Olli Jokinen would garner plenty of attention from other teams if the Panthers decided to deal him. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
The Peter Forsberg sweepstakes could drag on for at least another week.
While his agent continued to field offers from several NHL teams, Forsberg continued his workouts in Sweden, hoping his surgically reconstructed right foot can hold up to the rigors of NHL play.
Reports out of Sweden suggest he’s unhappy with his progress thus far and needed at least another week to determine if he’d return this season or postpone his comeback.
Two of Forsberg’s former NHL teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche, were thought to be front-runners for his services, while the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators were also believed to be on his short list of destinations.
The GMs of the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild admitted this past weekend to making bids for Forsberg and are believed to be awaiting a response from his agent.
One Chicago paper suggested the Blackhawks may have made the best offer in terms of the length of the deal, but the overall consensus is they are a long shot to land Forsberg.
• Ottawa Senators defenseman Wade Redden once again declined to waive his “no-trade” clause.
Last Friday it was reported GM Bryan Murray approached Redden about the possibility, informing him a rival club was interested, but the long-time Senators blueliner insisted on playing out the final season of his contract with the Senators.
Unconfirmed reports claimed the San Jose Sharks were the interested party, which Murray and Sharks GM Doug Wilson declined to comment on.
If Wilson was indeed interested in Redden it might suggest the Sharks GM is in the market for a skilled offensive defenseman. It could also mean his rumored efforts to pry Rob Blake from the Los Angeles Kings have come to naught.
• Speaking of Blake, it’s been reported he’s not interested in accepting a trade to an Eastern-based team.
That would take the Detroit Red Wings out of the running. The Wings were linked to Blake after Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios claimed the Kings blueliner might look forward to a trade to “Hockeytown”.
Blake is currently recuperating from an ankle injury and is expected to return to the Kings roster before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
• Another week, another torrent of denials from Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin that he might waive his “no-trade” clause.
At least now Sundin has company, as winger Darcy Tucker has also been pestered by the Toronto press about waiving his clause. Tucker’s making the same denials, albeit more testily than the Leafs captain.
Unfortunately for Sundin and Tucker, their denials (and those of teammates Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina, who also have no-trade clauses) have fallen on deaf ears and will continue to do so until the trade deadline.
• The Ottawa Sun reported over the weekend the Florida Panthers had spoken with the San Jose Sharks last fall about swapping Olli Jokinen for Patrick Marleau.
Despite the Panthers’ repeated denials of shopping Jokinen, the Sun suggested the club could still try again to land Marleau.
Over the past five seasons, Jokinen has consistently outperformed Marleau, this season by a wide margin. While Jokinen continued to play at a point-per-game pace to lead the Panthers in scoring, Marleau had only 28 points in 55 games and is on pace for his lowest offensive output since his 1997-98 rookie season.
So, if the Panthers do trade Jokinen - as rumored - by the trade deadline, it’s a safe bet it won’t be for Marleau.
• It remains to be seen if the Atlanta Thrashers trade winger Marian Hossa, as expected, by the trade deadline.
Thrashers GM Don Waddell insisted his first priority is to re-sign Hossa and continued talks with his agent.
Because of those ongoing talks, Waddell claimed he wouldn’t make any decision on trading Hossa for another two weeks. In other words, if Hossa is dealt it probably won’t happen until the week of the Feb. 26 deadline.
• Waddell also recently shot down rumors he was in Montreal earlier this month to talk trade with Canadiens GM Bob Gainey.
Waddell’s presence sparked a flurry of rumors suggesting Michael Ryder, Christopher Higgins and a top prospect might be shipped to Atlanta for Hossa.
The Habs will probably shop the struggling Ryder by the deadline, but it won’t be for a big ticket like Hossa and Gainey certainly wouldn’t toss Higgins into a trade as he’s become one of the leaders on the improving Canadiens.
• The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks are in danger of falling out of the playoff race in the Western Conference unless their respective GMs bolster their rosters.
Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon has been in the market for an experienced offensive blueliner for months, while the Blues need more offense, particularly on the power play.
Tallon is believed to have interest in Tampa Bay’s Dan Boyle and Buffalo’s Brian Campbell, and while there’s no word as to who it is the Blues might have their sights on, they could offer up defensemen Barrett Jackman or Bryce Salvador as potential trade bait.
If the Blackhawks and Blues are going to be buyers, they’ll have to strike soon, because if they slide further in the standings over the next two weeks it could push them from buyers to sellers.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, www.spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.
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