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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.03.2011 / 11:34 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Morning Musings: Feb. 3

Here's a look at some of the chatter around the NHL as we countdown to the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline. We'll try to do this most mornings between now and the deadline.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Several members of the media, including NHL Netowrk analysts Bob McKenzie and Kevin Weekes, have pointed to the Ducks as a possible destination for free agent goaltender Ray Emery. Beat writers Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times and Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register have both confirmed Anaheim's interest in Emery, who began last season as the No. 1 goalie in Philadelphia before a right hip injury ended his season.

Why would the Ducks be interested in Emery? Jonas Hiller is the clear-cut No. 1 guy in the OC, but a healthy Emery could be an upgrade in the backup role over Curtis McElhinney. It is also important to note the Ducks don't have a clear-cut No. 3 guy as an insurance policy with Syrcause in the AHL. Timo Pielmeier and J.P. Levasseur are currently the tandem with the Crunch. Emery -- or another guy with NHL experience -- could be a good fit with Anaheim.

NHL Network analsyt Darren Dreger reported for TSN that three teams are interested in Emery and said Anaheim and Philadelphia are two of the three teams.

ATLANTA THRASHERS

These are tough times for a team that began this season as one of the League's best stories. After leading the Southeast Division for a few days earlier this season, the Thrashers are tumbling. Now both Carolina AND Buffalo are within range of knocking them out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference after losses in 15 of the past 22 games.

Well, first-year GM Rick Dudley wants to do his part to stop the slide. He told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is trying to be active in the trade market, and even offered a wish list -- two forwards and a defenseman.

"Are we looking to do something? Absolutely. We don’t want to let this go," Dudley said. "Obviously we haven’t given up on the season. It would be ludicrous. We haven’t given up on improving either. If it doesn't come from within, it will come from outside."

Dudley's strong statements came one day after coach Criag Ramsey questioned his team's "mental commitment" to winning following a 4-1 loss to bottom-feeder New Jersey. The Thrashers are one point ahead of the Hurricanes and five in front of the Sabres, but Carolina has two games in hand and Buffalo has four.

The tricky part for Dudley could be managing his budget and his cache of prospects while trying to improve the team.

"Obviously we feel a sense of urgency because we think we are a better team than we displayed [Tuesday]," Dudley said to the AJC. "We think we are capable of making the playoffs but it may take a move here or there.

"I'm not going to jeopardize the long-term future of the organization for the short-term gain. But if there is something that makes sense in both of those cases, long term and short term, we would do that for sure."

NHL Network analyst Bob McKenzie mentioned a pair of Thrashers defensemen, Ron Hainsey and Brent sopel, who could be made available once All-Star Tobias Enstrom returns from a broken finger. They make a combined $7 million this season (Hainsey makes $5 million but has a cap hit of of $4.5 mil), but would also have to be replaced in Atlanta's top 6 if dealt.

CALGARY FLAMES

The Flames are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now and have surged back into playoff contention. That hasn't slowed speculation of which veteran players might be traded if new GM Jay Feaster wants to retool the roster. One of those guys is Robyn Regehr, who has two more years left on his contract and most importantly, a no-trade clause.

"That's something I fought for," Regehr told Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald. "I had to sacrifice certain things to get that. If there's something I don't really like, I guess, I wouldn't be afraid to take advantage of it. That's something I've had to give up certain things for.

"It's more of a comfortable feeling to have that. If a team is talking to you about that type of stuff, it might be a good situation to go somewhere else. You never know. It's a very complex kind of thing and one that I haven't had to discuss yet."

Regehr would be one of the top defensemen on the market if Feaster would be willing to move him -- and with a $4.02 million cap hit a very reasonable contract for a player of his value. Despite all of the rumors about Regehr's future, he said he's never been asked to waive his NTC.

"So far that hasn't happened," Regehr said to the Herald. "I just have to go out there and play. There's certain [media] guys who have had me traded since the fall."

MINNESOTA WILD

The Wild have won 8 of 12 and moved into second place in the Northwest Division. More importantly, Minnesota is one point shy of eighth place in the West (and only four shy of fourth place) with games in hand compared to each of the six teams ahead of them in the standings.

