NHL trade tier rankings: Way-too-early edition for 2023-24

Last season around this time, the NHL trade market didn't lack for fascinating, notable names: Erik Karlsson, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Bo Horvat, Timo Meier, Brock Boeser and Jakob Chychrun were all churning around the rumor mill, with the majority of them eventually getting moved.

With one very notable exception, the potential market leading up to the NHL trade deadline on March 8 isn't exactly a galaxy of stars. In fact, it might be the first deadline in recent memory where the focus is placed on who is preventing goals rather than who can help score them.

"The main market for me right now is the goalie market, for a whole host of reasons," said ESPN insider Kevin Weekes -- and not just because he's a former NHL netminder himself.

Weekes noted around a half dozen teams that could look to improve their goaltending situations, and even more that could provide goaltending help via trade. The trick is to not create a bigger problem for oneself while attempting to solve another team's problems; and, as always, what kind of business the salary cap will allow a team to actually do.

But before we get to the masked men in the crease, we should address the elephant in the room.

The Steven Stamkos tier

Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

This isn't the first time Steven Stamkos, the Lightning's captain and all-time franchise leading scorer, has found himself in the trade deadline conversation.