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Writing on Deadline 2010

Wednesday, 03.03.2010 / 6:38 PM / 2010 Trade Deadline

By NHL.com Staff

Standing pat in net
3.3.2010 / 6:52 PM ET

Anyone else surprised three teams that many thought would be in the market for a goalie -- Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington -- stayed quiet on that front?

Of the three, Philadelphia seemed to be the favorite to make a move, with Ray Emery's season-ending hip injury and Michael Leighton never having skated in an NHL playoff game. But GM Paul Holmgren is willing to roll the dice with Leighton and backup Brian Boucher.

One rumor had the Flyers interested in Florida's Tomas Vokoun, but the asking price of center Jeff Carter was too rich for Holmgren. There also was supposed interest in Nashville's Dan Ellis, but nothing came of that, either.

"Michael Leighton is playing confident since he’s been in the net," Holmgren told reporters. "I don't see any reason for that to change. I think the team has the belief and a faith in him and I think are playing very well in front of him."

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau also is confident in his three-headed goalie rotation of Jose Theodore, Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

"People look for faults on a team," Boudreau said. "We all want the negatives. You can't balk at our offense so you look at our defense. We're fine."

NHL Network Craig Button made a great correlation between what the plan seems to be with the Flyers, Caps and Blackhawks and the Canadiens, when they opted for Ken Dryden for the 1971 playoffs.

You can read all about it here.

Slow day for Thrashers
3.3.2010 / 6:38 PM ET

The Thrashers' only deal on deadline day was to acquire left wing Clarke MacArthur from Buffalo in exchange for 2011 third- and fourth-round draft picks.

MacArthur, 24, had 13 goals and 13 assists in 60 games for the Sabres. Thrashers general manager Don Waddell described him as a second- or third-line player who is a really good skater with good hockey sense.

"He plays hard, plays with grit," Waddell said of the 5-foot-11, 191-pounder. "He's not overly big, but he plays bigger than his size. Our team is really starting -- if you watch our game (Tuesday) -- speed is really starting to become very important on the team and our game. He gets around the ice as well as anyone."

Waddell said he thought the acquisition, along with that of forward Evgeny Artyukhin on Monday, was a statement to players and fans that the team acted as buyers and not sellers. He said he feels confident the Thrashers can get in the playoffs with the players they have.

However, one immediate problem is that the Thrashers have 15 forwards now.

"We recognize that's going to be an issue," Waddell said. "We've got everybody healthy right now, which is a very good thing. But we have 17 games this month. To think we're going to get through this stretch being healthy would be very fortunate.

"So we'll address it and now we've got competition for jobs and I look at it as a very healthy situation."

-- John Manasso

Button's breakdowns
3.3.2010 / 4:18 PM ET

Craig Button has been tireless for NHL.com in breaking down the 20-something deals that have moved by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

For this latest batch of videos, Button got a little help from NHL.com staffers Dan Rosen and Shawn P. Roarke.

Check out the latest contributions:

Joe Corvo trade
Eric Belanger
Vesa Toskala
Jeff Halpern


Making a splash
3.3.2010 / 4:08 PM ET

One team in each conference dominated the action on trade deadline day. In the East, it was Washington with GM George McPhee making a series of moves to further position his team for a run deep in the playoffs. In the West, it was Phoenix that surprisingly dominated the headlines.

Washington, which has an 11-point lead in the east, got tougher and more tested with a quartet of deals that imported Scott Walker and Joe Corvo in separate deals with Carolina, while also adding big center Eric Belanger from Minnesota and big defenseman  Milan Jurcina from Columbus.

Both Walker and Corvo helped the Carolina Hurricanes on a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Walker scored the series-winning goal against Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and finished with a goal and 6 assists in 18 postseason games. This season, he has 3 goals and 5 points in 33 games. But, Walker's value comes mostly in the room and in the toughness departments.

Corvo, meanwhile, is an offensive defenseman who has battled through injuries this year. Last season, he tied his career high with 14 goals and finished with 37 points. He had 7 points in 18 playoff games. Corvo will help tremendously with Washington's already lethal power play, spelling Mike Green with some second-unit duty.

Belanger, meanwhile, is a big-bodied center that can handle the physical grind of the playoffs and can use his size to wear down opposing forwards.

Out West, it was Phoenix GM Don Maloney that stole the show.

In the biggest individual deal of the day, Maloney rolled the dice by trading Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter -- young players with huge offensive upsides -- in exchange for Colorado's Wojtek Wolski, who is a proven 20-goal scorer.

Maloney also added Mathieu Schneider from Vancouver to help with the power play, as well as defenseman Derek Morris from Boston, another offensive guy on the blue line.

Finally, he added Lee Stempniak from Toronto, a young forward with the potential to score 20 goals a season. Stempniak did not work out in Toronto after moving from the St. Louis Blues, where he had a promising start to his career.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Two players off the market
3.3.2010 / 2:54 PM ET

Two players that were rumored to be on the move today are staying put.

Carolina's Ray Whitney will remain with the Hurricanes, who traded both Scott Walker and Aaron Ward on Wednesday. According to reports, Whitney had several teams interested in his services, but Carolina could not find its asking price.

Plus, the need to trade Whitney evaporated to a great deal after the Ward and Walker salaries were moved off the books.