The surge has made it very unlikely any of Minnesota's pending unrestricted free agents would be available in a trade, and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes the Wild might be pretty quiet as the deadline nears.

"We're right there, and this is going to go right down to the wire," GM Chuck Fletcher told the Star-Tribune. "So we haven't had conversations about moving our pending UFAs to other teams. The focus right now is 'What can we do to make the playoffs?' We'll look to do anything that makes sense without mortgaging the future.

"That means keeping this group together so long as we can continue to play the way we're playing."
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 5:15 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

As Deadline Day approaches: Northeast Division

Where does each team stand as the trade deadline approaches? Let's take a look around the League, one division at a time, and try to decipher which direction the teams might be leaning as the 3 p.m. deadline on Feb. 28 approaches. Next up is the Northeast Division, which features a pair of teams that could be looking for defensemen and a pair of teams in Ontario that might be willing to deal guys at that position.

BOSTON BRUINS (29-15-7, 65 points)

The Bruins don't have a lot of salary cap space, but Marc Savard's concussion could give Boston more room to work with thanks to some LTIR relief. Whether or not GM Peter Chiarelli would use that room to replace Savard remains to be seen. Boston has a deep group of forwards, even without Savard, and a couple of prospects in Jordan Caron and Zach Hamill that could be called upon to offset the loss.

Boston is one of the best defensive teams in the league, but some of that has to do with coach Claude Julien's system. The Bruins might have the best 1-2 punch in the League in goal with Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, but another defenseman might not be a bad idea. The addition of a guy capable of logging top-four minutes could make Boston -- already a pretty good team -- a scary one once the postseason begins. Verdict: BUYERS


MONTREAL CANADIENS (28-18-5, 61 points)


The Canadiens are among the best teams in the League at preventing goals but one of the worst at scoring them. Neither of those facts should be surprising. GM Pierre Gauthier could add another forward to help boost the team's offensive production, but that might not be the biggest need.

Defensmen Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges are out for the season with knee injuries. James Wisniewski was added in December, but one more veteran defenseman could be a big boost and help Montreal maintain its position in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. Verdict: BUYERS

BUFFALO SABRES (23-21-5, 51 points)


There might not be a tougher team to forecast in the NHL right now than the Sabres. Buffalo is six points behind Atlanta, but the Sabres have four games in hand on the Thrashers and two on ninth-place Carolina. The Sabres are 7-3 in their last 10 games and another good week or two could make their postseason aspirations look much better than a month ago.

The other part of the Buffalo puzzle is the ownershup situation. Will there be a change in power in time to impact the trade deadline? Even if the team is officially sold in that time, will it have any impact on the decisions? If Buffalo becomes a buyer, the Sabres could use help anywhere but goalie. If the Sabres decided to sell, Tim Connolly could be attractive in what is shaping up as a weak center market. Verdict: Too close to call (OK, the guess is SELLERS)

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (20-25-5, 45 points)

Brian Burke and the Maple Leafs are always in the middle of something around this time of year. Don't expect this trade deadline to be any different. In the past Burke hasn't always been interested in traditional returns for veteran players (i.e. draft picks), so it will be interesting to see if he still wants roster players or is willing to collect future help instead.

There are likely to be some players on Toronto's roster that interest other teams. Whether or not Tomas Kaberle and J.S. Giguere are on the list of available players remains to be seen. Expect Burke to be looking for skilled forwards in any deal. If there is going to be a "hockey trade" this month, Burke is likely to be invovled. Verdict: SELLERS (and maybe BUYERS, if that makes sense)

OTTAWA SENATORS (17-26-8, 42 points)

The question may not be if the Senators are going to be willing to trade veteran players but how many. GM Bryan Murray has an expensive roster that has underperformed this season, and he might be ready to do some remodeling. Defensemen Chris Phillips and Filip Kuba could draw some interest, though it is unlikely anyone would be willing to take on Sergei Gonchar's contract with three years left on it.

