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February 4, 2008
Plenty of talk as the trade deadline approaches
TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta reviews some of the top rumors circulating around the NHL.
 

[TORONTO, ON] -- With three weeks to go before the NHL's annual trade deadline, there are plenty of teams looking to bolster their rosters.

The Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars are looking for first-line talent, while the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to acquire secondary scoring.

As the days pass, trade talks will most definitely intensify [leaving me with little sleep this month], as more and more teams will know what direction they plan on going with a month left in the regular-season.

The Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are among the current sellers, with the likes of Rob Blake, Ladislav Nagy, Mats Sundin, Tomas Kaberle, Jarret Stoll and Joni Pitkanen attracting plenty of attention.

Blake, who will miss a little bit of action because of a bruised ankle, will waive his no-trade clause and accept a move to a Stanley Cup contender. Sources say the Red Wings, Senators, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils are interested.

 

Sundin, who continues to declare his love for Toronto, will be moved only if the right offer comes across GM Cliff Fletcher's table. The Ducks are believed to be one of the frontrunners, with prospect Bobby Ryan and Edmonton's first-round pick available for trade.

The Red Wings, Senators, Canucks and Flames are also very interested in Sundin. After speaking to sources in all four cities, I would have to say the Sens might have the inside track if they're willing to part with one of Antoine Vermette or Patrick Eaves as part of a package.

The Wings have Jiri Hudler and Kyle Quincey they're willing to dangle, and Vancouver has Ryan Kesler and Luc Bourdon to offer. Calgary, on the other hand, only has Alex Tanguay to offer, as they might not be willing to part with last year's top pick Mikael Backlund.

In Montreal, the Habs are primarily searching for some extra firepower, but could also bolster their blueline.

According to a source, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey held discussions with Atlanta GM and head coach Don Waddell over the weekend about Thrashers sniper Marian Hossa. In fact, Waddell was spotted at Sunday's afternoon game against the Rangers.

Speaking to one Atlanta-based source, negotiations between the Thrashers and Hossa's agent, Ritch Winter, haven't been going well, as terms haven't even been exchanged, and "it's starting to look like [Hossa] doesn't look like he wants to stay here."

The Canadiens would love to ship Michael Ryder to another team. It's believed the Habs might try to offer Ryder and one of Francois Bouillon or Mathieu Dandenault as part of a package for Hossa that would almost certainly have to include one of their top defensive prospects [Ryan O'Byrne, David Fischer, Ryan McDonagh, Mathieu Carle or P.K. Subban] in order to get the deal done.

While the Habs may have the inside track on Hossa, the Ducks, Stars, Wings, Penguins and Senators are also hot on his trail.

Down south, the Tampa Bay Lightning has a tough decision to make. Do they sign Dan Boyle to a new contract or trade him for some prospects and picks?

Boyle is going to command a high salary and the team might want to use that money to try and lure a top goalie in the summer. I was in Tampa last week and from what I was told, the team will almost certainly trade the offensive-minded rearguard.

The Chicago Blackhawks have been keeping a close eye on Boyle, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this July. If the Hawks land the 31-year-old, they'll immediately try to lock him up to an extension.

Another Lightning on many teams radar is Vaclav Prospal.

Prospal only makes $1.9 million this season and his remaining salary would fit well under any team's salary cap. The Stars, Devils, Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche are also interested in Prospal.

Tampa's cousin, the Florida Panthers, is also faced with a little dilemma. Captain Olli Jokinen and GM/head coach Jacques Martin apparently cannot get along and if the team is intent on keeping Martin, Jokinen may be a goner. Calgary and San Jose may be possible destinations.

Speaking of the Sharks, rumors have calmed over a possible Patrick Marleau trade. The Shark captain has a new two-year extension, which includes a no-trade clause, that kicks in July 1 and the team is looking to swap him for a scoring center. There may be a match in Florida, but the Sharks would need to package one of their young studs with Marleau if they want to get their hands on Jokinen.

Finally, there's been plenty of talk surrounding Chicago's Martin Havlat. Yes, the Blackhawks are willing to trade him. But, he won't come cheap.

Havlat's had a few altercations with some of his teammates about his willingness to win. If Hawks GM Dale Tallon can get his hands on someone of equal or better talent, only then would be pull the trigger.

The Blackhawks are not in all-out sell mode; they're trying to build for next season. Outside of an unbelievable offer for Havlat, expect Tallon to move the likes of Martin Lapointe, Yanic Perreault [poor guy gets moved just about every deadline] and Andrei Zyuzin. If the team can find a way to strengthen itself for next season, they'd also be willing to part with Cam Barker and Tuomo Ruutu.
 


David Pagnotta is the Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Period Magazine and covers the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL for TheFourthPeriod.com. He is also a contributing writer for NBCSports.com and MSNBC.
 

 

 

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