The Montreal Canadiens are trying to create additional salary cap space and have been looking to trade center David Desharnais in an effort to do so.
The Habs have been trying to acquire a top-six forward, preferably a top-two center, and a second-pair defenseman for some time and with limited cap space, they've been exploring ways to make potential acquisitions fit.
Desharnais, 30, is in the final year of his contract that pays him $3.5 million. He does not appear to be in the club's long-term plans and is not expected to be re-signed to a contract extension.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been looking for creative ways to acquire some outside help, but made it clear this past week that he is not interested in giving away his top prospects for a short-term fix.
The Canadiens have been linked to such players as Arizona Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal and defenseman Michael Stone, St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund and rearguard Kevin Shattenkirk, Dallas Stars left wing Patrick Eaves, and Vancouver Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows, among others, all of whom can become UFAs July 1.
Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog have also been discussed, but until their price tags drop, the Habs are not expected to pay a premium.
Desharnais has been a healthy scratch fairly often of late, furthering speculation that his time in Montreal pay be cut short sooner rather than later.
It's unclear if the Canadiens have been attempting to include Desharnais in a package for a player they covet, or if they're trying to get another team to pick him up for the balance of the season.
In 29 games with the Canadiens so far this season, Desharnais has registered four goals and six assists for 10 points.