Up front there could be several options available. For a team with the cap flexibility to handle Mike Fisher's contract (which has two more years on it), he could be one of the best players available at the position this month. Murray told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that he doesn't have many players who are untouchable (captain Daniel Alfredsson, young defenseman Erik Karlson and No. 1 center Jason Spezza and his no-movement clause made the list). Could be a very interesting month in the capitol city. Verdict: SELLERS
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 11:48 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Morning Musings: February 2

Here's a look at some of the chatter around the NHL as we countdown to the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline. We'll try to do this most mornings between now and the deadline.

BOSTON BRUINS

The Bruins boast one of the deepest sets of centers in the NHL -- or at least they did before Marc Savard was hurt again. Savard is dealing with another concussion, and Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald writes that Savard missing the rest of the season cannot be ruled out. He missed the beginning of this season after returning in the 2010 playoffs from a concussion.

"We’ll meet with him and see where he’s at,” general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Herald. “I know he’s still  suffering from post-concussion symptoms headaches, irritability and it’s been over a week now. So we’ll get him reassessed, re-evaluated. As far as shutting him down for the rest of the year, that’s a possibility. We have to  see where he’s at."

Boston is atop the Northeast Division and a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup with Vezina Trophy favorite Tim Thomas in net and plenty of depth at forward even without Savard. If Savard is deemed out for the season, the Bruins go beyond the salary cap to add another player with Savard on LTIR.

Given the amount of talent up front, the Bruins could still turn their attention to the defense corps. One possible addition up front could come from within -- 2007 first-round pick Zach Hamill has 28 points in 44 games for the Providence Bruins.

"The last 5-6 weeks the reports have been very positive, and I saw it for myself,” Chiarelli said to the Herald of Hamill. “I think he’s turned a corner and he’s playing with confidence. So you may see him at some point."

CAROLINA HURRICANES

The Hurricanes have played their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference and currently sit one point behind Atlanta for eighth place. The franchise also has built some momentum in the community with a successful All-Star weekend creating plenty of good vibes.

But will the Hurricanes be able to be buyers in the coming weeks? Luck DeCock, columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer, pondered that very question.

"After putting on a great show to convince the world of the Triangle's hockey credentials, financial reality set back in for the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday," DeCock wrote. "This may be a good hockey market, but it's still a small one, and the budget is as tight as ever."

DeCock says the Hurricanes current projected payroll of $47 million is about $3 million more than owner Peter Karmanos, Jr. wanted to spend this season.

It should be noted Carolina already added to the payroll this season when the Hurricanes trade for Ian White from Calgary. Given how tight the race is, one addition could be the difference in making the playoffs.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

The Lightning have already made a key acquisition during the season, grabbing goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the New York Islanders. His addition has created a logjam at the position, though, and there could be a move to be made in the near future.

Roloson has posted four shutouts since joining the team and is the clear No. 1 guy. Mike Smith is back from injury, so he and Dan Ellis are vying for the No. 2 spot. The options appear to be a trade, or sending one of the two veterans netminders to the minors.

"I'm talking to teams every day, exploring options to see who has an interest or a need," GM Steve Yzerman said to Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times. "At some point goalies need to play. I don't want to keep guys around who aren't playing so at some point we're probably going to have to make a decision on what we want to do."

The guy who is No. 4 on the organizational depth chart, prospect Cedrick Desjardins, is out with a shoulder injury so the Lightning don't have to worry about taking away playing time from their top young guy at the position if Ellis or Smith is sent to Norfolk of the AHL. Teams looking for goaltending insurance could inquire about Smith or Ellis, but both have had their share of struggles this season.

UPDATE: Tampa Bay has placed Smith on waivers. Looks like he is going to be the odd man out. Smith is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He is due a little more than $792,000 for the rest of this season if a team puts in a claim, according to capgeek.com.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

The Canucks are atop the Western Conference and could be the most complete team in the NHL. They are also pretty tight against the salary cap and aren't likely to have much wiggle room this month, depending on the health of some of their injured defensemen.

