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Stastny for defense?

Paul Stastny has five goals and 12 points in 18 games this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Paul Stastny has five goals and 12 points in 18 games this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reported Saturday there were “few whispers” of the Colorado Avalanche shopping center Paul Stastny, with young Matt Duchene poised to take over as their first-line center.

Matheson noted the Avs need a “stud D-man” and wondered if the Nashville Predators would be interested in swapping pending unrestricted free agent blueliner Ryan Suter for Stastny, though he doubted the Predators would bite.

Wherever those “whispers” are coming from, it doesn't appear to be from Denver. With Stastny having two more seasons after this one at $6.6 million per left on his contract, the Avs would be hard-pressed to find any takers for him during the season, if they are indeed shopping him.

That's not to say Stastny is an “untouchable,” but if he were to hit the trade block, odds are a deal would get done during the off-season when teams have more cap space and a willingness to invest in expensive players.

P-U PENNER

Matheson also claimed the Los Angeles Kings want to move left winger Dustin Penner, whom they acquired at last season's trade deadline from the Edmonton Oilers.

Penner, sidelined with a hand injury, is unpalatable to most clubs, as he only has two points in his first 14 games. That puts him on pace for the worst season of his NHL career and isn’t the kind of production expected of a supposed power forward earning $4.25 million.

FLAMING OUT

Calgary Flames left winger Rene Bourque has been a near-permanent fixture in the NHL rumor mill since mid-October, when reports first arose claiming rival teams had interest in him.

But according to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun, a Flames source claimed reports the team has been swamped with interest in Bourque have been “manufactured.”

As Francis noted, Bourque's inconsistency (only five points - all goals - in his first 17 games) and salary (a cap hit of $3.33 million per season through 2015-16) are reasons why he'll remain with the Flames for many years, “for better or worse.”

Francis' Sun colleague Randy Sportak, meanwhile, noted the departure of left winger Niklas Hagman via re-entry waivers to the Anaheim Ducks and wondered which Flame would be next to go. He listed Bourque and center Matt Stajan as candidates, though the very factors Francis noted about Bourque (poor performance, hefty contract) will also make Stajan tough to move.

Stajan, who’s earning an average annual salary of $3.5 million per season, has only three points in 13 games. He's been reduced to fourth-line duty and was a healthy scratch in recent games - hardly the kind of dollars and status that would make him attractive trade bait.

SENATORS, BLUE JACKETS, ISLANDERS

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported Senators GM Bryan Murray wouldn't mind adding a top-six forward, preferably a second-line center, to his roster, and suggested Murray would have “mild interest” in Columbus Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard.

Garrioch noted Brassard's $3.2-million salary could be an issue, but claimed the New York Islanders were also believed to have interest in the 24-year-old and that they could address the Jackets’ goalie issues with Evgeni Nabokov.

Unfortunately, Nabokov has a no-trade clause and while he reportedly hasn't been asked by Isles management to waive it, he likely wouldn’t agree to be traded to a bottom-feeder anyway. He’d likely only agree to move to a contender if one comes calling later this season.

Garrioch suggested “pretty much everybody” on the Blue Jackets - right winger Rick Nash the sole exception - is available as the club seeks to shed salary, but it's difficult to believe they'd dump recently acquired center Jeff Carter and defenseman James Wisniewski, or promising rookie center Ryan Johansen, who's been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for Columbus.

 

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 Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.

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