Also, Edmonton's Sheldon Souray, a hard-shooting defenseman, was in play despite the fact that he is sidelined with a broken hand. There was a thought that teams would be interested in Souray because he would be back by mid-march. Now, however, Souray is in the hospital, being treated for an infection after the surgery.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Mueller on move to Avs
3.3.2010 / 2:37 PM ET

Dan Rosen has the analysis of perhaps the boldest trade of the day, a move that sees Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter moved to Colorado in exchange for Wojtek Wolski, a proven 20-goal scorer:

Colorado and Phoenix are hoping fresh starts produce positive results for Peter Mueller and Wojtek Wolski.

In what could be called the biggest move of the day so far, the Avalanche shipped Wolski to the Coyotes in exchange for Mueller and Kevin Porter, a former Hobey Baker Award winner from the University of Michigan who has appeared in only four NHL games this season.

Wolski and Mueller are top-six quality forwards who are 24 and 21, respectively.

Wolski has had the better season of the two with 17 goals, 30 assists and a plus-15 rating in 62 games for the resurgent Avalanche. He's only three points shy of his career-high of 50, a number he hit as a rookie in 2006-07.

"Wojtek Wolski is a terrific young offensive player," Phoenix GM Don Maloney.  "He is a talented goal scorer that will help us offensively and on the power play. He has great size and is just entering the prime of his career."

In two-plus seasons with the Coyotes, Mueller never could find his niche. He struggled even more under Dave Tippett.

"Peter is a skilled young player who has a tremendous upside," said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman. "We feel he will be an important addition to our lineup. Kevin will add more depth up front. He spent some extended time in the NHL last season and we look forward to having him join our organization."  

For more on this deal, including a fantasy take, go here.

More Button videos
3.3.2010 / 2:37 PM ET

Craig Button is still churning out the analysis here at NHL headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

Here are some of his latest takes on the action that has gone down today.

Scott Walker trade

Past Deadline Deals

Martin Skoula trade

NHL.com's Adam Kimelman weighs in on the move that sent Aaron Ward from Carolina to the Anaheim Ducks:

Ducks land Ward
3.3.2010 / 1:07 PM ET

The Anaheim Ducks have added a veteran presence to their blueline, acquiring defenseman Aaron Ward from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ward, 37, is a three-time Stanley Cup winner who can provide a strong physical element. In 60 games, he has 138 hits and led the Hurricanes with 122 blocked shots. Those numbers would put him at the top of the list among Ducks defensemen. He also has 1 goal, 11 points and 54 penalty minutes.

In 822 NHL games over 15 seasons with the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Rangers and Bruins, he has 149 points and 728 penalty minutes.

"Aaron Ward brings valuable experience and is a proven winner with three Stanley Cup championships,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. "We are pleased to bring him on board."

It was a move Ward wasn't expecting, as the Ducks sit 11th in the Western Conference, three points out of a playoff spot, but he told TSN it's one he's looking forward to.

"Just watching them over the last two weeks before the Olympic break, I'd love to go into that situation," he said. "Just go in, be quiet, not rock the boat and be part of their success."

For more on this story, go here.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Skoula on the move again
3.3.2010 / 1:00 PM ET


NHL.com's Dan Rosen also has a first look at the move that sent Martin Skoula from Toronto, where he had been traded Tuesday night from Pittsburgh, to  New Jersey. He'll have more on this deal as the day progresses:

Martin Skoula
didn't even have time to meet up with his new teammates in Toronto before had had even newer teammates in New Jersey.

Skoula, who was traded by Pittsburgh to Toronto late Tuesday night, was shipped to the Devils roughly 12 hours later. Toronto received New Jersey's 2010 fifth-round pick in the deal.

The Leafs had acquired Skoula as well as 21-year-old forward Luca Caputi from Pittsburgh for Alexei Ponikarovsky. While Caputi is part of the Leafs' future, Leafs GM Brian Burke never had any intention of keeping Skoula, who can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Skoula will be reunited in New Jersey with coach Jacques Lemaire, who he played under during his three-plus seasons in Minnesota. When Paul Martin returns to the Devils' lineup, likely within a week, New Jersey will have eight defensemen on the roster.

For more on this story, including an in-depth fantasy analaysis, go here

--Shawn P. Roarke

Seidenberg to Boston
3.3.2010 / 12:55 PM ET


NHL.com's Dan Rosen has the insight into the Dennis Seidenberg deal that moved the veteran defenseman from Florida to Boston:

GM Peter Chiarelli wasted no time replacing Derek Morris. The Bruins acquired defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and a prospect from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz and a second-round draft pick.

Morris was traded earlier Wednesday to Phoenix for a fourth round pick in 2011.

Seidenberg, who played for Germany in the Olympics, had 23 points and a minus-3 rating in 62 games for Florida this season. He spent the previous two-plus seasons with Carolina and before that played for Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Seidenberg has 107 points in 351 NHL games.

The prospect heading to Boston is reportedly Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who the Panthers selected in the seventh round two years ago. Bitz had nine points in 45 games for the Bruins this season. Weller has spent the entire season in the AHL.

For more, including the fantasy impact, go here.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Morris back in the desert
3.3.2010 / 12:46 PM ET


NHL.com's Mike Morreale has the latest on the Derek Morris deal:

Derek Morris is back with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Boston Bruins made it possible when they kicked off the final day of trading Wednesday by dealing the veteran blue liner to the Coyotes in exchange for a conditional draft choice in the 2011 NHL Entry.

Morris, who spent parts of five seasons in Phoenix before earning brief stints with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, was willing to waive his no-trade clause approached by the team on Friday after realizing his destination would be Phoenix.

"We are very excited to have brought Derek Morris back to the Coyotes organization," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. "Derek is a talented, versatile defenseman who will strengthen our blue line. His leadership and tenacity will be welcomed in our dressing room."