Like the Bruins, they could call upon a top prospect to provide some help down the stretch. Cody Hodgson, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut for the Canucks last night.

"Obviously, it has been a long time waiting for this," Hodgson said to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun. "I just  have to make the most of it with the chances I get. I'm happy to be here and happy to get going."

Hodgson has been slowed by injuries, including a back problem that was misdiagnosed and a broken toe, but he was a star at the 2009 world junior championships and considered one of the best prospects in the world before the injuries. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 28 games for Manitoba this season.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 12:43 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

As Deadline Day approaches: Atlantic Division

Where does each team stand as the trade deadline approaches? Let's take a look around the League, one division at a time, and try to decipher which direction the teams might be leaning as the 3 p.m. deadline on Feb. 28 approaches. First up is the Atlantic Division, which features three of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and two of the bottom feeders.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (33-12-5, 71 points)

If the Flyers are confident in rookie Sergei Bobrovsky and one of last postseason's heroes, Brian Boucher, in net than Philadelphia doesn't really have any needs to address (and the record reflects that). There's enough cap room to do something if an injury occurs, but doing so would likely push some bonus money for James van Riemsdyk and Bobrovsky onto next year's cap. Verdict: STANDING PAT

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (31-15-4, 66 points)

GM Ray Shero has been very willing to wheel and deal as the deadline approaches during his tenure. The problem this season is a lack of cap space. Capgeek.com lists the Penguins as the team with the least amount of flexibility in the League, which means Shero is going to have to move some money out if he wants to make a move. Given the depth on defense (and lack of it up on the wing), expect Alex Goligoski's name to be in some trade rumors this month. Verdict: BUYERS


N.Y. RANGERS (29-20-3, 61 points)

The Rangers are probably going to want to see what the lineup looks like with some of the injured guys back before making any decisions, but the addition of Wojtek Wolski and a healthy Vinny Prospal is a boost up front. Count the Rangers as one of several teams who could be in the market for a veteran defenseman. Verdict: BUYERS

N.Y. ISLANDERS (15-27-7, 37 points)

Obviously the Islanders are still trying to build around John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, and Matt Moulson's three-year contract extension puts to rest any rumors that he might be one of the pending UFA forwards available this month. It could be a pretty quiet deadline for the Islanders, although Zenon Konopka could be a sneaky-good addition for someone as a fourth-line center who wins a lot of faceoffs and is willing to drop the gloves. Verdict: SELLERS

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (16-30-3, 35 points)

The Devils started to ascend from their disastrous start to the season with some strong play before the All-Star break. Now the question will be: Does GM Lou Lamiorello see this surge as a reason to keep the team intact, or was the first few months reason enough to make some changes? It might be tough to move some guys because of their contracts if Lamiorello wants to blow it up, but pending UFA Jason Arnott could be a hot commodity. Verdict: SELLERS
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 10:20 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

It's Trade Deadline Month!

Welcome to the 2011 Trade Deadline blog at nhl.com! We are 27 days away from one of every hockey fan's favorite days on the calendar -- Trade Deadline Day.

Last season Trade Deadline Day brought plenty of volume but little in the way of star power changing teams, though Anaheim's addition of Lubomir Visnovsky has proven to be a great one for this season -- he's currently second among NHL defensemen in points.

The big blockbuster of 2010 happened nearly a month before the deadline when the New Jersey Devils added Ilya Kovalchuk from the Altanta Thrashers. Will there be star players on the move this month? Atlanta has traded the best player two of the past three years (Marian Hossa in 2008), but the Thrashers are now contending for a playoff spot in the East and aren't likely to be dealing away top players anytime soon.

During the next four weeks we will be tracking the latest in trade news and rumors, and posting some stories, analysis and interviews on this blog. First up is going to be a quick rundown of each of the 30 teams, broken up by division, and where each might stand as trade deadline day approaches. Check back during the next couple days to see posts on each division.

Whether your favorite team is buying, selling or not quite sure which way to go yet, it is sure to be an exciting month of anticipation and most importantly, trades! We'll try to keep you updated on all the bartering going on around the League.
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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild