Whether they stay or go, these names are in the mix

Updated: January 5, 2006, 12:56 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

With the clock ticking toward the March 9 trade deadline, dozens of names will surface as part of potential trades as teams jockey for playoff positioning. Here's a look at some of those players and the probability they'll actually change jerseys.

Forwards

Doug Weight
• Doug Weight, St. Louis Blues: If Weight had a point for every time his name has been mentioned as trade bait since the start of training camp, he'd be a shoo-in for the scoring title. And Weight will be wearing a different sweater before March 9. An aging, expensive player who is about to become an unrestricted free agent, Weight doesn't fit the Blues' plans to get younger and cheaper. But the personable, talented Weight would look nice in any number of jerseys including Edmonton, Nashville and Buffalo. A warning: St. Louis GM Larry Pleau will be looking for a top scoring or goaltending prospect in return.

Jeff Friesen
• Jeff Friesen, Washington Capitals: Friesen has been a huge disappointment in Washington, which acquired the speedy forward at the start of the season. Friesen has played in just 14 games, collecting just three points, and will be out until mid-February with a sports hernia. Still, he could garner some interest from teams looking to bolster secondary scoring for the playoffs. He scored the winner in Game 7 of the 2003 Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa to help the Devils to their third Cup win.

Keith Tkachuk
• Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis Blues: The U.S. Olympian will be the subject of many rumors, but don't look for him to leave St. Louis. He's got another year left on his contract, and although he counts about $5 million against the cap, he is a piece around which the Blues can build. Plus, he wants to stay a Blue, a factor that can't be overlooked.

Petr Sykora
• Petr Sykora, Anaheim Mighty Ducks: In the Weight category, Sykora might as well come to the rink with his bags packed from now on. Although his production is down this year (20 points through his first 33 games), Sykora will be a welcome addition to teams looking to add some offensive juice, like the Rangers, Calgary, Montreal or Nashville.

Marc Savard
• Marc Savard, Atlanta Thrashers: The high-scoring forward (fifth in NHL scoring) is an important part of the Thrashers attack. But if the team falls off the playoff bubble, where it currently exists, watch for GM Don Waddell to try to move the talented-but-undisciplined forward, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Calgary is believed to be interested.

Sergei Samsonov
• Sergei Samsonov, Boston Bruins: Another potential unrestricted free agent, Samsonov also will garner a lot of attention between now and March 9. But GM Mike O'Connell will want top value in return, especially after watching former captain Joe Thornton putting in an MVP-like performance following his trade to San Jose. Questions about Samsonov's durability might scare off potential suitors.

Olli Jokinen
• Olli Jokinen, Florida Panthers: The Panthers captain has started to light it up as Florida has scrambled back into the playoff hunt after a disastrous November. His points per game pace (43 points in 42 games) will attract many -- including the Flames -- but Jokinen blossomed under GM Mike Keenan when Keenan was coach and claims to want to stay in South Florida. Look for him to remain a Panther.

Scott Gomez
• Scott Gomez, New Jersey Devils: The former rookie of the year has never found a comfort level in Jersey, whether it was under Pat Burns or Larry Robinson. Given that GM Lou Lamoriello is determined to weed out parts that don't fit in the Devils' plan, Gomez is a prime candidate to depart the swamp. The nifty pivot has the skills to be an asset to any team, and both Calgary and Phoenix could use scoring help down the middle.

Alyn McCauley
• Alyn McCauley, San Jose Sharks: McCauley is an interesting asset for GM Doug Wilson. Wilson has assembled terrific depth down the middle with the addition of Thornton, but would like a little more defensive help. McCauley is the ultimate character guy, which means he'll be tough to part with. But as a potential unrestricted free agent, he will also be coveted by a host of playoff-bound teams. If the Sharks can't close the gap on other Western playoff teams (they are currently in 12th in the West, eight points out of the final berth), look for McCauley to return to the Eastern Conference.

Owen Nolan
• Owen Nolan (last seen in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey): The rugged power forward doesn't fit in the "trade debate" category as he doesn't belong to anyone (at least according to the league and the Leafs, both of whom consider Nolan an unrestricted free agent). As such, Nolan might be the most coveted player on the market, as he won't require a team to give up assets to acquire him, only money. Teams such as San Jose and Phoenix would love to bring Nolan aboard, provided he's physically able. If he's healthy, he has the potential to change the complexion of an entire team's attack.

Defense

Brian Leetch
• Brian Leetch, Boston Bruins: With the Bruins as long-shots to make the playoffs, Leetch can expect to be dealt for the second straight NHL trade deadline (he went to Toronto from New York in March of 2004). Although he's lost a step at age 37 (he'll turn 38 the week before the trade deadline), Leetch continues to play big minutes in Boston and would add some power-play stability come playoff time. Think the Rangers still have a spare No. 2 hanging around Madison Square Garden somewhere?

