CHICAGO: GM Stan Bowman has not been bashful about his desire to add a defenseman before the trade deadline. It appears the market for players at that position has shaken free with the deals by Philadelphia for Nicklas Grossman and Nashville for Hal Gill.
Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald writes about Bowman's search, and what options may still be available.
"It's believed the Hawks were interested in both Gill and Grossman, as well as Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin and Carolina's Tim Gleason, both of whom went off the market after signing contract extensions," Sassone writes. "Hawks general manager Stan Bowman remains focused on adding at least one defenseman before the deadline and there is heavy speculation around the league that Tampa Bay's Pavel Kubina is a prime target.
"Kubina is not the only defenseman available. There's also Chris Campoli in Montreal, Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek in Carolina, Jeff Schultz in Washington, Mark Eaton with the Islanders and possibly Luke Schenn in Toronto."
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Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reported that Dallas wanted prospect Brandon Saad in return for Grossman, but Bowman declined. The Blackhawks have a strong collection of prospects and young players who have seen stints with the big club this season, but Saad is probably one of their top two or three at this point. Expect to see plenty more written about Bowman's quest until he finds a match.
DETROIT: Count the Red Wings as another team interested in Kubina. Ansar Khan of MLive.com reported the Red Wings have made an offer to the Lightning for the pending UFA defenseman – even before Kubina has submitted his list to Yzerman about teams he'd be willing to move to
"Kubina is big and strong (6-foot-4, 258) and has a booming shot from the point," Khan writes. "He shoots right-handed and would be slotted onto the Red Wings' third pairing and second power-play unit. Defenseman Ian White and forward Jan Mursak are Detroit's only right-handed shooters."
Like the Blackhawks, the Wings have a strong set of prospects. Their top five or six impact guys are probably a little better, but the Hawks' list of potentially solid NHL players is deeper. There are probably going to be other teams bidding on Kubina as well – and that list will play the ultimate role in shaping who Yzerman barters with.
NEW JERSEY: No word yet if the Devils might be a team interested in Kubina (or vice versa), but they are definitely a team in the market for some help on the back end.
"The Devils' obvious need for more than two years has been puck-moving skill on defense," Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record writes. "Winning the draft lottery last year allowed them to pick defenseman Adam Larsson, who will help in that area for many years to come, but right now he's still a 19-year-old rookie and sidelined with a bone bruise in his lower back.
"With defenseman Henrik Tallinder also out for at least another two weeks because of a blood clot in his left leg, it's no secret the Devils would like to add help on defense."
The obvious target to this point has been Minnesota's Marek Zidlicky. His agent confirmed a report that he would waive his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey, but both Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher and Zidlicky himself have denied it.
Gulitti points out the Devils have an extra second-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft from the deal that sent Jason Arnott to Washington last year at this time. That does appear to be the main currency in play at this point, though Zidlicky is not a pending UFA like Gill and Grossman so he could cost a little more to acquire.
PITTSBURGH: Penguins GM Ray Shero is typically one of the most active guys at the trade deadline, and no manager has a better track record around this time of year than Shero since he came to Pittsburgh. What he may or may not do at this point is clouded by the status of captain Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins don't have a lot of cap space if Crosby is going to be able to return before the end of the season. Whether or not that can happen is still not known though.
"If the Penguins knew Crosby was going to be out at least until the end of the regular season, then, as long as he remained on long-term injured reserve, they could exceed the salary cap and use some of his $8.7 million cap hit to acquire one or more players," writes Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Perhaps they could add a scoring winger or a physical, shutdown defenseman."
Crosby skated with the team Friday, but he still has post-concussion symptoms. Last year the Penguins were also without Evgeni Malkin, so Shero used the LTI relief to add Alex Kovalev and also swung a deal for James Neal, which has proven to be quite beneficial this season. Shero is going to have a decision to make at some point in the next week or so about whether or not he can pursue any additions or not, although he may not have any more information on Crosby.
TAMPA BAY: The Lightning asked Kubina for his list of teams that he would accept a deal to Thursday, but Yzerman is still waiting for it. If he doesn't provide it within seven days, Tampa Bay is free to trade him anywhere.
Kubina's agent, Petr Svoboda, told Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, that the list will be in Yzerman's hands soon.
"Of course," Svoboda said to Cristodero. "Kuby is always a gentleman, so I don't think it's going to take seven days. ... We're going to go through some stuff (Saturday) and we're going to come to some conclusions."