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Writing on Deadline 2009

Wednesday, 03.04.2009 / 7:15 PM / 2009 Trade Deadline

By NHL.com Staff

Good Night!
03.04.2009 / 7:15 PM

Finally, we are done.

It's just after 7 p.m. and all the trades have been confirmed by the clubs.

What a day. After a slow start, things picked up right at the deadline. Ten trades were made, or announced, right around the 3 p.m. ET deadline. In all, there were 22 trades involving 47 players.

To say it was an exhilarating day would be an understatement. But, Trade Deadline is always a blast.

So, who got better? Just speaking about Wednesday's trades, I think that Calgary and Phoenix made the biggest splashes.

Phoenix retooled on the fly, making themselves faster, younger and deeper. Calgary, meanwhile got better up the middle (with Olli Jokinen) and on the blue line (with Jordan Leopold). I think it is fair to say that Calgary put itself in the discussion with Detroit and San Jose about the most dangerous teams in the West.

In the East, I think Boston added some good depth and I believe Billy Guerin will be a good fit in Pittsburgh. Toronto, meanwhile, shed some players and added some draft picks to use as pawns this spring, And, all along, GM Brian Burke made it all seem fun.

There's a reason that Trade Deadline Day is one of the best day's of the year and I think Wednesday showed everyone why.

We hope that Writing on Deadline caught the spirit of the thing. It's been our pleasure to take you on this wild ride from 8:57 a.m. until signing off at 7:15 p.m. Thanks for having us as your tour guides to the deadline.

Make sure you check out all the content on NHL.com. It is a treasure trove of resources. Thursday, we will have even more fallout from the trade deadline moves, including a breakdown of everything that happened from the NHL Network's Craig Button, a former GM with the Calgary Flames.

Have a great hockey night!

--Shawn P. Roarke

Flyers Roll the Dice
03.04.2009 / 6:51 PM

Paul Holmgren's presser to explain Philadelphia's moves was among the most eagerly anticipated of the day.

In the days leading up to the trade deadline, Philadelphia was rumored to be a big player. There were countless rumors that the club was in the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes. Plus, there was even talk that the Flyers were looking to move Martin Biron, their goalie.

Yet, when the deadline arrived, all Holmgren in the Flyers had done was obtain Dan Carcillo from Phoenix and depth defenseman Kyle McLaren. Philadelphia gave up Scottie Upshall and a second-round pick to get Carcillo and a sixth-round pick to get McLaren.

But, it seems the Flyers were too tight against the salary cap to pull off anything else.

"Everything you talk about, you have to weigh the costs and the ramifications for now and the future," said Holmgren.

And, Holmgren believes that the Flyers staff can return Carcillo into the feared force he was last year when he was scoring goals and blazing a trail of intimidation across the League. This season, he was in the doghouse of Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky because he had taken far too many selfish penalties.

Adam Kimelman has a look at the Flyers plans.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Happy Homecoming?
03.04.2009 / 6:37 PM

You would think that Erik Cole would be overjoyed to be heading back to the Carolina Hurricanes, the team with which he won a Stanley Cup a few years ago. That happened Wednesday when Cole was part of a three-team deal -- Los Angeles was the other team -- that allowed Cole to return to the site of his greatest hockey triumphs.

But, Cole had mixed emotions when he was told about the trade -- at lunch with teammates -- a few minutes after the 3 p.m. deadline had passed.

Cole seemed disappointed that things did not work out better in Edmonton. He had just 16 goals and 27 points this season for the Oilers, who are in a dogfight for a playoff berth in the Western Conference.

"I'm disappointed that things did not work out here the way I envisioned or hoped," Cole said in Edmonton before boarding a flight to Carolina. "At the end of the day, (the Oilers) have to make sure they protect their assets."

While he may be sad to leave Edmonton with what he believes is unfinished business, Carolina is pleased to welcome home a prodigal son. Eric Staal, in particular, should be very pleased. The two were roommates in Cole's first go-round with the club and Cole showed a lot of chemistry on Staal's right side during the team's run to its Stanley Cup championship.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Kaberle a Keeper
03.04.2009 / 6:07 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't end up moving puck-possession defenseman Tomas Kaberle at the deadline.

Why?

Blame Brian Burke, the GM. He admits it was all his fault.

"I didn't get one call on Tomas Kaberle and that's probably self-inflicted because I set the bar so high," Burke said in his post-deadline presser. "I just felt that if we traded him, we'd spend the summer chasing a player to replace him and that would cost more than the $4.25 million."

Kaberle will make $4.25 million in each of the next two years.

Adam Kimelman has an interesting look at the reshaping of the Leafs that happened Wednesday under Brian Burke's leadership.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Over? It's Not Over
03.04.2009 / 6:07 PM

… Until we say it is over. Maybe I will remember those legendary words from John Belushi in Animal House the next time I want to call an end to the Trade Deadline. For those of you who have been along for the ride with the Writing on Deadline 09 staff, you know that I prematurely called an end to the day back at 3:03 p.m.

Since that premature proclamation, there have been at least a dozen trades announced, including a three-team deal that sent Erik Cole back to Carolina and another deal that sent Ales Kotalik to the Edmonton Oilers.

And, now, 2-1/2 hours later, we are still going strong, reporting and analyzing deals.

And, we're not that close to being done. We are still reporting and analyzing stuff here and on NHL.com

I just took a quick dinner break and now I am refueled and ready to rumble. It hasn't exactly been a balanced diet here at NHL.com -- donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and pulled-pork sandwich for dinner -- but it is a special day after all.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Gillis Stands Pat
03.04.2009 / 5:28 PM

The Vancouver Canucks said they were happy with their team at the trade deadline and would be content if they did not make a deal.

Well, it turns out General Manager Mike Gillis was not lying as the Canucks did not make a move. Gillis cited the fact that his team is healthy, allowing his the luxury to stand pat. Plus, he made his big move in December when they signed UFA Mats Sundin, who is now hitting his stride.

"I think our last two games have been our best games," Gillis said in his post-deadline presser. "We have what we believe is a great group of players. To make a change for the sake of making change is not something I was interested in doing."

Was Gillis tempted? Of course he was, especially when Calgary, a division rival, started pulling the trigger on trades for Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold.

"It's hard to resist the urge to get involved," Gill said. "But, we did."

--Shawn P. Roarke

Revisiting the Guerin Saga
03.04.2009 / 5:11 PM

Billy Guerin sure waited a long time before he was finally traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Guerin was pulled from warm-ups before Saturday's game with the club announcing he was healthy. Immediately, there was speculation that there was a deal in place for the Islander captain, something the Islanders never denied.

Yet, it took four long days before Guerin was finally moved, in the afternoon on Wednesday's Deadline day. And, there is a good chance that the Penguins were not the original team that made a deal for Guerin, a team that was heavily rumored to be the Washington Capitals. The Caps did not make a move Wednesday.

Guerin admitted that the four days of waiting were hard on he and his family, but he is happy to be in Pittsburgh, where he will likely be a top-six forward.

"The entire Islanders organization has the utmost respect for Bill Guerin and we sincerely thank him for his time on Long Island and as the team’s captain," said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow.

That deal also brought about two related developments that are a little shocking.

Pittsburgh sent down Miro Satan to its AHL affiliate. Satan cleared waivers on Wednesday, despite scoring 36 points this season. The Islanders, meanwhile, sent Jon Sim to Bridgeport (AHL). Sim had three points and a plus-4 night in a win against Colorado on Monday night.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Shark Attack
03.04.2009 / 5:00 PM

San Jose sits atop the NHL standings and has been the best team from Day 1, opening eyes throughout the season with its collection of depth and skill.

Yet, the Sharks still made a deal to get stronger for the playoffs, acquiring two playoff-tested players from the rival Anaheim Ducks -- Travis Moen and Kent Huskins.

The deal was announced after the deadline, in part, because it was so complicated. There are a number of conditions in the deal, which saw San Jose ship junior-aged goalie Timo Pielmeier, unsigned draft choice Nick Bonino and a conditional 4th round draft pick in the 2011 Draft to the Ducks for Moen and Huskins. One of the many conditions -- most of which revolve around Moen or Huskins signing with either team this summer as UFAs -- dictates that the fourth-round pick becomes a second-round pick if the Sharks make it to the Stanley Cup Final.

With reports that Anaheim also traded center Samuel Pahlsson to Chicago, that means that only Ron Nidermayer remains from the effective third line the team used to win the 2007 Stanley Cup.

Moen, a grinding, defensively sound forward, had 12 points, including seven goals, in Anaheim's 21-game run to the Stanley Cup.

Huskins, meanwhile, was a reserve that season; but he stepped in and played admirably in the playoffs. This season, he has played just 33 games for the Ducks.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Three for All!
03.04.2009 / 4:39 PM

Here are the particulars of the three-team deal that has been discussed for the past hour or so.

The Carolina Hurricanes re-acquired left wing Erik Cole from the Edmonton Oilers, as part of a three-team trade that also includes the Los Angeles Kings. The Hurricanes dealt right wing Justin Williams to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for center Patrick O’Sullivan and a second-round pick (acquired by Los Angeles from Calgary) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Carolina then traded O’Sullivan and its own second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to Edmonton for Cole and Edmonton’s fifth-round pick in the 2009 Draft.

That seems to be a deal that works a little bit for everyone involved, as we discussed when this was just a rumor.

Here is our recap from 4:06 p.m. entry:

"When all the machinations are sorted out, it seems that the Oilers will end up with Patrick O'Sullivan, another young chip to be added to a youth-laden roster.

"The Carolina Hurricanes get Erik Cole, a former player that was a huge part of the Hurricanes' run to the Stanley Cup. Most likely, he will be reunited with Eric Staal as a right wing on Carolina's top line.

"The Los Angeles Kings, meanwhile, get Justin Williams, who is presently on injured reserve for the second time this season."

--Shawn P. Roarke


Curious Case of Chris Neil
03.04.2009 / 4:19 PM

Several reports, including ones on RDS and Sportsnet.ca, had Ottawa's Chris Neil going to the Florida Panthers just before the Wednesday's deadline arrived after negotiations on a contract extension with Ottawa GM Bryan Murray broke down Wednesday morning.

All signs seemed to point in that direction, especially when Murray said Tuesday night that he had a deal in place with a team to take on Neil if negotiation fell through. But, that team never materialized Wednesday and the trade discussion fizzled.

"When it got today, (the team) didn't do the deal (for Neil)," Murray said after the deadline. The market for Chris wasn't there."

Murray said he also reached out to Neil and his agent, suggesting that they might revisit contract negotiations before Neil reaches unrestricted free agency on July 1.

Shawn P. Roarke

A Final Bang?
03.04.2009 / 4:06 PM


The three teams involved in the late-breaking blockbuster are the Los Angeles Kings, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers.