Sandis Ozolinsh
• Sandis Ozolinsh, Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Injuries and a stint in the league's substance abuse and behavioral health program have marred Ozolinsh's season. Still, if he's able to return to the game before the trade deadline, he might be worth a gamble to a team looking for some offensive zip on the back end, such as the Rangers. He signed a two-year deal worth $2.75 million annually last July.

Brendan Witt
• Brendan Witt, Washington Capitals: Witt, a dependable stay-at-home defenseman, asked to be traded at the start of the season and it remains to be seen whether Caps GM George McPhee will accommodate him. The Caps are hungry for offensive prospects, but Witt won't command much beyond draft picks.

Sergei Gonchar
• Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh Penguins: Has there been a bigger free-agent gaffe than the Penguins' five-year, $25-million gift to Gonchar? No. Is there a GM out there who would risk picking up that kind of baggage? Stranger things have happened. Still, even the most goal-starved, playoff-hopeful team will be reluctant to swing a deal for Gonchar, unless it means unloading salary on the other end. Look for Gonchar to remain a Penguin.

Dan McGillis
• Dan McGillis, New Jersey Devils: McGillis was one of the pieces Lamoriello brought in to fill the yawning void left by the departure of Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. Instead, McGillis was waived by the team in late December and Lamoriello would love to find another home for the 6-foot-3 defender. McGillis' $2.2-million price tag for next season will likely scare off most potential trading partners unless Lamoriello is willing to take on some salary in return.

Ric Jackman
• Ric Jackman, Pittsburgh Penguins: Jackman remains one of the most enigmatic players in the league. The Leafs basically gave Jackman away late in the 2003-04 season for spare part Drake Berehowsky and he lit it up for the Penguins with 24 points in 25 games. In spite of continued offensive production (23 points in 31 games), Jackman has still been a regular scratch under both former coach Ed Olczyk and new bench boss Michel Therrien. No doubt there's a team that would take a chance that the talented Jackman can be pointed in the right direction.

Tom Poti
• Tom Poti, New York Rangers: The Rangers appear to have a love-hate relationship with the talented native of Worcester, Mass. The former Oiler, who has just two goals in 33 games, will never live up to expectations, but the Rangers are loath to see the puck-moving defenseman blossom in another environment. Still, it's hard to imagine Poti won't be at the heart of any deal that would bring the Rangers a desperately needed scorer to help take the offensive burden off Jaromir Jagr.

Eric Weinrich
• Eric Weinrich, St. Louis Blues: The durable veteran has quietly played well amid the chaos in St. Louis, and there's always room for a player of Weinrich's quality in a playoff dressing room as a fifth or sixth defenseman. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Goaltenders

Andrew Raycroft
• Andrew Raycroft, Boston Bruins: The defending Calder Trophy winner has had a disastrous year in Beantown. His spotty play has seen him replaced as starter by Hannu Toivonen, and with the Bruins almost certain to miss the playoffs, he could be looking for a new home. With many teams looking for goaltending help or depth (Vancouver, Edmonton, Colorado to name three), it's possible one would take a chance that a change of scenery might help Raycroft rediscover his game.

Martin Biron
• Martin Biron, Buffalo Sabres: Talk about a guy whose value is sky-high right now. When goalie of the future Ryan Miller went down with a broken thumb, Biron not only kept the Sabres on track with a 13-game personal winning streak, but he also single-handedly put GM Darcy Regier in the driver's seat. Regier can now bring in either a top three defenseman or top six forward should he choose to make a move. Biron, in turn, could be the difference-maker in the Western Conference, where goaltending depth is almost nonexistent.

Mika Noronen
• Mika Noronen, Buffalo Sabres: Economics and trade value seem to dictate that the Sabres will likely deal Biron if they deal any of their three netminders. But Noronen would certainly like to move on, and there is the feeling among some scouts that Noronen could be another Miikka Kiprusoff, waiting to shine when given his own starting assignment.

Manny Fernandez

Dwayne Roloson
• Dwayne Roloson/Manny Fernandez, Minnesota Wild: The Wild goaltending tandem has been, well, a tandem for so long, we instinctively link them together. But that's about to come to an end as both will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Fernandez, who has played the marginal second fiddle to Roloson in spite of posting better numbers (again marginally), is most likely to move on. The Wild have recently surged into the Western Conference playoff hunt, adding another dynamic to GM Doug Risebrough's thought process. If they stay close, do the defensive-minded Wild move one of their netminders for some offensive help, or do they keep both for a possible playoff run?

Jocelyn Thibault
• Jocelyn Thibault, Pittsburgh Penguins: Thibault was supposed to be the goaltending anchor that would backstop the high-flying Penguins to the playoffs. Ah, not quite. From day one, Thibault was terrible, and at one point waived by the Penguins. But under new coach Michel Therrien, Thibault has been in the lineup a little bit more frequently (he was stellar in a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto earlier this week) and one can only assume it's to showcase him in the hopes someone will want to commit cap space to the balance of his two-year, $3-million deal.

Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com.