BUFFALO: With the Sabres No. 14 in the Eastern Conference, Buffalo News writer Mike Harrington sees three options for GM Darcy Regier.
First are players heading toward free agency, among them forwards Brad Boyes and Paul Gaustad. He writes the Red Wings appear to have some interest in Gaustad, a big center, who has six goals and nine assists in 49 games, but has scored 12 goals in each of the past three seasons, so he knows how to put the puck in the net. He's also won 55.6 percent of his faceoffs, and his $2.3 million cap hit is manageable.
The second option are players who will be in the final seasons of their deal next season, a list that includes center Derek Roy and defensemen Robyn Regeher and Jordan Leopold.
And then there are players on multi-year deals who might get moved, among them forward Drew Stafford, who has three seasons and $12 million left on his deal, and defenseman Andrej Sekera, who has three seasons at $2.75 million per season remaining on his deal. Harrington writes Edmonton, could be interested in Stafford, whose uncle was a long-time equipment manager for the team.
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Carter was acquired during the summer from the Philadelphia Flyers with the hope the perennial 30-goal scorer could give team captain Rick Nash the top center he's never enjoyed. Instead, Carter has been injury prone and unproductive, totaling just 12 goals and eight assists in 35 games.
Portzline estimates five or six teams could be interested in Carter, among them the Kings, Flames and, possibly, the Maple Leafs. He writes that if the Jackets were to make a deal with the Kings, part of the return package likely would be goaltender Jonathan Bernier. If Carter were to go to the Flames, the return could be defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
Also, goalie Curtis Sanford, who has played well when healthy, could be on the move if the Jackets get the right offer. Portzline writes the team would like to re-sign Sanford, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but that likely won't happen until after the deadline, as Portzline believes having an obligation beyond this season would be a turn-off for interested teams.
EDMONTON: While the Oilers' signing of Andy Sutton might have removed one player from the trade market, there remain at least two others on the Edmonton roster who could be prime shopping targets.
One is forward Ales Hemsky, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, and according to the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, is looking for a new deal to run four or five years at $4 million to $5 million per season. Matheson reports the Oilers might be willing to go one or two years at that dollar figure, but with young offensive talent like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rapidly developing, the team might not want to lock themselves into a long-term deal.
Matheson writes the Nashville Predators could be a team looking at Hemsky, with rookie defenseman Jonathon Blum, a 2007 first-round pick, going to the Oilers.
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