When all the machinations are sorted out, it seems that the Oilers will end up with Patrick O'Sullivan, another young chip to be added to a youth-laden roster.

The Carolina Hurricanes get Erik Cole, a former player that was a huge part of the Hurricanes' run to the Stanley Cup. Most likely, he will be reunited with Eric Staal as a right wing on Carolina's top line.

The Los Angeles Kings, meanwhile, get Justin Williams, who is presently on injured reserve for the second time this season.

We'll have the incidentals on this deal, as soon as they become available.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Fast and Furious
03.04.2009 / 3:59 PM

Just when you thought it was over, it was merely the calm before the storm.

If reports on various networks are to be believed -- combined with some officially announced deals -- means there have been seven deals announced since the clock struck 3 p.m. ET. And, we thought it was busy in the NHL.com newsroom; it must be a zoo in Central Registry.

A number of sources, including TSN, are reporting that a major three-way trade is still in the queue. That may just put the exclamation point on what has been a late-breaking day of news.

We'll have the deal as soon as it is announced.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Jumping the Gun
03.04.2009 / 3:31 PM

We called it too early, it seems -- shades of Dewey vs. Truman, maybe.

TSN is reporting that the Florida Panthers have traded for Steve Eminger, sending Noah Welch and a third-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rare deal between the Florida rivals.

Also, Sportsnet.ca is saying Samuel Pahlsson has been moved to the Chicago Blackhawks, who were desperate for another center.

Could the backlog at Central Registry be even longer? We'll have to wait and see.

--Shawn P. Roarke


It's Over
03.04.2009 / 3:03 PM

It appears that the 2009 Trade Deadline is complete. With the actual 3 p.m. deadline already 25 minutes in the rear-view mirror, it seems unlikely -- although not impossible -- that any more deals will be announced Wednesday.

If no more deals are announced, the 2009 Trade Deadline will be one of the least active days in recent memory. There were just a dozen deals at the 2000 Trade Deadline, the same number that will apparently be consummated this season. In contrast, there were 25 deals made at the deadline in 2008.

We are waiting to see if there are any more trades in the central Registry queue.

But, we are far from done here at NHL.com. Our staff writers are following up on all the deals that have been announced, getting reaction and explaining what they mean for the teams.

Writing on Deadline 09, meanwhile, will continue to break down all the action for the next little while, so keep checking back. I'm sure we'll have some more news before we check out.

Rangers Swoop Late
03.04.2009 / 3:08 PM

Glen Sather of the New York Rangers was certainly busy in the last hour before the trading deadline.

First, he used a second-round pick to get big forward Nik Antropov from the Toronto Maple Leafs and then, right at the deadline, he pulled off perhaps the second-biggest deal of Wednesday's muted action -- trading for Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris.

Sather, though, paid a pretty heavy price for the best defenseman on the board, once it was determined that Jay Bouwmeester was not leaving Florida. Sather surrended three active players off his roster -- defenseman Dmitri Kalinin and young forwards Peter Prucha and Nigel Dawes -- to bolster his blue line

We'll have more details as they become available.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Witching Hour Arrives
03.04.2009 / 3:00 PM
It's 3 p.m., the official trade deadline.

But, that doesn't mean that the wheeling and dealing is complete. Deals regularly run past the 3 p.m. deadline. One of the trading teams must contact the league offices by the 3 p.m. deadline, but the trade call can go past as long as necessary to make things happen.

We will have more news, including a TSN report that Derek Morris has been dealt to the New York Rangers.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Antropov to Rangers
03.04.2009 / 2:53 PM

Just minutes before the deadline, Toronto's Brian Burke finally got rid of Nik Antropov, offloading him to the New York Rangers for a conditional second-round pick.

The deal, reported by TSN, came just 10 minutes before the 3 p.m. deadline, despite the fact that Burke announced publicly that Antropv was available at least two weeks ago.

At that time, Burke said that he would be looking for a first-round pick in the deal, but that price dropped steadily. Still, he has added a second-rfound pick to a somewhat empty cupboard of picks he inherited from the previous regime.

We'll have more details later.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Carcillo to Philly
03.04.2009 / 2:53 PM
Looking to clear salary cap space, the Philadelphia Flyers have sent forward Scottie Upshall and a second-round draft pick to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forward Daniel Carcillo, according to Sportsnet.ca.

Carcillo, 24, has three goals, seven assists and 174 penalty minutes in 54 games. He went 13-11-24 with 324 penalty minutes last season. He will be a restricted free agent after next season.

Upshall, 24, is 7-14-21 is 55 games this season. Currently making $1.25 million, he is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

-- Brian Compton

Gaborik in Play?
03.04.2009 / 2:28 PM

Mike Russo, the Minnesota Wild beat reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, is speaking right now on NHL Live Radio via the NHL Network and he is saying that his sources are telling him that Marian Gaborik is in play. It would be huge news if the Wild are able to trade Gaborik in the next 30 minutes or so. Gaborik is still out now, but he is expected back in time for the playoffs.

Keep refreshing to find out if there are any more details or if this is just rumors.

And, they just said on NHL Live Radio that RDS is reporting the Senators sent Chris Neil to Florida. Ottawa had been trying to re-sign Neil all day, but apparently they couldn't come to terms. Again, keep refreshing for more details.

- Dan Rosen

Guerin to Pens
03.04.2009 / 2:08 PM

According to several media reports, Bill Guerin is finally no longer a member of the New York Islanders.

The captain reportedly has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, four nights after being pulled after pre-game warmups at Nassau Coliseum. Guerin, 38, has 16 goals and 20 assists in 61 games for the Isles.

According to TSN, Pittsburgh returns a fifth-round pick, a pick that would move up to fourth round if the Penguins make the playoffs. If the Pens win the Cup, the pick would become a third-round pick.

More details to follow.

-- Brian Compton

One and Done
03.04.2009 / 2:01 PM

It's a sprint to the finish now. One hour remains to go before the 3 p.m. deadline arrives.

There have only been eight deals consummated so far Wednesday, so it'll have to be a wild 60 minutes to equal the 25 trades made last season on Deadline day.

But, there are still a lot of players in play, including Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov in Toronto, maybe Ottawa's Chris Neil, Florida's jay Bouwmeester and Phoenix's Derek Morris among the big names still reportedly on the block.

Stay with Writing on Deadline 09 for a wild 60 final minutes.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Toskala Update
03.04.2009 / 1:31 PM

NHL.com's Dan Rosen posted a story on some waiver pickups made Wednesday afternoon at noon. Among those moves was Toronto picking up exiled goalie Martin Gerber, who wore out his welcome with rival Ottawa.

On the surface, the move raised a few eyebrows. Now, however, there is clear reason why Brian Burke would swoop down and pick up the Senator castoff -- mainly, his No. 1 goalie Vesa Toskala is being shut down for the season.

Toskala has been battling groin and hip problems for months and now, with Toronto on the periphery of the playoff picture, he will get the problem addressed surgically. The surgery is scheduled for next week, the goalie said.

Toskala said he knew Tuesday that he would be going on Injured Reserve, but the team was waiting until they got a goalie Wednesday before announcing the move. According to Toskala, the rehab from the surgery is four months, which means he should be healthy by the time training camp rolls around in September.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Jokinen to Calgary
03.04.2009 / 12:23 PM

In the first true blockbuster Wednesday, the Calgary Flames delivered a knockout blow by getting top-line center Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes for very little from their current roster.

Calgary, which obtained defenseman Jordan Leopold from Colorado earlier in the day, sent promising young forward Matthew Lombardi, prospect Brandon Prust and a first-round pick in either 2009 or 2010. Calgary will determine which pick by June 1, 2009.

Jokinen has one more year left on his deal, at $5.5 million. This year, he has 42 points -- 21 goals and 21 assists -- in 57 games. He is a pivot that can both score and set up linemates.

It'll be interesting to see what he does if he is paired with Jarome Iginla. Mike Keenan, the Calgary coach, coached Jokinen when both players were in Florida a few years back.

Lombardi, a 28-year-old center, has 30 points this year. Prust, 24, has played 35 NHL games in the past two seasons. In 25 games this season, he has 1 goal and 1 assist in spot duty.

Phoenix also gets a first-round pick, which will likely fall late in the round and give the Coyotes two first-round picks.

--Shawn P. Roarke

B's Get Defensive Help
03.04.2009 / 12:43 PM

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, who have won just three of the their last 11 games, made a minor deal early Wednesday afternoon when general manager Peter Chiarelli shipped center Petteri Nokelainen to Anaheim for rugged defenseman Steve Montador.
       
It's possible that Montador was made expendable after Anaheim GM Bob Murray had announced earlier in the day that defenseman Chris Pronger would not be traded.

Montador topped the Ducks with a plus-14 rating and 125 penalty minutes, in addition to dishing out 84 hits and blocking 51 shots. Montador, 29, signed as a free agent with Anaheim last July after spending three seasons in Florida. He registered 4 goals, 20 points and career-high 100 shots from the point this season for the Ducks.

--Mike G. Morreale

Hossa Injury Update
03.04.2009 / 12:43 PM

=Ken Holland was just on TSN's Trade Centre and updated Marian Hossa's status. Hossa will not play Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche. Hossa was injured in Tuesday night's game against St. Louis after crashing head-first into the end boards. Hossa was carted off the ice on a gurney.

He says that Hossa is not seriously injured and is day-to-day.

Holland also said this deadline may be the first one in seven years in which the Red Wings won'[t make a deal. He said he has nothing cooking now, but that could change in the next 2-1/2 hours or so.

If he were to make a deal, though, Holland said he would look for grit and depth. "Another player that makes you a little deeper," he said.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Buffalo Gets Goalie Help
03.04.2009 / 12:23 PM

With the potentially long-term ankle injury to starting goalie Ryan Miller waying heavily on the minds of Buffalo management as the Trade Deadline approached, the club made an aggressive move Wednesday to shore up its goaltending situation.

Buffalo traded a fourth-round pick to Phoenix for Mikeal Tellqvist.

Tellqvist was the backup to Ilya Bryzgalov with the Coyotes and played just 15 games this season, going 7-5-1 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

He will battle Patrick Lalime to hold down the No. 1 job and help the Sabres get into the playoffs. Buffalo plays Montreal tonight, sitting three points out of the playoffs. But, the Sabres have two games in hand on the two teams directly ahead of them.

In a related note, Buffalo is hoping to get Thomas Vanek back from the broken jaw that has sidelined him since Feb. 7.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Waiver Claims Made
03.04.2009 / 12:18 PM


These aren't trades, but TSN is reporting that a few players that went on waivers Tuesday were claimed at noon Wednesday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed goalie Martin Gerber from the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Eric Reitz from the New York Rangers. The Dallas Stars claimed center Brendan Morrison from the Anaheim Ducks and the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed forward Craig Adams from the Chicago Blackhawks.

