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Sharks, Jackets look for 'D'

Tomas Kaberle, who will be a free agent in the summer, has 29 points in 44 games this season. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Tomas Kaberle, who will be a free agent in the summer, has 29 points in 44 games this season. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

The struggling San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets have long been rumored to be after an experienced puck-moving defenseman with a big shot, which would seemingly make them prime candidates to pitch offers to the Edmonton Oilers for Sheldon Souray.

But according to the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, the Oilers haven't received any offers for Souray, who's had an injury-plagued season with the American League's Hershey Bears.

Matheson reports Oilers GM Steve Tambellini remained optimistic about moving Souray at the trade deadline and it's possible the defenseman will also be placed on re-entry waivers.

Both options, however, appear as wishful thinking as it's obvious Souray's value has not improved since the summer when the Oilers couldn't give him away and were forced to bury him in the minors.

Speaking of the Sharks, GM Doug Wilson recently gave his coaching staff the thumbs up, but remained unimpressed with the performance of his players. Wilson suggested to the San Jose Mercury News he wouldn't rule out a minor or major roster shake up prior to the Feb. 28 trade deadline if the Sharks fail to improve soon.

Mark Purdy of the Mercury News reported Wilson, nearly two weeks ago, addressed his players before a practice, which left winger Ryane Clowe called a 10-game ultimatum to sort themselves out or face the consequences.

Wilson’s message failed to have the desired effect, however, as the Sharks dropped the next four games. If this keeps up, those consequences could be felt by the end of January.

The Ottawa Sun reported Wilson has been in the market for an experienced defenseman, listing Ottawa's Chris Phillips and Toronto's Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle as possibilities.

Phillips has a no-movement clause, Kaberle a no-trade (which Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said he wouldn't ask him to waive) and Beauchemin a partial no-trade clause.

Of the three, Beauchemin might be the best fit for the Sharks. He's played in California before, winning a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, so Wilson and the Sharks know him well from his days with the Ducks.

Unlike Phillips and Kaberle, Beauchemin is not a pending unrestricted free agent and his $3.8-million salary for next season could be absorbed by the Sharks.

CANADIENS TRADING A SECOND KOSTITSYN?

Left winger Andrei Kostitsyn's days with the Montreal Canadiens may be numbered.

Prior to his goal against the Rangers Jan. 15, Kostitsyn had been mired in a lengthy scoring drought. A recent report out of Montreal claimed coach Jacques Martin was at a loss attempting to motivate the winger, while GM Pierre Gauthier was rumored to be shopping him.

It wouldn't be the first time the Canadiens lost patience with a Kostitsyn. Last summer they shipped Sergei to the Nashville Predators, and Andrei, a restricted free agent next summer who's earning $3.25 million this season, has done little to warrant a contract extension.

If Andrei Kostitsyn doesn't pick up his game soon the Habs will almost certainly intensify efforts to trade him by the deadline. Failing that, they could either try to move him during the NHL draft in June or simply not qualify his rights, making him an unrestricted free agent.

 

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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