The NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching and there are a number of star players that could be on the move. The season has been a total surprise. Expected rebuilding teams like the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights are at the top of the league, while last year's contenders the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers are already looking forward to next season.

The first major trade was made this week as Ottawa sent Dion Phaneuf to Los Angeles in a package that brought back Marian Gaborik. It was a bit of a stunner as Phaneuf has a hefty contract remaining and Gaborik also has a decent amount left on his as well.

The trade appears to be a swap of struggling higher paid players in the hopes that a change of scenery will reinvigorate their respective games.

There are bigger names that are planning to call a new place home in the coming weeks. Here is what we know so far.

Ryan McDonagh

The New York Rangers have been another surprise disappointment this season. Their rapid fall, to the bottom of the standings, has turned them into sellers at the deadline. Their biggest asset is defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Under contract for one more season at under $5M, he is well worth the addition. In five of his eight seasons, McDonagh has received votes for the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the game's best defenseman.

The Boston Bruins have been suggested as the top candidate to land the talented defender. The salary would require some maneuvering and possibly waiving a player or two, but adding McDonagh to their already stellar young core on defense and they all of the sudden are a Stanley Cup favorite.

McDonagh has submitted a list of teams that he would accept a trade to so it is only a matter of time now.

Rick Nash

Another New York Ranger Rick Nash has found himself expendable due to the sudden rebuild. A strong, gifted scorer, Nash would provide an instant offensive boost to a playoff team. Scoring goals in the playoffs is hard enough. Adding someone like Nash would be a big boost for the right team.

The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are two potential fits for Nash.

Pairing Nash on a line with Filip Forsberg or Joe Thornton would immediately create one of the top lines in the league heading into the postseason. The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues also offer some compelling line combinations with the addition of Nash.

New York should be expecting a pretty decent return due to the heavy interest.

James Neal

This one is a bit puzzling, but not completely irrational. James Neal is currently leading the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to a historic opening season. Neal's 24 goals are impressive, but when you look at how important many of the goals were to winning individual games, the idea that Vegas would move him is a bit odd.

The reality is, Neal is an unrestricted free agent and likely to leave this summer.

Being an expansion team, even one that is performing this well, Vegas knows their best move is to get a good return on their asset as they continue to build a franchise.

Moving Neal might hurt their chances this season, but the way he has resurrected his career could land Vegas several young players who could help form the core of this team over the next five to ten years.