TSN also reports that Gary Roberts, Aaron Voros and Miroslav Satan all cleared waivers.

The reason Gerber is headed to the Leafs could be because Toronto plans to shut down goalie Vesa Toskala for the rest of the season, TSN believes. Toskala reportedly has some lingering groin and hip problems that could require surgery.

Gerber, who is an unrestricted free agent after this season, would be a fill-in for the rest of the season along with Curtis Joseph and possibly Justin Pogge if the Leafs do, in fact, shut down Toskala.

Morrison struggled with Anaheim this season with only 22 points in 62 games after signing a one-year contract in the offseason. Reitz was traded from Minnesota to the Rangers on Jan. 29 and wasn't going to fit into coach John Tortorella's new system. He is also currently out with a foot injury.

Adams was a part-time player for the Hawks this season. In other news, the Penguins just announced that Bill Thomas has been sent back to Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League.

- Dan Rosen


Avs Stars Staying Put
03.04.2009 / 12:12 PM

ESPN.com's E.J. Hradek, a contributor to NHL Live!, is reporting that a League source with knowledge of the Avalanche's plans says there's "no chance" forwards Ryan Smyth or Milan Hejduk are moved today. Smyth has a no-trade clause.

-- Adam Kimelman

Getting Defensive
03.04.2009 / 12:10 PM

Pittsburgh made its second trade of the week, but Wednesday's move was far less splashy than the one that sent defenseman Ryan Whitney to Anaheim in exchange for Chris Kunitz.

Wednesday, the club swapped depth defensemen with St. Louis.

Pittsburgh got Andy Wozniewski from St. Louis, shipping Danny Richmond the other way.

Wozniewski, 28, has played 77 games, scoring two goals, 12 points and a minus-4 rating.

Richmond, 24, has just 3 points in 49 NHL games this season, putting up a minus-3 rating. This is Richmond's fourth NHL team in a short career.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Biron Staying Put
03.04.2009 / 11:55 AM


There's an interesting report on ESPN.com right now regarding Philadelphia Flyers goalie Martin Biron.

According to the guys in Bristol, Conn., who write that they spoke to Biron Wednesday morning, the Francophone goalie isn't going anywhere. Biron said all the rumors that started Tuesday regarding his departure from the City of Brotherly Love caught him by surprise. And, remember, he has a no trade clause, something ESPN.com reports Biron reminded them of during their phone conversation.

Biron did not play in last night's game against Boston, sparking even more rumors that he was on the verge of being shipped out. Antero Niittymaki played last night, but that really isn't a surprise. Niittymaki has been playing well lately.

So, if you want to take Biron off the market, go ahead and do so. Nothing is official until 3 p.m. ET, though.

Also, and this is just my opinion, don't be surprised if you see Martin Gerber get picked up off of re-entry waivers within the hour. My guess is Columbus could be in the market to pluck him for the rest of the season, but that's just a hunch. There is nothing official there. I stress, it's just a hunch.

-- Dan Rosen

Connolly re-signed
03.04.2009 / 10:55 AM

According to reports, Tim Connolly has signed a two-year contract extension with the Sabres. Edit: Here is the story.

Negotiations between the player and team went until mid morning before the Sabres won out in their desire to limit the pact to two years.

With Connolly signed and no longer in play on the trade market, the prices for Olli Jokinen and, to a lesser degree, Dominic Moore, have just gone up. Those two players are the premier play-making centers rumored to be on the market.

Toronto GM Brian Burke told TSN on the air Wednesday morning that he is actively shopping Moore after contract negotiations broke down Wednesday morning. Burke said he will do everything to move Moore before the deadline.

Burke also said that the price for Nik Antropov is falling. He no longer is holding out for a first-round pick, which the price he put on Antropov when he publicly put him on the market last month.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Leclaire Speaks
03.04.2009 / 10:40 AM

Pascal Leclaire, traded this morning from Columbus to Ottawa, was just on TSN

"I knew that might happen," Leclaire said of the trade. "In the last few days the rumors with me and Antoine were running everywhere around here (Columbus) and have been all over the place. I don't think you ever expect it, but I said around here this week if it happens I won't be surprised. I'm going to Ottawa and that's pretty cool for me and my family."

He likes the team he is joining.

"I do think they have a great team there," Leclaire said. "They have world-class players. I know (Jason) Spezza and (Dany) Heatley from the World Championships. These guys are really special players. Danny Alfredsson. I could go on and on. I'm looking forward to meeting everybody up there. I don't see myself coming in as a savior. They have a good team and I'm just going to do my part."

Leclaire also seemed genuinely excited to return to Canada to play.

"You can't really compare the Canada vibe and the Columbus vibe and that's not saying anything against what is going on in Columbus. The fans there are great," he said. "The Canadian fans are a notch higher that's why I'm excited to play in the country. People live for hockey and for a hockey player that's all you can ask for."

--Dan Rosen

Chris Neil Update
03.04.2009 / 10:29 AM
With Antoine Vermette now heading to Columbus, does that mean GM Bryan Murray has more cap room to re-sign Chris Neil?

It's very possible.

According to TSN, Murray was making a final push to sign Neil to a contract extension today. The network is reporting that Neil is seeking a four to five year extension. That may not be feasible, but we don't know for sure.

If Murray can't sign Neil, expect him to be on the move today as well. Like most Senators, Neil has had a disappointing season with only 4 goals and 2 assists, but he is not known as a scorer. He's known as a pest and he has 127 penalty minutes in 44 games.

Neil had a career high 33 points in 2005-06, but his production has declined in each season since with 28 points in 2006-07, 20 last season and, of course, only six this season.

-- Dan Rosen

Another Pronger's Deadline Adventure
03.04.2009 / 10:23 AM

While all the rumors and deals that happen on and around the deadline are exciting for us writers and the fans, they can be hard on the players.

Chris Pronger's brother, Sean, knows that first-hand. In 1997-98, Pronger was enjoying his first full NHL season with the Anaheim Ducks and thought he was safe when the trade deadline arrived.

He was wrong as he was moved that day to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Patrick Lalime.

That deal opened Sean to the business of hockey and set the tone for an NHL career that would see him traded five times and play for seven organizations in a career that ended in 2005.

Sean tells the story of the trade in a hilarious blog on his brother's website, www.chrispronger.com. Check it out if you have a few minutes during what will be a busy day.

By the way, Chris Pronger was taking off the market Tuesday night, according to the comments of Anaheim GM Bob Murray. You can see details on that move in a blog entry from earlier today.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Hainsey Not In PLay
03.04.2009 / 10:03 AM


Atlanta GM Don Waddell was just on TSN and he put the kibosh on rumors that the team was looking to deal young defenseman Ron Hainsey.

He categorically denied any interest in moving Hainsey, but did say that his club would be looking to make deals and should have something down before the 3 p.m. deadline.

Waddell said that any moves would be "hockey trades" designed to "make the team better going forward."

He did, however, say that Ilya Kovalchuk will not be in play and that he is not even answering calls asking about the availability of his Russian captain.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Leclaire to Ottawa
03.04.2009 / 10:03 AM

The first deal of the day, according to TSN, is a pretty good one.

Ottawa has moved forward Antoine Vermette to Columbus, in exchange for goalie Pascal Leclaire.

Leclaire, who last his job when his injury allowed Steve Mason to emerge as the best young goalies in the game, will try to regain No. 1 status in  Ottawa. The Senators thought they had a No. 1 in Martin Gerber this season, but he flamed out and has been put on waivers twice in 2009.

Columbus GM Scott Howson has been looking for a center and Vermette could fit the bill. Vermette plays both center and wing, but is also a very good faceoff man.

Columbus also sent a second-round pick to Ottawa, according to TSN

Howson may still be in the market for a No. 1 center to play with Rick Nash.

We'll have more details as they become available.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Kuba Off the Market
03.04.2009 / 9:57 AM

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, who is a NHL Live! Hockey Insider, is reporting that the Ottawa Senators have locked up Filip Kuba to a 3-year extension at $3.7 million per, effectively taking him off the market.

But, that doesn't mean that Ottawa is done for the day.

Reports say that the team has a contingent deal in place to move Chris Neil if they can't sign him to a contract extension in the next few hours. San Jose is rumored to be one of the primary suitors.

--Shawn P. Roarke

The Bruins are giving their fans a good look into what is going on with the Trade Deadline with exclusive coverage at bostonbruins.com.

GM Peter Chiarelli will hold a live chat session with fans Wednesday night at 5 p.m., a half hour after he meets with the media.

But, Chiarelli has already made some comments to the website about what Wednesday should hold.

"I think there will be deals," Chiarelli told the website. "I don’t think there will be as many as last year.  Last year, we saw some on the day before, and we haven’t seen, we didn’t see that yesterday, so it’s just difficult with the teams close to the cap, with so many teams in the race, especially in the Western Conference, that still think they’re in it. 

"We can’t stray from our strategy and our plan.  We’ve got some good deals in place, and if we can execute on one our two of them, it’ll be great."

But don't expect Boston to announce anything too early in the day.

"My sense is that it’ll be a grind, just based on the talk that I’ve had leading up to today," Chiarelli said.

--Shawn P. Roarke

A Rental Off the Market?
03.04.2009 / 9:29 AM

According to a report on ESPN.com, the Buffalo Sabres are right now in the midst of contract talks with center Tim Connolly. This is significant because Connolly could probably fetch a decent return for the Sabres, who are right now on the outside looking in to the Eastern Conference playoff race. They are three points back in 10th place. With Ryan Miller still out and the Pittsburgh Penguins streaking, the Sabres are in jeopardy of missing the springtime dance.

Connolly has been rumored in many deals. A lot of people feel he would look good in a Columbus Blue Jackets uniform, centering the top line between wings Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius. The Jackets have been starving for a top line center to play with Nash and maybe Connolly could be it.

Than again, if Darcy Regier gets him signed, that dream dies.

We'll keep you informed on this as the day goes on.

--Dan Rosen

Good A.M.!
03.04.2009 / 8:57 AM

Good Morning Deadline Disciples! Trade Deadline Day, one of the best days of the hockey years, is upon us, and it looks a little like the Christmas morning this day that this day is so often compared to -- at least here in New York City.

It's bitterly cold and there is still snow on the ground, two hallmarks of a classic Christmas morning in the Northeast. And, there are donuts in the office. That's like a present in and of itself.

Now, we just have to wait to see when we will be able to open our presents.

The wait shouldn't be too long, as a numbered of deals are rumored to be close to completion. And, as any of us that have been down this road before, we all know that the buildup is slow and steady until the tipping point is reached and the deals start to fall like dominoes.

Unfortunately, it appears that Chris Pronger will not be one of the presents under the Trade Deadline tree. At least that is what Sportsnet.ca is saying this morning, reporting that Anaheim GM Bob Murray has informed Pronger's agent, Pat Morris, that it is not his intention to trade the All-Star defenseman, who has one year left on his deal.

