It used to be the NHL trade deadline was Christmas in April for hockey fans — and for teams looking for reinforcements before the playoffs.

Red Wings fans still recall 1999 and the incredible haul of defensemen Chris Chelios, Ulf Samuelsson, forward Wendel Clark, and goalie Bill Ranford by general manager Ken Holland. It was a memorable day, but the Red Wings only advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

These days, an accumulation of talent like that is nearly impossible.

"There are so many moving parts (now)," said Holland. "It's hard to find a fit."

Holland is likely to make a ton of phone calls before Wednesday's trade deadline — he said discussion around the league has picked up since the GM meetings last week — but whether those talks lead to any trades remains to be seen.

There are interesting players to tempt general managers.

Power forwards such as Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Ryane Clowe (San Jose) and Jaromir Jagr (Dallas), and defensmen Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary), Mark Streit (N.Y. Islanders) could be available, along with a goalie such as Roberto Luongo (Vancouver).

But the price for the Red Wings and other teams won't be cheap.

Teams are looking for elite prospects, draft picks or talented young players who'll be around for several years in exchange for rental players — players in the final month of their contracts.

And in this shortened season, with so many teams still on the cusp of contention, teams aren't ready to trade away valuable assets and give the appearance they're giving up the season — when a three-game win streak can quickly change the outlook.