories. Patrik Laine continues to be the class of all NHL rookies with 54 points on the season in only 55 games. This kid will be special for years to come.


  1. Buffalo Sabres (26-24-10) (+1) — Buffalo has won six of their last 10 games and are continuing to get more comfortable playing together as the season wears on. Evander Kane has had a renaissance season and continues to be viewed as a potential steal during the trade deadline; however, I believe that the Sabres would be better off keeping him around to help fuel their future success.


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (27-24-8) (-1) — Making the playoffs still seems like a long shot at this point, but the Lightning have points in their last seven games and have been getting some unreal play from Ben Bishop in net. It’s scary to think of just how dangerous Tampa Bay would have been this season with a fully healthy roster.


  1. Los Angeles Kings (29-26-4) (-12) — This drop may seem too severe as the Kings currently sit only two points out of a playoff spot with one game in hand; however, Los Angeles has looked mediocre as of late, losing three out of their last four games. Whom did they beat over that stretch? The Avalanche, whom just about everyone beat this season.


  1. New Jersey Devils (25-25-10) (-1) — I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but GET THIS TEAM SOME OFFENSE. Acquiring Taylor Hall was a great start last offseason; however, the Devils currently have a league-worst 139 goals and are wasting the efforts of star goaltender Corey Schneider yet again this season.


  1. Detroit Red Wings (24-26-10) (+3) — No, the Red Wings are not suddenly great again; however, when you beat the Capitals on the road as well as the Penguins in the same week, it deserves a rise in the rankings. I would not be surprised to see Detroit back in the playoffs next season with their plethora of young talent.


  1. Vancouver Canucks (26-28-6) (-1) — Vancouver remains only six points out of the final wild card spot; however, they simply do not have the firepower to make a serious push for the playoffs. The Sedin brothers, as well as Ryan Miller, are only getting older and without serious talent upgrades the Canucks might not be an elite Western Conference team for quite some time.


  1. Carolina Hurricanes (24-24-8) (-3) — What began as a promising season for the Hurricanes has seen them plummet back to the cellar of the Eastern Conference. All is not lost, though, as the emergence of young forward Sebastian Aho and defenseman Noah Hanifin provide hope for the future of Carolina.


  1. Dallas Stars (23-27-10) (-1) — Dallas’s struggles this season have been unfortunate and unexpected; however, I believe an entire overhaul is not necessary. The goaltending and defense have been this team’s Achilles heel for years now, and if they can improve in those areas then the Stars will be in a position to compete sooner rather than later.


  1. Phoenix Coyotes (21-30-7) (0) — Defenseman Michael Stone was the first Coyotes player to be shipped away in what should soon be a massive fire sale for Arizona. Keep an eye on young forward Brandon Perlini, who has played well as of late and is sure to see his playing time spike after the trade deadline.


  1. Colorado Avalanche (16-39-3) (0) — Just like I mentioned for the Coyotes, it will be interesting to see how players like Calvin Pickard and Mikko Rantanen fare down the stretch with their soon-to-be increased workloads. Their performances will surely indicate just how essential they will be to Colorado’s rebuilding efforts.