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Insider

NHL trade season preview: East

The Flyers currently hold one of the Eastern Conference playoff wild cards. Will GM Ron Hextall make a big move ahead of the trade deadline to increase their chances of a long playoff run? Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

For NHL trade junkies, it’s a good sign. Teams are starting to have their pro scouting meetings, where NHL scouts gather together with management to share ideas and come up with a game plan before the March 1 trade deadline.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that all the planning in the world isn’t going to change the reality of the current NHL landscape. Nearly every team is still in a playoff hunt. Most teams are close to the salary cap max or internal budgets.

General managers, many of whom have gathered together to watch the IIHF World Junior Championships, are trying to have conversations, but it’s definitely slow going.

About the most optimistic assessment of the amount of trade talk came from one team executive on Wednesday when he said, “not a ton.”

He put it this way: If you somehow find a team that has the flexibility financially to make a move and they like one of your players, you’ve still got to have a fit coming back -- and hurdles one and two are hard to cross right now.

But we hear versions of this every season, and then every season these guys find a way as the trade deadline gets closer.

So in anticipation of talks heating up, here’s a preview to help get ready for one of the most entertaining parts of the NHL season: Trade Season. Starting with the Eastern Conference, here’s an early team-by-team look at needs and strategies: