Will the Oilers trade the playmaking Ales Hemsky or hang onto him past Feb. 28? (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Heading into this year's trade deadline all eyes are on the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings.
With rival clubs making roster-bolstering deals in recent weeks, the Capitals and Kings have been notable for their lack of movement so far in the trade market.
Various sources have linked the Kings, who are in need of an experienced first line winger, to Dallas' Brad Richards, Florida's David Booth and Edmonton's Ales Hemsky, but it's believed the stumbling block is prospect center Brayden Schenn, who Kings GM Dean Lombardi is reluctant to part with.
The Capitals, meanwhile, were rumored to be seeking an experienced second-line center and perhaps another veteran blueliner. But, apart from claiming oft-injured left winger Marco Sturm off waivers Saturday from the Kings, the Caps enter deadline day having done nothing of note.
CAT TRADE FEVER
In the wake of dealing defenseman Bryan McCabe to the Rangers on Saturday, it's believed Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is not done making trades.
Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun has been considered a likely trade candidate, but ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported Sunday there isn't much of a market for starting goalies heading into deadline day.
Vokoun is also in the final year of a contract with a cap hit of $5.75 million and a no-movement clause, which it's believed he'll only waive to go to a playoff contender.
Rumormongers have linked him to the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
The Flyers, however, have a solid tandem in Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher, plus they couldn't fit in Vokoun's salary without shipping out significant dollars first. Capitals GM George McPhee, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated he's pleased with the performance of Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth and doesn't intend on moving either of them or adding a veteran goalie.
SWAMP SWAP FOR ARNOTT?
Keep an eye on the New Jersey Devils on deadline day.
Reports out of New York and New Jersey Sunday suggested center Jason Arnott could request a trade if he believes the Devils are too far out of the playoff race to have a realistic chance of clinching a berth.
Should Arnott wish to be dealt it would have a significant impact upon the trade market, perhaps shifting attention away from Richards. Arnott could be seen as a more affordable, short-term option both in salary and return for teams seeking scoring depth at center.
BLACKHAWKS NEED BLUELINER
The Chicago Blackhawks continue their search for an affordable depth defenseman to help on the penalty kill.
Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily Herald suggested Edmonton's Ladislav Smid, Tampa Bay's Brett Clark, Anaheim's Sheldon Brookbank and Colorado's Matt Hunwick as possibilities. It's believed the Blackhawks also have interest in Buffalo's Steve Montador.
Whoever they pursue will have to be affordable as they're pressed for cap space.
And don't expect the Hawks to trade defenseman Brent Seabrook, having re-signed him on Sunday to a five-year, $29 million contract extension. And, no, it's not part of a “sign and trade” plan.
CHUCK'D OUT OF THE WILD?
Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher recently claimed he intended to retain his pending unrestricted free agents heading down the stretch, but the recent reduction in playing time for winger Chuck Kobasew suggested he has become trade bait.
It's believed Fletcher has given Kobasew's agent permission to contact other teams to see if there's any interest in him leading up to the trade deadline.
HEALED WINGS CURB TRADES
Detroit Red Wings fans anticipating deadline moves by their club could be disappointed as GM Ken Holland recently said he didn't expect to be busy in the trade market.
That's understandable given how many key players have either returned from injury (Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Stuart, Daniel Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom, Mike Modano) or are expected back soon (Chris Osgood). Getting those players back is as good, if not better, than acquiring similar talent via trades.
DON'T PICK YZERMAN'S BRAIN FOR PICKS
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman would like to find a temporary replacement for injured winger Ryan Malone, but acknowledged that could be difficult, especially since the GM is unwilling to part with draft picks for rental players.
That doesn't rule out a move by Yzerman on deadline day, but it would have to be something where he could part with a minor league player or a prospect who perhaps lacks a future with the club and might stand a better chance elsewhere.
The report said the Lightning might have interest in Buffalo's Mike Grier, but the Sabres are apparently buyers heading into the deadline, so they probably won't part with him.
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.