Morris, a pending unrestricted free agent on July 1, still owns a home in Scottsdale. In 58 games for the Bruins, Morris had produced 3 goals and 25 points while averaging 22 minutes a game.

In 850 career games spanning 11-plus seasons with five different clubs, the 31-year old Morris has 79 goals and 286 assists.

See more here.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Button in the house
3.3.2010 / 12:33 PM ET

NHL.com is lucky to have NHL Network's Craig Button in the New York offices to break down all the action from today's trade deadline.

One of the most acute minds in the game today, Button will offer his insights into not only the moves that are made, but also into the dynamics that go into making deals. Here are some of his early offering from today.

Aaron Ward trade
Derek Morris trade
Player Value
Flames early moves
Active Sellers

Button will have more throughout tha day, so stay tuned to NHL.com.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Poni's a Pen
3.2.2010 / 10:55 PM ET

Alex Ponikarovsky is this year's answer to the trivia question of which winger will play with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin. The Pens officially acquired Ponikarovsky from Toronto in exchange for prospect Luca Caputi and defenseman Martin Skoula.

Ponikarovsky, a 6-foot-4, 229-pound left wing, has 19 goals and 41 points in 61 games. Those numbers should go up if, as anticipated, he plays with one of the Penguins' two star centers.

Caputi led the Pens' AHL team with 23 goals; he had a goal and an assist in four games with the Pens earlier this season. He's a Toronto native the Pens took in the fourth round of the 2007 Entry Draft. Skoula was signed by the Pens as a depth defenseman and had 3 goals and 8 points in 33 games, but had spent most of his time in recent weeks as a scratch.

--John Kreiser

Pens to Poni up?
3.2.2010 / 10:23 PM ET

The yearly answer to what winger will play with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin looks this season to be Alexei Ponikarovsky. The Pens reportely will pick up the Toronto forward in exchange for prospect Luca Caputi and defenseman Martin Skoula.

Ponikarovsky, a 6-foot-4, 229-pound left wing, has 19 goals and 41 points in 61 games.

Caputi led the Pens' AHL team with 23 goals; he had a goal and an assist in four games with the Pens earlier this season. He's a Toronto native the Pens took in the fourth round of the 2007 Entry Draft.

More if and when this deal becomes official.

-- Adam Kimelman

Stajan extended in Calgary
3.1.2010 / 1:20 PM ET

Flames GM Darryl Sutter announced the signing of center Matt Stajan to a multi-year contract extension. TSN is reporting it's a four-year deal. Since joining Calgary on Jan. 31 in a trade with Toronto, Stajan, 26, has recorded 2 goals and 2 assists in seven games. He has 18 goals and 45 points in 62 games total.

Ott staying in Dallas
3.1.2010 / 10:45 AM ET

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Stars signed left wing Steve Ott to a contract extension. He could have been an unrestricted free agent following this season. The contract is believed to be a four-year deal worth $2.95 million per season and will be signed later today. Ott, 27, has 11 goals and 23 points in 52 games this season. He missed the last three games before the Olympic break following an appendectomy, and Ott remains on injured reserve. Read more about Ott's deal here.

Leopold to Pittsburgh
3.1.2010 / 10:15 AM ET

In the first deal after the Olympic trade embargo was lifted, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Leopold has 7 goals and 18 points in 61 games this season. Pittsburgh would be the fourth team in his seven-year career. Leopold was acquired by Calgary from Colorado on trade deadline day last season for defensemen Ryan Wilson and Lawrence Nycholat and Montreal's second-round pick in the 2009 draft.

For more on the trade, read John McGourty's full report here.

Turco likely staying in Dallas
02.24.2010 / 03:45 p.m. ET

The Dallas Stars placed goaltender Alex Auld on waivers Wednesday, according to The Dallas Morning News. The move appears to be a sign that Marty Turco won't be going anyhwere at the trade deadline.

"I don't want to ever say never, but we would have to be blown away with a great offer to deal him now,'' Nieuwendyk said of Turco. "We feel this is the best move for our team going forward, so that's the plan right now.''

The Stars have climbed to within one point of eighth place in the Western Conference, and it's been thanks largely to the play of Turco. He's 4-1-1 in his last six games with two shutouts.

Turco is expected to share time with recently acquired goaltender Kari Lehtonen over the Stars' final 21 games. Lehtonen hasn't played a game this season after having two back surgeries during the offseason.

-- Dave Lozo


Are Capitals seeking depth?

02.24.2010 / 09:00 a.m. ET

An interesting report on TheFourthPeriod.com has the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals in the market to add some depth to their already potent lineup.

The web site states that "according to several reports" Washington GM George McPhee might be interested in acquiring a physical, stay-at-home type defenseman and/or a veteran forward before the March 3 trade deadline.

McPhee apparently had interest in former Carolina Hurricanes veteran center Matt Cullen, who was traded to the Ottawa Senators right before the Olympic roster freeze. It is now rumored that McPhee may be in discussions with St. Louis Blues General Manager Larry Pleau for defenseman Barret Jackman, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, and Columbus GM Scott Howson for unrestricted free agent forward Raffi Torres. Jackman has 2 goals, 15 points and a plus-6 rating in 51 games for St. Louis. The 17th overall draft choice in 1999 has spent his entire 7-plus seasons with the Blues.

For now, it appears McPhee is satisfied with goalies Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov.

--Mike G. Morreale

Senators seek defenseman
02.23.2010 / 11:15 a.m. ET

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that it is almost assured that Senators General Manager Bryan Murray will be adding a defenseman -- or two -- to his depleted blue line following the Olympic roster freeze.

