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Deadline focus begins

Lubomir Visnovsky has 10 points in 24 games this season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Lubomir Visnovsky has 10 points in 24 games this season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has joined the list of blueliners who could be available at the NHL's Feb. 27 trade deadline.

During the “Hotstove” intermission segment on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada telecast, Elliotte Friedman claimed teams were interested in Visnovsky, though he'd have to agree to waive his no-movement clause.

Friedman also pointed out the 35-year-old blueliner will earn $3 million next season, the final year of his contract, though the cap hit will remain $5.6 million.

It remains to be seen if the Ducks are shopping Visnovsky, let alone if he's willing to accept a trade.  Don't be surprised if he's linked with the Philadelphia Flyers in the rumor mill in the coming days.

AN AVALANCHE-BLUE JACKETS TRADE?

Adrian Dater of The Denver Post recently responded to a reader's question about possible moves by the Colorado Avalanche, saying if the club remains in playoff contention by the trade deadline there's a good chance they'll become “buyers.”

Dater pointed out the Avalanche have the cap room - their payroll is currently at $50.8 million - “to do something like pick up a name guy, even if only as a rental.”

He also mused over what it would take for the Avs to land either right wing Rick Nash or center Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets if they became available in the coming weeks, but noted it would be expensive to land either player.

Dater isn't the first scribe to ponder what it would take to pry Nash or Carter out of Columbus and probably won't be the last leading up to the trade deadline.

It's unlikely the Blue Jackets will move either guy, but if they did it would prove an expensive proposition - perhaps too expensive - for the Avalanche, who've been a cost-conscious team in recent years.

Then again, if the Avs were to offer up center Paul Stastny, a frequent subject of trade speculation who carries an annual salary of $6.6 million per season, there might be a deal to be had, provided Nash or Carter agreed to it.

HEMSKY TO THE PANTHERS?

Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News suggested the Florida Panthers would be a good fit for Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky, whose days with the Oilers appear to be numbered.

The Panthers are lacking second line scoring depth and it's rumored GM Dale Tallon will soon be shopping for a top-six forward.

While Hemsky has struggled and has a history of shoulder injuries, Tallon might be willing to take a chance on him as a rental player, provided the asking price isn't too steep.

LIGHTNING STRIKE ISLANDERS CREASE TWICE?

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning turn to the New York Islanders once again for help in goal?

Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times observed it's been a year since Lightning GM Steve Yzerman acquired goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders and wondered if Yzerman this time will make a pitch for netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

While the Isles are once again floundering near the bottom of the standings, GM Garth Snow several weeks ago said he wasn't shopping Nabokov and he may be less inclined to do so now with Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya currently sidelined indefinitely with injuries.

Of course, Snow could change his mind later this month if his fading Islanders fail to gain ground in the standings.

If the Lightning do inquire about Nabokov, they certainly won’t be the only ones. Snow could hang onto him in hopes of getting better value in return closer to the trade deadline.

That could come too late to help the Lightning, who've stumbled in part because of their weak goaltending. If Yzerman's to make a move for Nabokov or any other goalie, he'll have to do it soon.

BRUINS ‘D’ HUNTING

ESPN.com's Boston Bruins columnist James Murphy recently concurred with a reader's assessment the Bruins defense could use more depth. Murphy cited Carolina's Jaroslav Spacek and New Jersey's Kurtis Foster as possible options, and suggested Islanders captain Mark Streit might be worth keeping an eye on if his club continues to struggle.

Spacek and Foster are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, but Foster isn't expected to be available at the trade deadline. The Devils recently acquired him from the Anaheim Ducks and won't shop him while they're in the playoff chase.

Streit, meanwhile, has one more season at $4.1 million remaining on his current contract, but while his puck-moving skills would make him a good fit with the Bruins (or any other NHL club), there's no indication he'll be available near the trade deadline.

 

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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