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Insider

Buyer's guide to cellar-dwelling teams ahead of the trade deadline

Teams looking to bolster their defensive depth might give Peter Chiarelli a call about Mark Fayne. Andy Devlin/NHLI/Getty Images

The NHL trade deadline may not be until Feb. 29, but adding a key piece right now gives a playoff-contending team a jump start in integrating that player into the lineup, and getting maximum value out of the trade.

For this strategy to work, a trading partner must be found who is already prepared to write off its own playoff chances for the season. Unlike this time last season, there aren't very many such teams -- although we did see such a deal go down on Wednesday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets traded Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones, a move I envisioned when considering best destinations for Johansen back in December.

While it's certainly up for debate which other teams should be selling early, today's analysis is focused exclusively on the Blue Jackets, the Buffalo Sabres and the Edmonton Oilers.