When the Sens return to practice on Wednesday, only three defensemen will be on the ice, including Chris Phllips, Matt Carkner and Erik Karlsson. That number will increase to five when Russia's Anton Volchenkov and Czech Republic's Filip Kuba return from the Olympics. According to the Citizen's Ken Warren, Murray could recall Brian Lee from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton but the trade route is more of a likely scenario.

The Senators dealt defenseman Alexandre Picard to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for center Matt Cullen on Feb. 12 and the team will be without Chris Campoli, who suffered a left knee injury one day earlier, for the foreseeable future.

There's been speculation that Murray could strike a deal with Atlanta for Pavel Kubina, Florida for Dennis Seidenberg or Jordan Leopold, Nashville for Dan Hamhuis or Columbus for Brendan Bell, who is currently playing for the Syracuse in the AHL. Either way, the deal by Murray will likely be for a rental player this season as the Senators continue their surge up the Eastern Conference standings.

The hope is that the organization's ninth-overall draft choice in 2009 -- Jared Cowen -- will compete for a roster spot next season. Cowen has rebounded nicely for the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League this season after suffering a right ACL tear that ended his 2008-09 campaign.

--Mike G. Morreale

Predators' Dan Hamhuis on the block
02.23.2010 / 10:50 a.m. ET

According to sources, unrestricted free agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis of the Nashville Predators might very well be the first player dealt when the Olympic roster freeze if finally lifted March 1.

It is reported that Predators general manager David Poile and Hamhuis are not even close to a new contract and that he could be traded for the right parts -- perhaps an experienced blue liner, offensive sniper or a high draft pick.

Hamhuis, who has 4 goals and 16 points in 57 games with the Predators this season, is reportedly being courted by the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. Nashville, which certainly wouldn't want to do anything drastic as it is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture, could use another proven goal scorer. The team has two players with 15-or-more goals and J.P. Dumont and Patric Hornqvist are tied for the team-lead with 37 points apiece.

The Bruins might be willing to part with Michael Ryder, but his $4 million remaining on his deal might not be too attractive. Hamhuis is in his sixth NHL season, all with the Predators.

--Mike G. Morreale

Calm before the storm 02.19.2010 / 9:35 a.m. (ET)

With the Olympics earning most of the headlines, the NHL trade rumors have certainly subsided but are sure to pick up with the conclusion of the gold-medal game on Feb. 28.

The NHL trade deadline is March 3 at 3 p.m. (ET).

Perhaps the most rumored player on the market is Carolina veteran wing Ray Whitney, who has posted 19 goals and 48 points in 59 games this season. Darren Dreger of TSN.ca reported that Whitney might very well be headed to Los Angeles.

Whitney, who has spent the last five of his 17 NHL seasons in Carolina, would waive his no-trade clause for a multi-year extension. That was the only sticking point to getting a deal done before the Olympic freeze, according to Dreger. Whitney had asked for a three-year extension and Los Angeles offered a one-year deal.

If the Kings were to consider a two-year extension, a trade with the Hurricanes would be imminent. It's being reported that Carolina would receive a first-round pick and a possible prospect from Los Angeles in exchange for Whitney.

In 1,051 career games, Whitney has 322 goals and 859 points.

--Mike G. Morreale

Blue Jackets might be "sellers'' at deadline
02.15.2010 / 7:10 p.m. ET

Aaron Portzline of the The Columbus Dispatch reports that Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson will be a "seller" when the trade deadline rolls around next month.

The Jackets have three players on their roster scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 -- Fredrik Modin, Raffi Torres and Milan Jurcina. While Modin has a no-trade clause attached to his contract, wing Torres might be the most attractive rental for teams seeking that missing piece down the stretch.

Torres is sixth on the team in scoring with 30 points, including 19 goals, in 55 games. The 28-year-old Toronto native is in his eighth season -- second with the Blue Jackets. His 19 goals are the most since the 2005-06 campaign when he struck for 27 with the Edmonton Oilers.

--Mike G. Morreale

Desperately seeking Islanders
02.15.2010 / 11:15 a.m. ET

Now that Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren has admitted his intentions of keeping goalie Ray Emery sidelined three weeks to help promote the healing of his injured hip, the big question is do the Flyers have any intentions of providing Michael Leighton with any support?

There are reports that have the Flyers interested in Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson. According to Chris Botta of NYI Point Blank, the Flyers, Ottawa, Washington, Chicago and Colorado have expressed interest in the veteran Roloson. Despite the fact he's 40, Roloson has played a big part in the Isles turnaround this season -- he's 19-13-6 with a 2.86 GAA and .908 save percentage.

In addition to Roloson, Botta also reports that Isles defenseman Andy Sutton, an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has also drawn the attention of the Flyers, Devils, Penguins, Senators, Capitals, Blackhawks, Avalanche and Flames.

Sutton, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound shutdown blue liner, was signed by the Islanders as a free agent in August 2007. In 54 games this season, he's notched 4 goals, 12 points and 73 penalty minutes. Most impressive is the fact Sutton leads his team in hits (155) and blocked shots (153) and is also responsible for 21 takeaways. Sutton might just be the finest defensive rental on the market at this stage.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Florida's Vokoun off the market
02.08.2010 / 9:40 a.m. ET

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com has reported that Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun, who has one year remaining on his contract, has been pulled off the trade market -- for the time being.

The reason is simple: Vokoun (19-19-9), who owns a 2.34 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, has been the biggest reason the Panthers are in the hunt for their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance in nine seasons. Florida is currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with 57 points -- two behind eighth-seeded Philadelphia.

