Will Rick Nash stay in Columbus or move on to his second NHL team? (Getty Images)
Monday's NHL trade deadline is fast approaching. Here's a look at the notable names bouncing around the rumor mill and the teams believed to be targeting them.
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
With the L.A. Kings now out of the bidding (having done the Blue Jackets a big favor by taking Jeff Carter off their hands), it's believed the New York Rangers are the front-runners for Nash, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks also expressing interest. Columbus, having acquired a top-pair defenseman (Jack Johnson) in the Carter trade, are likely seeking scoring forwards to offset the loss of Nash.
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
It's believed the Kings were listening to offers from two or three teams, fuelling speculation the right winger was available. A number of teams - including the Leafs, Rangers, Bruins, Sabres and Canucks - were rumored to have interest in Brown, but on Friday GM Dean Lombardi said he wasn't peddling Brown. TSN's Bob McKenzie, however, suggested the right winger could be had for the right price.
Steve Ott, Dallas Stars
GM Joe Nieuwendyk insists he's not a “seller,” but one report claims he's listening to offers for those 27-and-older players on his roster. Ott, 29, is attracting interest from playoff contenders seeking more grit at forward. The Canucks are thought to have interest in the agitating left winger but, with the Stars clinging to eighth overall in the Western Conference, Nieuwendyk won't move him unless he gets back something significant to help his club now.
Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton Oilers
He's still sidelined with a groin strain, but ‘The Bulin Wall’ is expected to return to action soon. Khabibulin, 39 with one year left on his contract worth $3.75 million per, will attract interest from clubs seeking depth in goal. TSN analyst Pierre LeBrun claimed the Oilers had offered Khabibulin to the Maple Leafs, but Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis reported there doesn't appear to be a fit there.
Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad, Buffalo Sabres
The two centers have been fixtures in the rumor mill for months. Of the two, Gaustad seems the most likely to move, given his UFA status and his skills as a penalty-killer. The Detroit Red Wings could have serious interest in him. As for Roy, he might be a fit with the Chicago Blackhawks, who still seek a second line center.
Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal Canadiens
Kostitsyn insists he wants to re-sign with the Canadiens, but it's possible GM Pierre Gauthier will ship him out if he feels the 27-year-old left winger no longer fits into the Habs’ future. One rumor out of Montreal had Kostitsyn being offered to the Nashville Predators for the rights to Alexander Radulov, reuniting Andrei with brother Sergei, but it remains to be seen if the Predators have interest.
Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay Lightning
GM Steve Yzerman made two notable moves last week, shipping out center Dominic Moore and right wing Steve Downie, and he might not be done dealing. Though it's believed Yzerman would prefer to retain Malone, who has a full no-movement clause through 2013, his name continues to pop up, usually linked to either Pittsburgh, his former team, or Toronto.
Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik, Washington Capitals
Both players are on the outs with coach Dale Hunter, who's made them healthy scratches in recent games. Though GM George McPhee denied Knuble was available earlier this month, there's growing speculation in Washington he and Hamrlik will be sent packing at the deadline.
GET UP-TO-THE-SECOND UPDATES AND ANALYSIS ON TRADE DEADLINE DAY ALL FEB. 27 ON THN.COM.
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.