With the removal of Pronger from the available assets on the blue line, even more focus should be centered on Jay Bouwmeester. That has to be sweet music to Florida GM Jacques Martin, who knows that the bidding war for Bouwmeester's services will intensify if he decides to move the smooth-skating defenseman.

The NHL.com staff will be checking in all day. Hope you enjoy your day.

Sitting and waiting
03.03.2009 / 6:57 PM

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby (groin) won't be in the lineup Tuesday night at Tampa Bay -- but neither will Lightning (and ex-Penguin) forward Mark Recchi. The Bolts have apparently joined the trend of teams sitting out players they might trade. Recchi joins Bill Guerin (Islanders) and Derek Morris (Coyotes), who've sat out, as well as impending sitters Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov of the Maple Leafs, who won't be in the lineup for Toronto's home game against New Jersey.

Anyone who doubted that Recchi still has some game left at age 41 needs only to look at a tape of Tampa Bay's game at Calgary on Sunday; he assisted on five of the Bolts' eight goals in a stunning 8-6 victory at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

It's possible that there may not be a lot of activity for the next few hours -- with 12 games on tap, the 24 clubs involved in them will have to ice lineups and worry about actually winning a game before getting back to the last-minute wheeling and dealing.

We'll see.

-- John Kreiser

Antropov, Moore not playing for Leafs vs. New Jersey

03.03.2009 / 4:57 PM

Both Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore will not be in the lineup Tuesday night for Toronto when it hosts the New Jersey Devils, according to several sources.

Toronto GM Brian Burke has been negotiating with the agent for Moore, a versatile centerman. But, clearly, the sides are not very close to a deal if Moore is being pulled out of the lineup.

Antropov, meanwhile, has been actively shopped by Burke for a few weeks now, so it makes sense that he would not appear in Tuesday night's game as Burke turns his attention to trying to get the most for each player in a trade.

The market for Antropov has not been as vibrant as Burke hoped to this point. But, there could be several teams interested in Moore, an energy player with solid defensive skills that has shown an offensive upside recently playing with Jason Blake

Mike Ulmer on mapleleafs.com has an informative take on the situation, including comments from both players.

"It's all part of the job and having been through situations like this before, you learn how to handle it better," Moore said. "You have to do the best you can and stick to the normal game-day routine."

Antropv also said he was not trying to be too stressed as the deadline approaches and the likelihood that he will leave the only NHL team he has ever known grows stronger.

"It’s been six or seven years since I heard the first rumor," said Antropov. "At some point it was stressful. I wouldn’t say I got used to but it’s just another trade deadline day."

--Shawn P. Roarke

Waiver Madness
03.03.2009 / 2:56 PM

Hockey people always warn us folks in the journalism business not to overreact even though we all have a tendency to do just that. However, could it possibly be that we, of all people, need to be warning the St. Louis Blues' management team not to overreact?

Hey, anything is possible, right?

Here are the facts: The Blues are three points out of a playoff spot heading into tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings. A win and St. Louis inches closer to a potential playoff berth. A loss and the Blues have more work to do in a very tough Western Conference environment.

So, yes, it's very possible that the Blues' fate this season does, despite what hockey people always tell me, hang on this one game against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

If the Blues want to be sellers, they've got a very good piece to offer in Keith Tkachuk. If they want to be buyers, rumors are that they could be in the market to re-acquire Chris Pronger, who won the Norris Trophy as a Blue in 2000.

According to reports out of St. Louis, team President John Davidson and General Manager Larry Pleau are still formulating a plan they hope to enact before tomorrow's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. Davidson basically told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that nothing will be determined until after tonight's game.

However, JD also said he likes the way the Blues are playing. They've won three in a row and the city appears to be behind its team again. There is not only hope for the future, but for the present as well. Even if the Blues look the exact same at 3:01 p.m. ET tomorrow, JD and Co. still think they'll have a puncher's chance of making the playoffs.

Of course, adding Pronger makes them even more dangerous. Subtracting Tkachuk sends a bad message to the loyal fans.

So, we warn Davidson and Co.: Don't overreact. It's just one game.

Easy for us to say, huh?

-- Dan Rosen

Blues Clues
03.03.2009 / 1:38 PM

In what has become an annual attempt to shed some salary, a number of high-profile players have been put on Waivers Tuesday afternoon.

Both TSN and Sportsnet.ca have stories on players placed on waivers Tuesday and the list is staggering in scope and stature.

Reportedly, the Penguins have waived Miroslav Satan, a player they signed to a one-year deal to be a first-line winger and ride shotgun for Sidney Crosby. Now, he is being waived to make salary-cap space, about $900,000.

The Ducks, who are looking to bring some injured players back into the fold, put center Brendan Morrison on waivers. It is the same type of situation that saw the Flyers lose both Ossi Vaananen and Glen Metropolit to waivers when they welcomed Danny Briere back into the lineup.

Tampa Bay put Gary Roberts on waivers, which is a little surprising because there are reportedly several teams interested in obtaining his services. It seems that the Lightning should be able to get some sort of asset for the veteran forward.

The Islanders put John Sim on waivers, less than 24 hours after a three-assist, plus-4 game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber, placed on waivers for the second time this season, Aaron Voros of the Rangers and Atlanta's Eric Perrin are some of the other notable names in the reports.

Lawrence Nycholat, put on waivers by Vancouver on Monday, was claimed by Calgary Tuesday afternoon.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Kuba Willing to Waive No-Trade
03.03.2009 / 1:20 PM

Ottawa's Filip Kuba may quickly become a fall-back option for a team looking for help on the blue line.

According to various reports, Kuba said publicly on Monday that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause by Wednesday's deadline if he and the Senators can not come to terms on a new deal in the next 24 hours or so.

"If we can't get anything done here and something or a trade comes up, I would waive my no-trade clause," Kuba was quoted.

According to his comments, Kuba believes a new deal can be reached in the next day, but GM Bryan Murray was not as enthusiastic in his appraisal.

"I spoke to Filip's agent a number of times yesterday. I don't know far we've gone - I don't think very far," said Murray.

Murray seems reticent to offer the long-term deal that Kuba seeks, esp[ecially with another defenseman -- Anton Volchenkov -- facing free agency next summer and also looking for a long-term deal.

Kuba can certainly help a contender if he is moved. In 53 games this season, Kuba has a goal and 28 points, 16 of which have come in power-play situations.

Kuba also has 13 points in 24 playoff games.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Backstrom Stays with Wild
03.03.2009 / 12:46 PM

Well, the biggest -- if perhaps unlikely -- goalie chip is officially off the market as the Minnesota Wild have come to terms with Niklas Backstrom on a new four-year deal.

There had been some rumblings that the Wild would entertain offers for their All-star goalie if terms on a new contract could not be reached this week as Backstrom was scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency on July 1.

Backstrom, 31, is 28-18-4 with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and a team record six shutouts in 51 games this season and represented the Wild at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.

He ranks tied for second in the NHL in shutouts, fourth in save percentage, tied for fourth in wins and GAA and has helped Minnesota rank second in the League in goals against this season at 144.

Backstrom established franchise records with 33 wins and 1,498 saves last season and tied the record for games played (58).

"We've talked for some time, and there were issues to be worked out," said Tom Lynn, Minnesota's assistant GM. "Issues of term and the no-trade provisions were the things we worked on for quite some time. I think we probably were close for a while and just needed something to trigger the deal, and the trade deadline was probably the fulcrum.

"We wanted to see if we could get it done on its own and not be balancing it too much against potential trade value."

According to Lynn, Backstrom was given a limited no-trade deal in his new contract.

"He has a no-trade for two years and his no-trade continues as long as he's basically our No. 1 goalie as far as his stats go," Lynn said. "So it's not a high bar. Those were the issues we were working out."

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Rangers claim Avery
03.03.2009 / 12:24 PM

As expected, the New York Rangers made a claim on Sean Avery on re-entry waivers.

The team announced the deal shortly after the 24-hour claiming window expired at noon, ET. As a result, Avery rejoins the Rangers, the team he left this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

Now, the Rangers get Avery back, picking up half of the player's contract -- a four-year deal for $15.5 million that Avery signed with Dallas this summer.

Avery has been playing for the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, since being cleared to return to the NHL in early February.

The Stars had placed Avery on waivers Feb. 7 and assigned him to Hartford Feb. 10 after he cleared waivers a day earlier

Avery had been on the NHL sidelines since incurring a six-game NHL suspension Dec. 2 because of inappropriate comments he made about the personal lives of other NHL players. In the wake of that suspension, Avery agreed to undergo anger-management counseling.

Avery has 2 goals and 1 assist in six games with Hartford.

He should join the Rangers later Tuesday and be on the ice for Wednesday's practice. It has not been decided yet if he will play in Thursday's road game against the New York Islanders.

Colleague Dan Rosen has the complete story on NHL.com and will be following it throughout the day.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Thrashers trade for defensive prospect
03.02.2009 / 11:15 PM

Atlanta Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell knew fourth-season defenseman Niclas Havelid would arouse some interest in those playoff-bound teams seeking a steady force along the blue line.

While that was all well and good, Waddell also made it perfectly clear he wasn't about to part ways with his reliable defensive-defenseman unless his team received immediate help.

"He's one of the guys that's certainly got some value around the League," Waddell told Mike Knobler of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's certainly well-respected. He's probably been our best defender over the last four years. It's got to be the right deal; otherwise we'll continue forward."

As it turns out, Waddell was presented that deal on Monday when he received 24-year-old defenseman Anssi Salmela from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for 35-year-old Havelid and 22-year-old forward Myles Stoesz.

Havelid had 2 goals, 15 points and a plus-4 rating in 63 games this season with Atlanta, which is 14th in the Eastern Conference with 52 points.

"We were offered second-round picks (by other teams), but we wanted to come out with a body we could put in our lineup," Waddell said. Salmela, a restricted free agent this summer, is a skilled puck-moving defenseman who possesses more offensive upside than Havelid.

Havelid, an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will offer the playoff-bound and Atlantic Division-leading Devils additional depth in the back end.

"Niclas Havelid is a veteran defenseman who brings a wealth of experience to our hockey team," said Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. "We look forward to Niclas joining our defensive corps."

Salmela, who possesses good instincts and grit while producing from the back end, is well-suited for the rigors of the NHL. In 226 games in the Finnish Elite League, he collected 36 goals, 78 points and 208 penalty minutes. He posted a league-best 16 goals for defensemen in 56 games for Tappara of the Finnish League in 2007-08. In 17 games with the Devils this season, he had three assists and a plus-1 rating. He also had 8 goals and 16 assists in 38 games with the Devils' AHL affiliate in Lowell.

"I'll go hard when the game starts and try to handle and keep the puck while working the transition," Salmela told NHL.com last summer.

