Last year, it was the San Jose Sharks who really struck first in the rental market. On Feb. 22, they sent a pair of second-round picks to the Toronto Maple Leafs in return for defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling.
The trade accomplished two things. One, the deals gave the Sharks the kind of depth needed to make a long run in the spring. Put it together with the James Reimer deal later struck with the Maple Leafs, and Toronto helped fill out San Jose’s playoff roster nicely. Polak and Spaling combined to play in 48 playoff games last spring. Reimer was fantastic insurance for Martin Jones. Secondly, in striking early, San Jose GM Doug Wilson and Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello helped set the market on what a rental would cost last year. These were essentially depth players, and it cost a pair of seconds to add them when the Sharks did.
Last year, the Minnesota Wild did nothing of note at the deadline; it was the correct move for them.
When you pan west as the trade deadline approaches this season, there might not be two more interesting teams right now than the Sharks and Wild. They are two franchises without a Stanley Cup, and two franchises that may be looking at their best path to get one, given the competition in the conference.