The 11th-season veteran, who'll be the starting goalie for the Czech Republic at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver later this month, has already notched a career-high 7 shutouts this season.

One reason Vokoun's name has surfaced in trade talks has been the recent play of the organization's biggest prospect, Jacob Markstrom, of Brynas, Sweden. Markstrom was drafted 31st overall in 2008.

Markstrom, 20, has been playing exceptionally well in the Elitserien (Swedish Elite League) since his arrival in February 2008. He's actually considered the best goalie in Sweden. Markstrom has started 34 games and leads Elitserien in all the major goaltending categories, including a goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.929). He also has four shutouts.

--Mike G. Morreale

'Canes deal Wallin to Sharks
02.08.2010 / 9:22 a.m. ET

The San Jose Sharks bolstered their defensive corps on Sunday with the acquisition of Carolina blue liner Niclas Wallin.

The Sharks also acquired a fifth-round pick in 2010 and sent a 2010 second-round selection, that previously belonged to Buffalo, to the Hurricanes.

"We thank Nic for his time in Carolina," said Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford. "He has been a key part of the Hurricanes for the past nine seasons, and we wish him and his family well."

The Hurricanes drafted Wallin as a 25-year-old in 2000, and he spent his entire nine-season NHL career with the Hurricanes. The Boden, Sweden, native ranks third among defensemen in franchise history with 517 regular-season games played, and second to only Glen Wesley (729) in that category since the team's relocation to North Carolina.

He's totaled 69 regular-season points (18 goals) to rank eighth all-time in scoring among defensemen in Carolina. He ranks second among all Hurricanes' players with 69 playoff games played, and scored three overtime game-winning goals while helping the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, the Stanley Cup championship in 2006 and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.

"We think he is the right combination of a playoff-hardened player and also has tremendous character," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. "We think he fits in and complements and enhances our team. The beauty is we didn't have to give up any player on our team to add a player like Niclas."

San Jose had been seeking a defenseman with experience as evidenced by the fact the club had been moving blue liners to and from its AHL affiliate in Worcester most of the season.

--Mike G. Morreale

Kovalchuk deal official
02.04.2010 / 8:30 p.m. ET

Ilya Kovalchuk is a New Jersey Devil.

The Atlanta Thrashers dealt their captain, an impending free agent, to the Devils on Thursday night for a package that includes defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, junior prospect Patrice Cormier and New Jersey's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Defenseman Anssi Salmela, traded by the Devils to the Thrashers last March for Niclas Havelid, will return to New Jersey as part of the deal. The teams will also flip second-round picks.

For NHL.com's full trade story, CLICK HERE.

Report: Kovalchuk a Devil
02.04.2010 / 8:23 p.m. ET

According to USA Today's Kevin Allen, Atlanta forward Ilya Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela have been traded to the Devils in exchange for defenseman Johnny Oduya, right wing Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and a 2010 first-round draft pick.

Additionally, the clubs will swap second-round picks in the 2010 Draft.

It appears Lou Lamoriello won the Kovy sweepstakes.

NHL.com will have full coverage of the trade tonight when either the Devils or the Thrashers make it official.

-- Dan Rosen and Mike Morreale

Kovalchuk on the move tonight?
02.04.2010 / 7:15 p.m. ET

According to USA Today hockey reporter Kevin Allen via Twitter, Ilya Kovalchuk could be traded as early as tonight and to an Eastern Conference team. TSN's Bob McKenzie concurred with Allen via Twitter.

The Eastern Conference teams rumored to be in the running for Kovalchuk are the Rangers, Devils, Bruins and Flyers. However, ESPN.com's Pierre Lebrun reported Wednesday night that the Bruins are not in it and CSNPhilly.com's Tim Pannacio said the Flyers are out as well. McKenzie also reported tonight that the Rangers and Bruins are out.

It's a lot of speculation, but if he is traded tonight, we'll know soon enough. Devils' fans might have a lot to talk about tonight.

-- Dan Rosen

Niclas Wallin headed to San Jose?

02.04.2010 / 8:50 a.m. ET

Injuries to Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic may have spurred San Jose GM Doug Wilson to jump into the trade market.

Various reports suggest that the League-leading Sharks are interested in Carolina defenseman Niclas Wallin from the Carolina Hurricanes, who have had a miserable season and are out of the playoff race in the East.

Wallin did not play last night against Calgary, held out of the lineup for unspecified reasons. The defenseman, who has 5 assists and a minus-5 rating in 47 games this season, would have to waive his no-trade clause to make the deal happen.

Who Carolina GM Jim Rutherford gets in return remains a mystery, but the venerable GM has publicly stated he wants young players or future draft picks.

Wallin, a fourth-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2000, is in his ninth season with the Hurricanes. He has 51 assists and 69 points in 517 career games.

Despite somewhat pedestrian numbers this season, Wallin is attractive because of his ability to play solidly in his own end, as well his rich postseason experience. Wallin has won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes and has made two other playoff runs of at least three rounds. He has just three postseason goals in 69 playoff games, but, ironically, each has come in overtime.

The injuries to both Boyle and Vlasic are not considered serious, but life without two top-four defensemen has illustrated that some depth may be in order.

Wilson departed this week on a scouting trip that will last until the NHL's Olympic roster freeze, which falls on Feb. 12. He admitted he will be taking in a number of junior and college games to scout both his own prospects, who may be used to make deals happen, and assets from potential trade partners

--Shawn P. Roarke

Report: Devils, Rangers in, Canucks out?
02.03.2010 / 11:05 p.m. ET 

LeBrun is reporting that Rick Dudley, Atlanta's associate GM, was at the Prudential Center on Wednesday scouting an AHL game between the Lowell Devils and Hartford Wolfpack, the New York Rangers' top affiliate.

He's also reporting that a Canucks source told ESPN.com that the Canucks don't consider themselves in the hunt any more.

-- Dan Rosen

Report: Flyers are out on Kovy and more speculation
02.03.2010 / 9:20 p.m. ET

According to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com, the Flyers are not in the running anymore. Team sources told Panaccio that the team fears signing Kovalchuk, who is can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, would "mortgage our future." Kovalchuk is reportedly seeking more than $10 million per season, and the Flyers don't appear willing to pay that.

A Bruins' source told LeBrun that the team is "not in it" because the price the Thrashers are asking for in return is too high, though he said another NHL source said the Bruins are still interested.

Thrashers GM Don Waddell did spend this past weekend in the Northeast, taking in games in Philadelphia and New Jersey, where the Kings were playing Sunday night. He was seen talking to Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, but NHL.com cannot confirm that he talked to Kings GM Dean Lombardi at Prudential Center on Sunday.

LeBrun is speculating that the Kings are the "most logical destination" for Kovalchuk. However, he also wrote that a Kings' source told him that they too believe the price is too high right now.

Again, this can all change within the hour, but it is well known that the Thrashers are looking for a player or two who can have an impact on their lineup this season as they try to stay in the playoff race despite trading their superstar. Atlanta is also likely seeking a high-end prospect and a high draft pick.

Finally, LeBrun is also reporting that the Thrashers offered Kovalchuk an eight-year contract worth $80 million, but Waddell had not heard back so he had to move to tell the interested teams to pony up their best offers for Kovalchuk.

-- Dan Rosen

Report: Take the Bruins out of Kovalchuk Sweepstakes
02.03.2010 / 9:05 p.m. ET

The latest from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun has sources telling him that the Boston Bruins are no longer in the running for Ilya Kovalchuk's services and the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils are only monitoring the situation.

That would leave the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers as the two most likely suitors for Kovalchuk as of right now, but this story is seemingly changing by the minute.

-- Dan Rosen

Kovalchuk update

02.03.2010 / 6:55 p.m. ET

You can apparently add the New Jersey Devils into the mix in the Ilya Kovalchuk Derby.

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings are still in the hunt for Atlanta's star forward. However, LeBrun also says the Kings may be more interested in a deal for Carolina forward Ray Whitney, who wouldn't cost nearly as much. However, Whitney has a no-trade clause and reportedly wants a three-year extension that the Kings don't want to offer.

LeBrun cites "sources close to the situation" saying the deal could happen "by the weekend." stay tuned.

--John Kreiser

Reports: Kovalchuk could be traded tonight
 
According to various reports out of Canada, including TSN and RDS, Thrashers captain Ilya Kovalchuk was told by GM Don Waddell that he should expect a trade either within the next few hours or the next few days.

The Kings, Bruins, Rangers, Flyers and Blackhawks are reportedly interested.

Kovalchuk is the Thrashers all-time leader in games, points, goals and assists. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Kovalchuk spoke to Chris Vivlamore at the Atlanta Journal Constitution earlier today and had these comments:

"I'm the player and my job is to go on the ice and play hard. We are all professionals. I've worked here for eight years and hopefully I will stay but you know it's a business and you never know what's going to happen."

"You don't want to be a distraction. We are in a playoff race and we are only one point from the playoffs."

"That's why we have agents. They talk to management. Hopefully, we are going to figure something out."

-- Dan Rosen

Shipping out of Boston?
02.03.2010 / 1:43 p.m. ET

A report on TSN.ca today has Boston Bruins wing Michael Ryder, 29, on the trade block.

Ryder, who has 12 goals and 20 points in 54 games this season, signed a three-year contract with the team in 2008. At the time of the signing, it was thought the reason he signed with the Bruins was the fact he had nearly six seasons worth of play (three in junior hockey, one in the AHL and two with the Canadiens) under current Bruins coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins, who finished as the top seed in the East last season, currently sit 12th in the Conference with 55 points.

Ryder was drafted in the eighth round (216th overall) by the Canadiens in 1998. He's produced 138 goals and 280 points in 442 career games, which includes four seasons in Montreal.

--Mike G. Morreale

Expect to see Kovalchuk on the move soon
02.03.2010 / 10:41 a.m. ET

Don't be surprised if Thrashers captain Ilya Kovalchuk is traded soon, and by that we mean before the Olympics. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Tuesday in his blog that trade talks have heated up in the last few days.

Also Tuesday, John Kincade of 680 the Fan in Atlanta, the Thrashers' flagship radio station, reported the club had offered Kovalchuk the largest contract in franchise history, but it was turned down.

It is believed that the Kings, Rangers, Flyers and Bruins are high on the list of suitors for the Russian sniper who is Atlanta's all-time leader in games, points, goals and assists. The Blackhawks are reportedly interested as well.

Kovalchuk reportedly ducked the media after Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay, dressing and leaving the locker room before it was opened to the press. Thrashers coach John Anderson had this to say about the swirling trade rumors:

"Quite honestly, Don (Waddell) and Kovalchuk have kept the negotiations behind closed doors. Kovalchuk comes out and plays every day. All of the stuff bothers him a little, but he's a professional and is playing hard for the Atlanta Thrashers right now."