Salmela gained plenty of experience for bronze-medal winning Team Finland during the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships last May.

Alongside fellow countrymen Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks), Tuomo Ruutu (Carolina Hurricanes) and Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota Wild), Salmela proved aggressive (team-leading 37 penalty minutes), efficient (fourth among defensemen in ice time at 15:14) and effective (second on the team with a plus-3 rating) in eight games.

Waddell now hopes for similar results with his club but not before Salmela takes a brief rehabilitation stint with Atlanta's American Hockey League-affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. He'll likely travel with Atlanta to Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche on March 10.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Witt's Staying
03.02.2009 / 10:30 PM

While he could certainly provide a huge boost to several clubs, New York Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt will not be traded unless GM Garth Snow is blown away by an offer, according to NYI Point Blank author Chris Botta.

“I want to stay, and I hope not by things I say but by my actions on and off the ice that management understands that,” the 34-year-old Witt said.

-- Brian Compton

On the Button
03.02.2009 / 10:02 PM

Craig Button knows the pressure the trade deadline can create, but he insists that teams need to do an honest self-assessment before the pressure forces decisions to be made that might not be in the best long-term interests of the organization.

Button, the former GM of the Calgary Flames, will be an analyst for NHL Network during its three-hour show on Wednesday -- starting at 3 p.m. EST. He is also a regular guest on NHL Live!, a daily show on XM Radio and NHL.com. For NHL.com, Button will breakdown each trade as it happens as we approach the 2009 Trade Deadline. Make sure to catch Button when he joins Brian Duff, Gary Green, Craig Button, along with Bill Clement and Eric Duhatschek as the panel hosting the NHL Network's Trade Deadline Special on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Trade Deadline Special will be streamed live on NHL.com, as well.

Monday on NHL Live!, Button looked ahead to Wednesday's deadline, which falls just as the NHL Network Show takes the air.
He said that one of the key mistakes teams make is to misgauge where they are in the playoff pecking order, particularly teams on the fringe of making the playoffs.

Button points to the Atlanta Thrashers two years ago, a team that was desperate to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. As a result, GM Don Waddell made a number of moves around the deadline to strengthen his team -- including a deal that sent promising youngster Braydon Coburn to the Thrashers in exchange for veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

The Thrashers made the playoffs -- as Southeast Division champs, no less -- but were bounced in the first round, in a four-game sweep, by the New York Rangers.

Zhitnik moved on after that defeat, but Coburn is playing big minutes for the Flyers today, developing into the top-tier defender he was projected to be when the Thrashers drafted him.

"There was no upside to that," Button said on NHL Live!, admitting that hindsight is always 20-20. "They went out quickly and they lose a prime player. There's a lot of teams that have been in that situation. That is a recent example, but I'm not trying to single out the Atlanta Thrashers."

Could there be another team reprising that role this deadline?

Yes, he says.

"You have to know where your team is at and if you don't know where your team is at … at this time of the year," Button said. "A lot of people lose their sensibilities and you can't lose your sensibilities at this time of the year because at some point in the future -- and it usually comes in the near future -- is the fact that you go what did I do and why did I do it?

Despite the slow start to the trade season, Button is among the majority of experts that believe the next 36 hours will be very intense.

"I think you will see a lot of players move," Button said. "There's a number of unrestricted free agents and a lot of teams willing to add players for short term, not long-term and I think that limits the market a bit. But, I think there is a lot of interest. I think there are a lot of players out there that will fit the immediate needs of teams.

One major trade has already happened. Late last week, the Penguins traded Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangardi, a recent second-round pick.

"I think it was a superb move by Ray Shero and his group in Pittsburgh," Button said.

Button believes Whitnety was expendable because of the depth Shero has amassed on the Penguin blue line and that Kunitz was more than adequate return on that chip.

"He can skate, he can finish, he plays well along the boards. He can help (Sidney) Crosby) and (Evgeni) Malkin," he says.

And, he also points to Tangradi, a big power forward tearing up the OHL, as the tipping point in the deal.

Eric Tangradi is a top young player," Button says. "He's big and strong and, in my opinion, will be a force in this League

"I think (the deal) helps them now and in the future. I think it is a beautiful move by the Pittsburgh Penguins."

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Havelid a Devil?
03.02.2009 / 5:38 PM

TSN is reporting the New Jersey Devils have acquired defenseman Niclas Havelid from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Annsi Salmela.

Havelid, 35, has two goals and 13 assists in 63 games this season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

More to follow.

-- Brian Compton

Guerin scratched again
03.02.2009 / 2:23 PM

There's still no resolution to the Billy Guerin trade situation to report.

The latest news, though, has Guerin missing tonight's nationally televised game (Versus, TSN, 7 p.m.) as he still sits and waits on his new destination -- if there is one. According to NYI Point Blank, the club has called up Jesse Joensuu to take Guerin's place on the roster for tonight's game.

Joensuu, a 6-foot-4 Finnish forward, is one of the Islanders top prospects. He has spent the season with Bridgeport (AHL), scoring 17 goals and 30 points in his first season in North America.

He was a second-round pick, No. 60, of the Islanders in the 2006 Entry Draft.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Gaborik On The Go?
03.02.2009 / 12:20 PM

Marian Gaborik is healthy. Who says? The Minnesota Wild, that's who.

The Wild declared Gaborik 100-percent ready for hockey duty Sunday, putting the player's season-long battle with hip woes in the rearview mirror.

Gaborik, the franchise's leading scorer, will begin working out Monday with hopes of returning to action in two weeks.

"He has passed the test mechanically; all that's left is basically a training camp," Assistant GM Tom Lynn told the Pioneer Press. "He's going to be doing all kinds of workouts and skating to get there. We're not going to say he's joining the team Thursday; that would be foolish. What we're saying is that when he's skated long and hard enough to join the team for practice, he's going to practice."

Gaborik had surgery on Jan. 5 and last played a NHL game on Dec. 23. But, he did have 5 points in his six appearances this season and has averaged 36 goals in each of the past three seasons.

Plus, look how effective Martin Brodeur has been in New Jersey since returning from a 50-game injury layoff.

So, perhaps a goal-hungry team will take a chance on Demitra if Minnesota, which fell into ninth place in the West after a tough weekend, decides to part ways with its biggest asset.

And what if a team comes calling with a package of players/picks that makes sense? "Then I've got to listen," says GM Doug Risebrough. "But my motivation is not to do that."

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Snow Job?
03.02.2009 / 11:55 AM

Well, my fellow trade junkies, the Northeast is certainly being pounded by a wicked storm. Talk about March coming in like a lion, eh?

The onset of March not only means wild weather, but an uptick in trade rumors.

After a three-hour slog to the office, the first thing that greets me is a report that the Bruins have offered first- and third-round picks, plus a top prospect -- rumored to be Joe Colborne -- for in-demand blueliner Tomas Kaberle.

Wow! Only if it were true, though.

Seems Toronto GM Brian Burke, who has been hawking his puck-moving, free-agent-to-be defenseman for the past few weeks, says there is no basis in fact in the deal, which was being reported by both the Boston Herald and the New England Sports Network.

"It's not true, a total fabrication,” Burke was quoted as saying on TSN.  "I sat with (Boston GM) Peter Chiarelli for the first period of Saturday's game in Boston and we never discussed Tomas Kaberle. We hadn't spoken about Kaberle before that and we most certainly haven't since then. There is no truth to it at all. None."

Now that is a pretty definitive denial.

But, on its surface, the deal makes some sense.

Boston, at the top of the Eastern Conference, is in win-now mode. A veteran, offensive defenseman would certainly help out the Bruins as they try to distance themselves from the Eastern Conference pack. Kaberle might not help as much as Anaheim's punishing Chris Pronger -- another rumored target of the Bruins -- but he would still help.

In return, Burke would get two valuable draft picks -- a priority for the Leafs, who have just five picks in the 2009 Entry Draft. Plus, the Leafs would get Colborne, a big center that reminds some scouts of a cross between a young Joe Thornton and a young Jason Spezza.

Colborne was taken at No. 16 in last year's Draft. He is currently playing for the University of Denver as a freshman, putting up 28 points in 34 games.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

No deal for Guerin?
03.01.2009 / 8:00 PM

If there's a deal for Bill Guerin to be made, it's apparently not coming until Monday at the earliest.

According to the blog Islanders Point Blank, the Isles told the media this evening that there will be no news tonight -- and that there's no timeline for any announcement of a trade.

Sounds like any potential deal may have fallen though, although that doesn't mean something won't happen before the trade deadline on Wednesday. But for now, Guerin is still an Islander (and their captain). The next question will be whether he suits up for Monday night's home game against Colorado.

-- John Kreiser

Guerin update

03.01.2009 / 3:30 PM

The Bill Guerin watch continues.

As of midafternoon, there has been no trade announced by the New York Islanders, who pulled Guerin out of the lineup for Saturday's game against Buffalo after he skated in the warmup. However, Guerin, the team captain, was not at the Isles' midday practice session, and after practice, coach Scott Gordon (according to Newsday) told the media that a trade was "inevitable."

But when pushed to elaborate on what he meant by the sense of inevitability about Guerin's departure, Gordon told the media he "meant it was inevitable in the second half that, at some point, whether it's the end of the year or the trade deadline, Billy wasn't coming back. That's what I meant. It's not inevitable that he was going to get traded all year. It was inevitable that, when we got to this point, that not just Billy, but we were going to have these types of situations with players that were going to be obviously demanded by other teams."

Guerin still has to waive his no-movement clause for any trade to occur.

Gordon also said that if the trade fell through for some reason and Guerin remains property of the Islanders, he wouldn't mind continuing to play Guerin. "I don't have a problem with Billy," Gordon said.

TSN, citing "sources," says Guerin knows where he's going -- but that he and Isles GM Garth Snow are waiting for the party of the second part to make its final decision to close the deal.

--John Kreiser

Morris on the move?
02.28.09 / 10:45 PM

Islanders captain Bill Guerin (see below) wasn't the only player sitting on Saturday while awaiting a trade. Phoenix did not dress defenseman Derek Morris for its home game against St. Louis.

TSN is reporting that Morris, who has a no-trade clause, has given Coyotes GM Don Maloney a list of teams he'd accept a trade to. The 32-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Morris has 5 goals and 7 assists for 12 points with 24 penalty minutes in 57 games for the Coyotes. He figures to attract attention from contenders who are looking for a defensive defenseman.

With blue-line talent always at a premium, Maloney figures to have plenty of interested parties.

--John Kreiser

Guerin going (updated)
02.28.2009 / 9:55 PM

It looks like New York Islanders captain Bill Guerin is getting off the Island -- though no one is saying where just yet.

Guerin took the warmup before Saturday's 2-0 victory over Buffalo, but he was not on the bench at the start of the game and the Isles say he's healthy. Islanders Point Blank, a blog that covers the team, reports that a deal is done "in principle" with an Eastern Conference team.

The Islanders aren't saying anything, and since Guerin has a no-movement clause (he reportedly has said he's willing to waive it for the right deal) and would have to OK any trade, we may not know the outcome until sometime on Sunday.

At 38, Guerin is no youngster, but his 16 goals and 20 assists aren't horrible numbers on an offensively challenged team, and he's provided solid leadership in his nearly two seasons wearing the "C." The Massachusetts native won a ring with New Jersey in 1995 and passed the 400-goal mark earlier this season. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Guerin still has pretty good wheels, and he would fit in well as a second-line right wing for a team with Cup hopes that needs a forward with some scoring touch and leadership abilities.

The Islanders said after the first period tonight that no trade has been made -- yet. Guerin, who's married with four young children, told NHL.com earlier this month that he was very happy living on Long Island (a common reaction from players who look beyond the Nassau Coliseum to the surrounding suburbs), so it's not likely he'd accept a trade to anywhere very far from his home. That would likely eliminate anywhere in the Western Conference, and maybe some of the more southern outposts in the East.

The Isles dealt center Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli to Ottawa last week for veteran forward Dean McAmmond and a No. 1 draft pick, giving them five picks in the first two rounds, with four of them likely in the first 40 choices. It's hard to say what they'd be looking for in return for Guerin, but at a minimum, it's likely to be a second-round pick.

--John Kreiser

Canadiens keep working
02.27.2009 / 1:10 PM

The Canadiens have already been busy in the days leading up to the trade deadline.

The team was the first to dive into the trade pool, back on Feb. 16, when it pried Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Thrashers to address its power-play deficiencies. Then, Thursday, GM Bob Gainey peddled veteran Steve Begin to Dallas in exchange for depth defenseman Doug Janick.

Also, reports Friday said that the Canadiens claimed Glen Metropolit on waivers. Metropolit was waived Thursday by the Philadelphia Flyers, Friday night's opponent of the Canadiens.

Now, it appears that Gainey will try to make at least one more deal as TSN is reporting that Mathieu Dandenault, another defenseman, has been asked to be moved before Wednesday afternoon's deadline. Dandenault, who has two goals and six points in 27 games, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Despite his struggles this year as a depth defenseman for coach Guy Carbonneau's club, the 33-year-old Dandenault has produced offensively in the past, including three seasons of 20-or-more points.

Gainey should find a few teams willing to offer a mid-level draft choice for the opportunity to introduce Dandenault into their playoff mix.

He might also field some inquiries about tough guy Georges Laraque, who made his displeasure with being a healthy scratch public Wednesday. Laraque backed off those comments Thursday and insisted he wanted to stay in Montreal.

Plus, Laraque will play Friday night against the Flyers, earning his way back into the lineup after a two-game hiatus. Laraque was in pretty good demand at the deadline two seasons ago before being dealt to Pittsburgh from Phoenix.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Goodbye Guerin?
02.27.2009 / 10:15 AM

TSN says that Islanders captain Bill Guerin is expected to waive his no-movement clause if the right trade offer comes across GM Garth Snow's desk.

The New York Daily News also believes that Guerin will allow a deal, adding the caveat that it would most likely only be to Eastern Conference teams with a legitimate shot to go deep in the playoffs.

Guerin has always been a stand-up guy and he can help a young team feeling its way through the pressure cooker of the playoffs. Guerin has 105 games of NHL playoff experience, including a championship with the Devils in 1995.

Now, the question becomes whether or not there is a fit for the 38-year-old forward, who is the Islanders' second-leading point-getter and top goal scorer with 16 goals?

Philadelphia is likely out of the running because of its salary-cap issues and it is unclear if any of the bottom half of the eastern Conference field would appeal to the player. So, that leaves Boston, New Jersey, Washington and, perhaps, fifth-place Montreal.

Guerin, a Massachusetts native, was extremely popular during his time in Boston (2000-02), but it is unclear how much GM Peter Chiarelli wants to upset the chemistry on his team. Guerin also played with the Devils, but that team seems to have its top-six forwards in order.

Washington could be a possible suitor as the veteran Guerin would certainly be a stabilizing force for the young Capitals, especially with captain Chris Clark sidelined for the rest of the year. Guerin might also be a fit in Montreal, a team that is struggling for stability at the moment.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Svatos in Play?
02.27.2009 / 10:15 AM

Colorado's Marek Svatos was a healthy scratch Thursday night in Colorado's loss to the New Jersey Devils in Newark.

Maybe that's because Svatos has just one goal in his past nine appearances and is a minus-6 during that same span. Or, perhaps it is because he is close to being traded and there was no need to jeopardize a pending move by submitting Svatos to the possibility of injury last night.

The 26-year-old Svatos has struggled mightily this season, scoring just 13 times in 54 games; but this is also a player that has both a 32-goal season and a 26-goal season on his NHL resume.

Certainly, some team desperate for scoring must believe that a change of scenery could put Svatos back in touch with his scoring skills.

According to reports, there were several NHL scouts at the Prudential Center to take in Thursday's game with the belief that the last-place Avs will be sellers at the deadline.

Grinding forward Ian Laperriere is also believed to be in much demand around the League and he played an effective 14 minutes against the Devils, killing penalties and even fighting David Clarkson.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Goalie Help on The Horizon
02.26.2009 / 2:25 PM

Scott Clemmensen is not the only goalie that might be able to help playoff-contending teams concerned about their depth at goalie. According to several different reports, the Ottawa Senators have put former No. 1 goalie Martin Gerber on re-entry waivers.

That means any team that was interested in claiming the 34-year-old goalie would only be on the hook for a little less than a million dollars, half of the $1.7 million left on his deal, which runs out this season.

Ottawa GM Bryan Murray said yesterday that a few teams have expressed interest in obtaining Gerber's service.

Gerber started the 2008-09 season as Ottawa's No. 1, but struggled and saw his job usurped by Alex Auld. He last played for Ottawa on Jan. 8, allowing five goals, on 21 shots, in a loss to the Boston Bruins.

After making five appearances in October, Gerber only made nine other appearances with Ottawa this season -- going 4-9-1 with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage. He was sent down to the American Hockey League on Jan. 27 and has gone 6-6-1 with a 2.90 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Despite those struggles, Gerber is a proven NHL goalie with 214 NHL appearances to his credit. Interestingly, he has served as the backup on three different Stanley Cup finalists. In 2003, he was J.S. Giguere's understudy as Anaheim dropped a seven-game decision in the Final. In 2005, he won a Stanley Cup as the backup to Cam Ward and then, the following season, he was Ray Emery's backup in Ottawa as the Senators lost to the Ducks.

Certainly, he is a player that the Dallas Stars might be interested in to help Marty Turco down the stretch. Turco has played in a League-high 56 games. Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff has also played in 56 games, and Calgary could be looking for someone to spell their workhouse. With Ryan Miller injured, Buffalo might be interested, as well.

--Shawn P. Roarke

What's Next For Ducks?
02.26.2009 / 1:38 PM

This afternoon's trade for Ryan Whitney could force the Ducks to make some interesting decisions in the coming days.

First and foremost for virtually everyone is what does this deal mean for Chris Pronger, who has been in trade rumors for much of the past month? With the addition of Whitney, who is signed long-term, the Ducks have three high-priced, offensive-minded, puck-moving defensemen in Whitney, Pronger and Scott Niedermayer.

That is a luxury few teams can afford and certainly not the Ducks, who are reported to be hard against the salary cap, with less than a million dollars of wiggle room after taking a $250,000 dollar hit in the difference between Whitney's salary and that of Chris Kunitz, the player sent to Pittsburgh, along with prospect Eric Tangradi.

Niedermayer is just signed for this season and his future plans remain in limbo. Pronger has another year left on his deal, which will pay him a tad more than $6 million next year, but is highly desirable to several Eastern Conference teams that believe they are one piece from becoming a favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

If traded, it is safe to say that Pronger will likely fetch one of the biggest hauls of assets among the players rumored to be available in the next six days.

But, Anaheim's current place in the standings further complicates matters for new GM Bob Murray, who took over for Brian Burke this season. Yes, the Ducks have struggled to find consistency and, as a result, sit in 10th place. But, they are one hot streak away from flirting with fifth place.

Is it time to shake up the roster now with a playoff berth still hanging in the balance? Let's remember that the Edmonton Oilers were the No. 8 seed in the West during the 2005-06 season and advanced to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

And, these Ducks are just two seasons removed from winning the Stanley Cup and the roster still features several players -- including Pronger and Niedermayer -- that made that championship happen.

Suffice it to say that it will be an interesting -- and busy -- week for Murray and his Ducks.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Howson Going?
02.26.2009 / 10:38 AM

Columbus GM Scott Howson made the media rounds Wednesday, doing a conference call with the national media and also spending 15 minutes as a guest of Don LaGreca and Jim Dowd on NHL Live!

During the conference call, Howson made it very clear that his team is in the market for a No. 1 center to get the most out of franchise forward Rick Nash. But, he also admitted that he will not mortgage the team's considerably bright future for a short-term gain this year.

So, those out there will dreams of plundering the Blue Jackets youthful core -- goalie Steve Mason, defenseman Kris Russell and forwards Jakub Voracek, Derick Brassard and Nikita Filatov -- might want to think about another plan of attack.

"We believe we have a really bright future in Columbus," Howson said on NHL Live! "If you look at some of the young players we have in Mason and Russell and Brassard and Voracek and Nash is still a young man and Filatov is coming. Those players are going to be here and we are not going to do anything to mortgage that future.

"We're going to try to add some pieces in the next few days, but if we can't we will happy to go in with a team that is currently -- I don't know where we are it's so close -- but sixth or seventh.

Heading into Thursday night's game, the Blue Jackets are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 66 points, but they are just four points ahead of No. 12 Nashville.

And, Howson believes it is that standings logjam -- especially in the West -- that will cause this year's deadline to be less busy than past editions.

"I think it is tough right now," Howson said. "It's so tight in the West that no team can say they are out of it; so teams are really playing it tight. Nobody wants to make the first move, but, obviously, something is going to break. But, I don't thing there will be as much action as we've had in the past."

Howson also said that it is likely that the Blue Jackets will call up Filatov from Syracuse in the near future and that will be like a trade in the impact it will have on his current NHL roster.

-- Shawn P. Roarke


Seeking some Clem-ency?
02.25.2009 / 2:47 PM

Could the New Jersey Devils trade the player that would most likely win team MVP if the vote were held today?

It appears that way after goalie Scott Clemmensen was sent to the minors today to make room for the return of all-everything goalie Martin Brodeur, who is coming back from a virtual season-long injury absence.

The Devils had little choice but to demote Clemmensen as he was called-up under emergency conditions when Brodeur went down with his arm injury on Nov. 1. To keep Clemmensen on the NHL roster after Broduer was activated would have required exposing Clemmensen to waivers -- a scenario in which GM Lou Lamoriello had little interest.

Clemmensen, a journeyman with just 28 games of NHL experience before this season, was originally called up to serve as the back-up to Kevin Weekes in Brodeur's absence.

However, Clemmensen stole the No. 1 job and reeled off 25 wins -- the only other goalie aside from Brodeur to win 25 games in a season for the Devils -- to catapult New Jersey to a comfortable lead atop the Atlantic Division.

Clemmensen can be called up again without going through waivers, but the Devils do not want to carry three goalies and Weekes would have also had to be exposed to waivers to be sent down.

So, Lamoriello was forced to demote a player that can legitimately be called a season-savior.

"I had a long conversation with Scotty," Lamoriello told the Bergen Record. "He certainly understands exactly why. In saying that, the job that he did was incredible while he was here. He knows and we know that he's capable of doing that and he's certainly made a lot of people aware of what he can do. In saying that, you never know what the future takes. I couldn't be more proud of him the way he's handled everything on and off the ice and also the way he handled this situation. He's a very mature individual."

And one that will be in great demand in the final week leading up to next Wednesday's trade deadline. After all, it's not every day that a 25-win goalie is put on the trade market. So, would Lamoriello trade Clemmensen at what many would argue is the apex of the player's worth?

As usual, the Devil GM is playing his cards close to his vest, while insisting that he is not actively trying to move Clemmensen.

"It's not a case where you try to do anything," Lamoriello said. "If there's something that comes about that will make our team better, then you do what is necessary to do. But it's not something that you just want to do. Scott gives us depth at the position and he's proven he can do what he did. But that's not saying something couldn't happen."

Bell Tolls For Rangers
02.25.2009 / 2:47 PM

The New York Rangers picked up Mark Bell on re-entry waivers Wednesday afternoon, the first move since John Tortorella took over the team on Monday night.

Bell, a left wing, played in 35 games for Toronto last year, managing just 10 points, but did manage a 48-point season with Chicago three years ago. He spent the entire 2008-09 season in the American Hockey League< playing for the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs affiliate.

Bell had 12 goals this season with the Marlies. Because he was picked up on re-entry waivers, the rangers are only responsible for half of what remains on Bell's $2.5 million contract.

Bell, 28, is eligible for free agency this summer, so this is almost a risk-free gamble for New York, which is responsible for about $300,000.

Part of what makes this move so interesting is that Bell is suddenly in the mix at a position that many assumed would be filled by Sean Avery before next week's deadline. Avery, still property of the Dallas Stars, is in Hartford, the Rangers' AHL affiliate, playing his way into shape.

There has been wide-spread assumptions that Avery will be put on re-entry waivers before the deadline, allowing the Rangers to claim him if all the teams below them in the standings pass.

Even with Bell, the Rangers could still pick up Avery -- although it would mean that Ranger GM Glen Sather will likely have to ship out a few bodies -- either via trade or waivers -- before the March 4 deadline.

Complicating matters even further is the fact that Tortorella said Tuesday that he prefers to run a short bench, relying on three lines and two defensive pairs. That means that the Rangers could have some very attractive commodities for offer in the next week.

It should be an interesting week in Manhattan, to say the least.

Feeding Frenzy
02.24.2009 / 5:18 PM

Former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Jay Feaster, now a NHL Radio Insider, has been through a few trade deadlines during his five seasons as the Lightning's GM, as well his time as the team's assistant GM.

So, he has a feel for what will unfold in the next eight days as we storm toward the March 4 deadline.

Some have predicted that this year's deadline will be soft on action, featuring far fewer than the 20-plus deals we have seen for each of the past three years. Feaster agrees, but only to a point.

"I don't know that we will get the big splash or that we will get to 25 trades this year, but we will be active," he says. "I think there are enough sellers, especially in the East, and even in the West now; some teams are starting to feel a little more separation at the bottom."

As buyers and sellers become even more clear in the next few days, Feaster says the action will intensify even more.

"The thing you have to remember is it is that feeding frenzy," Feaster said. "Once that first domino falls, then everybody looks around and says, 'Oh my gosh! I need to do something now.'

"Those teams that are two and four points apart and teams that think maybe this is the year they can win it all, as they see other teams that they are going to compete with making moves, you'll see them decide that they will have to do something."

That process usually doesn't start until the deadline becomes a real obstacle to getting things done, usually during that final 48-hour period. It is then, that the action will start to pick up and anything can happen, feaster says.

Feaster spent a good portion of Tuesday's 15-minute appearance on NHL Live! talking about John Tortorella becoming the new coach of the New York Rangers, a development that happened Monday night.

Feaster was the GM in Tampa when Tortorella coached the team to the 2004 Stanley Cup and he provided some unique insight into what Tortorella will try to accomplish in Manhattan.

The whole interview is available here.

-- Shawn P. Roarke


Sens-ing a Change in Ottawa

02.24.2009 / 11:22 AM

While everyone expects Toronto GM Brian Burke to be the central figure at this year's deadline, he may get a good deal of competition from a traditional Toronto rival -- the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa GM Bryan Murray is a realist and he knows his team will have to pull off a minor miracle to keep alive a run of 11-straight postseason berths. Entering Tuesday night's game against Carolina, the Sens sit in 12th place, 15 points out of the eight-team playoff picture with just 24 games remaining in the season.

Not only would the Senators have to finish the season at a scorching pace, but at least two or three teams above them would have to go into a deep freeze for the playoff picture to turn around.

Murray has already struck once this month, trading Dean McAmmond and a first-round pick to the Islanders last Friday in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Chris Campoli and talented winger Mike Comrie.

But, the GM says he is not done.

"We're obviously not where we want to be going forward," Murray said Monday while discussing the Senators' plans for the March 4 deadline. "I hope to go do a couple of other things, whether it's just add prospects or draft picks."

Murray has a lot of assets to dangle, as well.

"Our performance this year has not allowed us to say there are any untouchables," he said.

Rugged forward Chris Neil, the versatile Christoph Schubert and defenseman Filip Kuba are the most often mentioned targets of opportunity. Neil and Kuba will be unrestricted free agents this summer and Schubert has expressed a willingness to be moved because of a lack of playing time -- or a defined role -- with the club this year.

"I get lots of calls, I make lots of calls," Murray said. "Through the week there will be a fair number of contacts with other managers. The teams that are like me, on the borderline, will be talking about what we can do with the unrestricted guys.

"We'll try not to let happen what's happened with a couple of guys in the past. That is, go away in July for nothing."

-- Shawn P. Roarke


Talking Deadline
02.24.2009 / 10:38 AM

Everybody loves talking about the trade deadline -- even the men intimately involved in one of the signature days of every NHL season.

Monday, four NHL executives took time out to discuss their views on what will happen in the run-up to the 2009 Trade Deadline, which falls on March 4 at 3 p.m.

Calgary coach Mike Keenan, as well as Boston GM Peter Chiarelli, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis and Florida GM Jacques Martin all participated in League-sponsored conference calls with the national media. Chiarelli and Gillis also appeared on NHL Live, the afternoon (12-2 p.m.) radio show that airs on XM and is simulcast live on NHL.com

During his call , Keenan said he was fine with the division-leading Flames not adding at the deadline, but also knows that Darryl Sutter will do his best to make sure the team brings the strongest possible team into the postseason

Boston's Chiarelli talked about how the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins are actively looking for depth and appeared to give credence to the fact that backup goalie Manny Fernandez might be in play this week.

On his call , Martin discussed the Jay Bouwmeester situation in depth, basically admitting that he was struggling with what to do with his best player, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Finally, Mike Gillis told the world that he made his big move with the addition of Mats Sundin. He doesn't foresee the club adding any other big pieces. He also talked a bit about the uncertainty of the trade market as the process enters its frenetic final week. The tightness of the playoff races and the uncertain economic picture may slightly dampen down what is normally a wild final 48 hours of trading activity.

On NHL Live!, Gillis talked about a return to health and the revival of Roberto Luongo have the Canucks fighting for a top-four berth in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Tuesday, NHL Live! will have even more on the trade deadline, welcoming former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Jay Feaster onto the show in the 1 p.m. hour.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Rangers moves could impact market

02.24.2009 / 9:45 AM

Nobody knows for sure; but it could have serious repercussions.

Clearly, GM Glen Sather felt something had to change with his club and, therefore, he made Renney the fall guy with Monday afternoon's announcement. But, will that be enough to wake up a team that has lumbered through the past 50 or so games, a team that makes scoring a life-and-death exercise on many nights?

If not, Sather may be forced to make a move or two in a desperate attempt to keep the Rangers in the playoff picture, a thought that was almost inconceivable when the Rangers ran away and hid with a 10-2-1 start to the season.

"We don't want to trade any young players... we're not up against the cap, there are lots of things that can happen."

Of course, many people believe that heart-and-soul Sean Avery will be re-joining the team any day, once he is put on re-entry waivers by the Dallas Stars. But, Avery has just one assist, a minus-3 rating and only two penalty minutes with the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack. That's not exactly the big-impact move that may be necessary.

Plus, Tortorella, during his brief stint as a commentator for TSN, was hyper-critical of Avery's behavior that contributed to his suspension by the League. But, Sather dismissed that dynamic playing a role in whether or not Avery, who is still Dallas property, could wind up with the Rangers -- either through a re-entry waiver claim or a trade.

"(John) doesn't have the history with Sean that we do," Sather said. "Over time, you learn to love him like I do."

By most accounts, Sather has a little wiggle room with which to play -- especially if he can find a way to unload fringe forwards Petr Prucha or Aaron Voros.

If the Rangers believe they can make a run deep into the playoffs, they will be keying on a veteran defenseman to bolster a defense that features journeyman Erik Reitz as the current No. 6 while Paul Mara deals with a shoulder injury. Dmitri Kalinin, meanwhile, is playing but has battled back problems for the past few weeks.

There has also been a good deal of chatter about importing Keith Tkachuk from St. Louis. The veteran power forward would be a strict rental, but he should give some life to a power play that has struggled mightily throughout the season, clicking at just 13.8 percent of the time.

Tkachuk has 18 goals this season and 11 have come in power-play situations. Markus Naslund leads the Rangers with seven man-advantage goals, but only he and Chris Drury (six) have scored more than four power-play goals this season.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Top team in East might look to improve
02.23.2009 / 4:30 PM

Just because the Boston Bruins sit atop the Eastern Conference with 40 wins and 88 points through 60 games this season doesn't mean GM Peter Chiarelli will sit tight at the deadline.

"Last year, we looked at some deals and we decided they weren't worth messing with the chemistry," Chiarelli said during a media conference call on Monday afternoon.

"That certainly will be in the equation this year but, certainly, I would like to add a couple things if I can. The races are so tight now and there's not a lot happening right now. We'll see how the next few days unfold. Part of the driving force in these deadline deals is getting depth. I think that I can speak for all the teams; they always want to get as deep as they can."

There's been speculation that backup goalie and pending UFA Manny Fernandez (14-4-3, 2.24 GAA, .921 save percentage) could be dealt in exchange for some additional depth along the forward line.

After all, Finnish goalie prospect Tuukka Rask might soon be making a case to backup Tim Thomas.

"(Tuukka) has had a very good year," Chiarelli said. "He's coming along nicely and his development track is as we had projected. He should find his way into our lineup shortly."

Last October, the Bruins assigned Rask to the Providence Bruins, despite the fact he had the best save percentage (.952) among the goalies in preseason play, followed by Fernandez (.875), Thomas (.869) and Kevin Regan (.857). The organization opted to go with two veterans in Thomas and Fernandez, however, to start the 2008-2009 season.

On Jan. 31, Rask earned his first start of 2008-09, scoring a 1-0 shutout over the Rangers. In 41 appearances in Providence this season, Rask is 24-17 with a 2.52 GAA and .915 save percentage.

Hmm. Stay tuned!

--Mike G. Morreale


Lecavalier was on Habs' radar
02.20.2009 / 10:45 AM

According to a report in the Globe and Mail, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey admitted that the team was once negotiating a deal for Lecavalier as early as November. The Lightning were supposedly interested in the services of Christopher Higgins, Josh Gorges and prospect P.K. Subban.

Obviously the deal never happened. But nothing much has changed in the philosophies of the teams. The Canadiens have struggled recently, but the acquisition of Mathieu Schneider shows they would like to be buyers at the deadline. The Lightning are still at the bottom of the standings, making them a good bet to be sellers.

So Lecavalier to Montreal could still happen. Right?

"All I can tell you is I haven't talked to Bob Gainey in months," Lightning GM Brian Lawton told the St. Petersburg Times. "Have I talked to him throughout the year? Yeah. But there's nothing to that."

-- Dave Lozo


Burke Speaks

02.19.2009 / 11:15 AM

Brian Burke's every public utterance from now until March 4 will likely be newsworthy.

We can't think of a person more suited for such scrutiny. Burke has never met a microphone he didn't like. Wednesday, he was in London, Ont., to speak at the Engaging Insights Speaker Series.

No offense to the speaking series, or the city of London, but Wednesday's speech was a run-of-the-mill event until it involved Burke and fell less than two weeks before the trade deadline. Suddenly, it was a can't-miss event.

Throughout his speech -- and the question-and-answer session that followed, he talked about the upcoming trade deadline, a swap meet in which Burke's Maple Leafs are expected to take center stage.

According to Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press, Burke made quite a few newsworthy points.

* Burke said he was offered a trade on Tuesday, a deal interesting enough to have his staff begin the vetting process.

* He also said that an unidentified team made a pitch for young defenseman Luke Schenn, perhaps the only untouchable player on Toronto's roster. Burke's respond was a classic: "It was a short conversation. I asked him, 'You want me to trade a Top 5 pick, someone who might eventually be able to play, for an 18-year-old who is playing 22-minutes a game right now?'"

* Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle likely isn't going anywhere. Kaberle has waived his no-trade deal to facilitate a trade, but Burke said he doesn't see it happening. "It has to be a deal that blows my doors off and that hasn't happened."

*  Speaking of no-trade clauses, Burke was characteristically blunt: "No-trade contracts are coach killers. I hate them. They suck."

* Burke also said he has no intentions of pulling the plug on this season for a shot at the No. 1 pick, which he believes will be junior superstar John Tavares from the London Knights. "We'd have to lose a lot more games for that to happen," he said. "If I could make a trade today that would put us in the playoffs, I would do it right away. That's my job. Those aren't the kind of deals that are presenting themselves to us. Our job is to win as many games as we can."

-- Shawn P. Roarke



10 questions
02.18.2009 / 3:41 PM

Forget the two-minute warning; we need the two-week warning for the NHL Trade Deadline.

And, fancy that, such a warning happens to fall today as we debut our "Writing on Deadline 2009" blog. Hopefully, the journalistic Idouble entendre in the title shined through. The NHL.com brain trust spent a good portion of Wednesday racking their brains for that one.

We promise, though, we will be more spot-on with our analysis of completed trades and our discussions of rumored moves during the frenetic 14 days that remain before the 3 p.m. ET deadline on March 4. From now until then, this will be the place to get your trade deadline fix, no matter the hour, with the crack NHL staff serving as your tour guides to all things trade.

To get the Writing on Deadline blog ball rolling, let's start with the 10 questions facing the League and its member teams as the deadline begins to loom on the immediate horizon.

Will Brian Burke have to pay for extra minutes on his cell phone in the next couple of weeks?

Well, hopefully Burkie has the all-you-can-eat minutes plan and a Bluetooth headphone because his digits will be uber popular with his front-office peers. The new Toronto GM has declared a few players safe and put the rest of the roster on the market, including top forward Nik Antropov and a pair of puck-moving defensemen. Burke isn't afraid to pull the trigger when he has a chance to win now. In rebuilding mode, he should be among the most willing trade partners.

Can Keith Tkachuk get traded by St. Louis again?

The Blues dealt Tkachuk to Atlanta two years ago at the deadline for Glen Metropolit and an attractive package of draft picks. St. Louis then traded to reacquire Tkachuk that summer, returning a first-round pick to the Thrashers. So anything clearly is possible. But is it likely? Tkachuk is having a very good season and is deadly on the power play, but he has had limited playoff success and did nothing for Atlanta in its first-round ouster two years ago. Opposing GMs may sniff around, but won't be willing to pay the price Atlanta surrendered at the 2007 deadline.

What are the Devils going to do with three goalies?

All-world Martin Brodeur is scheduled to return from his long-term injury absence before the deadline, giving the Atlantic Division leaders a terrific boost in the form of a goalie who has won three Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal. But it also gives them the potential headache of carrying three goalies for the remainder of the season. Will GM Lou Lamoriello try to move one of them? If so, Kevin Weekes is likely the odd-man out -- and it is unclear what, if anything, he would command on the open market. Would a team like Montreal, with two young goalies, be interested in an experienced backup with some big-game experience?

Speaking of Montreal, will it put forward Alexei Kovalev on the market?

This would have been a non-starter as late as last week, but that was before the front office -- with the blessing of coach Guy Carbonneau -- decided to leave Kovalev behind during this week's two-game road swing. The free-falling Canadiens are desperate for points in the Eastern Conference race, yet deemed second-leading scorer Kovalev expendable. If that doesn't pique the interest of other GMs, we're not sure what will. Kovalev is still a goal-scorer with first-rate skills. He could blossom again in the right situation. Pittsburgh, anyone?

Will the Penguins make a move before the deadline?

GM Ray Shero says the answer is no, insisting the firing of Michel Therrien and the naming of new coach Dan Bylsma is the season-saving move he had up his sleeve. But it is hard to believe that Shero won't be intrigued by a finishing forward to pair with Crosby in hopes of recapturing the Marian Hossa magic from last season. There is also likely to be interest in bringing Colby Armstrong back into the fold after moving him to the Thrashers last year in the Hossa deal.

What about the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings?

GM Ken Holland made only one move at last year's deadline, astutely adding Brad Stuart to solidify his blue line. This year, it appears a goalie might be on the wish list -- and that will be a much harder bill to fill. Chris Osgood has not been very good all year and backup Ty Conklin has been a pleasant surprise but has little in the way of playoff pedigree.

So will there be any goalies on the market?

It will not be a buyer's market for those seeking a quality keeper. Minnesota might put free-agent-to-be Niklas Backstrom up for auction, but that's not a definite as the Wild are on the cusp of making the playoffs in the West. Regardless of that, GM Doug Risebrough would like to make Backstrom his franchise cornerstone if at all possible. The tightness of the race in the West and the youth of eliminated goalies in the East have put a huge damper on the market.

Are we in for a busy two weeks, then?

Of course, the trade deadline has always been a wild time. This year, though, the action might pick up even later than usual. There are several reasons for this, including the uncertain economic future that is affecting all facets of life. Owners will need more convincing than ever to take on salary. Also, let's not forget that the GM Meetings are a week later this year, falling after the deadline. Usually, they precede the deadline and serve as an incubator for what is to come as the GMs treat meeting breaks, dinners and golf outings as sounding boards for potential moves. Now that process will have to be conducted over phone lines and via e-mail. Finally, some sellers will not emerge until the final 48 hours because of the tightness of the races in both conferences. 

Will the Conference leaders -- San Jose and Boston -- do anything?


That's a tough call. San Jose has been good from Day 1 and is one of the deepest teams in the League. The Sharks have 15 regulars who play more than 13 minutes per game and are proficient at both ends of the ice. But it wouldn't be surprising to see GM Doug Wilson use some organizational assets to add a depth defenseman  or a faceoff-proficient center. Boston has never been much of a buyer at the deadline, but rarely have the Bruins been in this position. GM Peter Chiarelli has not been afraid to pull the trigger during his tenure in Beantown and he will be scouring the market for some skilled size to add to his roster. Whether he can find a match remains to be seen.

With all that said, who will be the biggest name moved by the time the curtain falls at 3 p.m. on March 4?

My money is on Chris Pronger, just because he would likely bring the biggest return if the Ducks fall out of the playoff race. Pronger has one year left on his current deal, so the pressure to move him usually associated with impending free agents isn't there. But he will be in high demand among the Eastern Conference's top playoff contenders as they look for separation from the pack. That means someone will cave under the pressure and make an offer the Ducks can't refuse. Who knows, maybe that team is Boston? It's hard to imagine a team featuring the Twin Towers of Zdeno Chara and Pronger being an easy out.

-- Shawn P. Roarke


Anatomy of a deal
02.18.2009 / 3:34 PM

Want to know what NHL GMs are thinking as the phone lines start to burn and inboxes fill to capacity? Well then, have we got a treat.

Last spring, NHL.com writer Dan Rosen, a team from NHL Productions and I all headed to Naples, Fla., for the GM Meetings, which fell just days before last year's trade deadline. It provided a unique opportunity to pick the brains of some of the game's top executives during a time when trades were actually being discussed.

Brian Burke, Lou Lamoriello, Scott Howson, Kevin Lowe and David Poile were among the GMs who were amazingly candid as they discussed their trading philosophies and the mechanics of bring a deal to fruition.

It was an amazing learning experience for me to be a part of those discussions, and it has allowed me to understand trades and the trade deadline.

Fortunately, we have archived those sessions. They can be found here. Our stories from that informative weekend are also kicking around.

I strongly suggest you play a few of the video clips and peruse a few stories to get an idea of how different GMs approach this process. You might just learn a thing or two that might help decipher all the rumors that will surface in the coming days.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

 

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic