A few trade candidates to whet your appetite

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We’re still over a month away from the NHL’s trade deadline (Feb. 27), but that doesn’t mean deals can’t be struck before then. In fact, with so many teams with the cap flexibility to make moves, there are bound to be GMs that don’t want to wait until the last minute, lest they find themselves in a bidding war for, say, one of the following forwards that ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun believes are in play

Derek Roy, Brad Boyes and Drew Stafford in Buffalo; Vaclav Prospal, Antoine Vermette and Kristian Huselius in Columbus; Ales Hemsky in Edmonton; Tuomo Ruutu in Carolina; and the suddenly hot Jason Blake in Anaheim.

Most of those names have been bandied about already, though given what’s happening in Buffalo these days, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on Stafford and Roy in the next little while. (No offense to Boyes, but who would want him?)

Stafford, a 26-year-old big body that doesn’t mind using his size, is coming off a 31-goal season, so he’s already proven he can snipe. Plus, he’s signed until 2014-15 with a very manageable cap hit of $4 million. If he’s truly available, there’ll be plenty of suitors.

Roy, 28, probably wouldn’t garner as high a return as Stafford. He’s got lots of talent, but he’s small and only signed until the end of next season (cap hit of $4 million.)