When he was in New Jersey on Sunday, Atlanta GM Don Waddell told NHL.com that he wasn't doing any more interviews about Kovalchuk's status. He apparently reiterated that to Vivlamore, who wrote that Waddell did tell him that he hasn't had any contract negotiations with Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, in over a week.

CORRECTION: The NHL roster freeze goes into effect at 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 12 and doesn't end until 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 28. The trade deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 3.

-- Dan Rosen

Kovalchuk -- A Flyer?

02.02.2010 / 10:55 a.m. ET

At last count, there were five teams in the mix for Atlanta Thrashers captain Ilya Kovalchuk -- the Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks, Kings and Flyers.

Of course, if Atlanta GM Don Waddell has his way, the Thrashers captain will remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. Still, options must be kept open.

Waddell actually had discussions with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren at last week's game in Philadelphia. The Atlanta GM has been scouting several teams, in fact, including the Flyers on Jan. 28 and the Kings on Jan. 31 in New Jersey. Waddell and Holmgren, by the way, are both a part of Team USA's Olympic management group.

"Find one winger, one defenseman that adds up to what Kovalchuk makes and the Flyers could do this deal," one NHL executive said. Holmgren preferred not to comment on his discussions with Atlanta. Keep in mind center Jeff Carter is one of very few Flyers forwards who doesn't have a no-trade clause within his contract but it's assumed Carter isn't going anywhere.

"Doesn't do anyone any good and it should be confidential," Holmgren said.

--Mike G. Morreale

Torres to be moved?
02.02.2010 / 10:15 a.m. ET

Columbus forward Raffi Torres is on the block, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. Portzline says that Blue jackets are looking for draft picks or prospects in return.

Torres, 28, has 16 goals this season in 53 games. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
According to the report the team and player have not discussed a contract extension.

"I want to stay here and play hockey here," Torres told Portzline. "I'm very happy here in Columbus. To be honest, I have to stop thinking about (a contract extension) and just worry about what's happening on the ice. I don't feel like I've been playing my best hockey for the last couple of weeks or so."

Torres may want to stay, but it will be hard to make that happen. He is making clolse to $3 million this year, but is playing just 13-plus minutes a game in mostly lower-line duty. There is doubt that the Blue Jackets want to take such a hefty cap hit for a player they use in the second half of their forward rotation.

Therefore, GM Scott Howson might want to offload Torres before he reaches free agency. And, with his club hanging on the fringes of a tough Western Conference race -- Blue Jackets were nine points out with 25 games remaining -- that option will come More and more appealing as the trade deadline approaches.

"Raffi has played very well for us," general manager Scott Howson told Portzline. "He has scored some really timely goals for us, he's pretty versatile and he's so very competitive."

--Shawn P. Roarke

Flames-Rangers deal answers and raises questions
02.02.2010 / 9:18 a.m. ET

The long-awaited deal that sent Olli Jokinen, as well as Brandon Prust, to New York for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins was completed early this morning.

Our man Brian Compton had all the details as soon as they broke and you can read the details here.

The deal raises almost as many questions as it answers, though.

Are the Flames done dealing?

That is the biggest question. The Flames took on two more forwards in this deal after taking three from the Maple Leafs on Sunday in the Dion Phaneuf deal. But, none of the forwards arriving is a natural center and that is certainly a position of weakness for the Flames at the moment.

So, will Darryl Sutter use his glut of NHL-caliber wings to make at least one more deal before the March 3 deadline? It would seem to be the case, but the Flames are playing things close to the vest.

Will Olli Jokinen thrive in New York City?

He certainly didn't play to his potential in Calgary after being dealt for near the trade deadline last season. Jokinen had flashes of brilliance, but could not parlay a plum assignment as the No. 1 center for elite forward Jarome Iginla into headlining duty.

Now, he is being asked to be the set-up man for Marian Gaborik, who already has more than 30 goals and may play a style more compatible to Jokinen's game.

Another question is what does the acquisition of Prust mean for the tougher players currently on the Ranger roster?

Aaron Voros was making some inroads after being a healthy scratch for much of the season. Brashear has not had the desired impact since being signed to a free-agent deal this summer and dressed for just seven games in the month of January.

Prust, meanwhile, was making a name for himself in Calgary with his willingness to take on all comers in a bid to establish himself as a full-time player.

All of those questions and more will be answered in the course of the next month, but it seems entirely possible that neither the Flames nor the Rangers has finished with its roster re-making business.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Flames-Rangers finally deal
02.02.2010 / 8:30 a.m. ET

The Calgary Flames put the finishing touches on their second trade in three days in the wake of their 10th loss in 11 games late Monday night when they shipped forwards Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers for forwards Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins.

The big question, however, was what took so long?

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Kotalik had a three-team no-trade clause and, as fate would have it, one of those teams happened to be the Flames.

The trade was made official shortly after the Flames were defeated by the Flyers, 3-0, at the Saddledome on Monday. News of the deal was made public on Sunday by TSN.

Jokinen, 31, has skated in 56 games for Calgary this season, tallying 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points, along with 53 penalty minutes and a plus-two rating. He is tied for third in the NHL with five shootout tallies, including one game deciding goal. He ranks second on the team in assists (24), third in points (35) and is tied for third in goals (11). Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings with the third overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Jokinen has eclipsed the 30-goal mark four times in his career, most recently in 2007-08 when he recorded 34, including 18 power play goals which ranked third in the NHL.

Jokinen will represent Finland at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada and will be making his third Olympic appearance (2002, 2006, 2010). He helped lead Finland to the Silver Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, tying for the tournament lead with 6 goals and ranking sixth with 8 points in eight games. In addition, Jokinen was a member of the Silver Medal-winning Team Finland at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

He was dealt to Calgary by Phoenix at the 2009 trade deadline in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Prust and a conditional first-round pick. The Rangers are the sixth team Jokinen will have played for in his 11 seasons.

Prust, 25, has skated in 43 games with Calgary, registering one goal and four assists, along with 98 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. His 98 penalty minutes lead the team, while his plus-six rating ranks second. The 5-11, 195-pounder ranks second in the NHL in fighting majors with 18.

Higgins has skated in 55 games this season, registering six goals and eight assists for 14 points, along with 32 penalty minutes. He was acquired from Montreal along with Ryan McDonagh, Doug Janik and Pavel Valentenko, in exchange for Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto on June 30, 2009.

Kotalik has appeared in 45 games this season, recording eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points, along with 38 penalty minutes and a minus-18 rating. He signed with New York as an unrestricted free agent on July 9, 2009.

--Mike G. Morreale

New look in Calgary
02.01.2010 / 2:25 PM ET

With three new forwards coming over from the Leafs following Sunday's trade, Flames coach Brent Sutter did some line juggling this morning at practice. Matt Stajan, who just came over from the Leafs, will center the top line, with captain Jarome Iginla on the right, and Dustin Boyd on the left.

"It was good to get out there," Stajan told the Flames' Web site following the morning skate. "It was a little different wearing red but it was good to get out there because there are some nerves and things, which is only natural."

Daymond Langkow will center the second line, flanked by Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross. The third line will be centered by Olli Jokinen -- despite rumors of him being traded to the New York Rangers -- with newcomer Niklas Hagman on the left and Jamie Lundmark on the right. Brandon Prust will center the fourth line, with Eric Nystrom on the left and newly-acquired Jamal Mayers on the right.

On defense, Ian White will take Dion Phaneuf's place next to Robyn Regehr. Other pairings include Cory Sarich and Jay Bouwmeester, and Adam Pardy and Mark Giordano.

-- Adam Kimelman

Giguere to start; Phaneuf with Beauchemin?
02.01.2010 / 1:55 PM ET

Following practice Monday, Leafs coach Ron Wilson appointed newly-acquired goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere the starter for the remainder of the season, starting with tomorrow's game against New Jersey.

"He'll get the majority of starts the rest of the way," Wilson told reporters.

The other marquee arrival, defenseman Dion Phaneuf, also was on the ice yesterday, wearing the same No. 3 he wore in Calgary -- and the same No. 3 that until this morning belonged to Garnet Exelby. Exelby was sporting Ian White's old No. 7.

"We'll have to talk about that," Phaneuf said of giving Exelby a reward for giving up No. 3. "I may have to get him something."

Phaneuf was partnered at practice with Francois Beauchemin. Other pairings had Luke Schenn with Exelby, and Tomas Kaberle with Carl Gunnarsson.

Fredrik Sjostrom, who came over from the Flames with Phaneuf, was at right wing on a line centered by Rickard Wallin, with Nikolai Kulemin on the left side. Tyler Bozak centered the top line, with Alexei Ponikarovsky on the left and Phil Kessel on the right. Wayne Primeau centered a line with Jay Rosehill on the left side and Colton Orr on the right, and another line saw John Mitchell at center, with Lee Stempniak on the right wing. Jeff Finger skated on the left side, but the Toronto Sun reported that spot could be filled by AHL call-up Christian Hanson before tomorrow's game.

-- Adam Kimelman

Thrashers GM at Devils-Kings game
02.01.2010 / 1:47 PM ET

Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell is in New Jersey tonight taking in the Devils game against Los Angeles from the Prudential Center's press box. The Kings are reportedly high on the list of teams trying to acquire Thrashers' captain Ilya Kovalchuk prior to the March 3 trade deadline.

Waddell told NHL.com that he did not want to do an interview if it centered on Kovalchuk, but did say that he is still trying to sign the Russian sniper who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Waddell added that he is aware of the kind of speculation his presence at this game will cause, but he stressed that he's at this game tonight to scout the two teams, something he rarely gets a chance to do when he's watching his own team play.

The Thrashers played in Philadelphia on Thursday and instead of going with the team to Nashville for Saturday's game, Waddell stayed behind to catch some other games in the area.

"When you are watching your own team play, you never get to scout the other team," Waddell told NHL.com.

It is interesting that it just happens to be the Kings in New Jersey tonight and L.A. GM Dean Lombardi is in the building as well.

--Dan Rosen

An early start
02.01.2010 / 1:30 PM ET

NHL.com planned to launch this blog on Feb. 3, but you know what they say about best-laid plans and all that. So, welcome to the NHL.com Trade Deadline blog, which will cover all the wheelings and dealings from across the NHL landscape right past the March 3 Deadline.

The blog launches early because Toronto GM Brian Burke was kind enough to start this season's activity with a pair of blockbusters Sunday -- trading for Dion Phaneuf as part of a seven-player deal with Calgary in the morning and then acquiring goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake.

Those moves certainly got everyone's attention and kicked the trade market into overdrive, where it will likely remain until the Olympic Break trade freeze, which begins Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. ET and runs until Feb. 28, the last day of the Olympics. After the freeze, teams will have what should be a wild 63 hours to finish remaking rosters before the close of business at 3 p.m. March 3.

Stay right here from now until March 3 to get the low down on all the news regarding one of the most exciting periods of the NHL season.

--Shawn P. Roarke

I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday