COLUMBUS: Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is a popular figure among his peers these days. There aren't many teams that can definitely be considered "sellers," but the last-pace Blue Jackets are and Howson has the two biggest names reported to be on the market in captain Rick Nash and Jeff Carter.
Howson has been proactive, traveling to the east coast to meet with fellow GMs about prospective deals. He has reportedly met with Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren and Toronto's Brian Burke, and given the reported negotiations with New York's Glen Sather, it is likely they met during his time in Manhattan as well.
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"Not enough, because we haven't done a deal," Howson said to Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch.
Nash is the marquee name, but there are other players Howson could potentially move in the next seven days as well. He hasn't made a move yet, but expect Howson to be active at some point between now and next Monday.
"As you get closer to the deadline, you start to have more certainty about what teams are thinking and you start to be able to define things with more clarity," Howson told Mitchell.
N.Y. RANGERS: Nash and the Blue Jackets were in town to play the Rangers on Sunday, and New York remains one of the teams in pursuit of the Columbus captain. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported the price for Nash might be a little higher than previously reported.
"Columbus' asking price [is] believed to be Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, Boston College winger Chris Kreider and either a first-round pick or another of the Rangers' top prospects," Brooks writes. "McDonagh and Del Zotto are untouchables on the NHL roster, and Kreider is regarded as a can't-miss prospect with a ceiling as high as those in an apartment in a Manhattan pre-war building.
"It is unknown whether Sather has made a counter-proposal."
Brooks had originally reported the talks between Howson and Sather had started with Dubinsky, Krieder and a first-round pick. Nash is almost certainly worth more than that, and the new price seems more in line with what one of the top players in the League could command -- especially since Nash has six more years left on his contract.
PHOENIX: For the third straight season, the Coyotes are fighting for a playoff spot when preseason prognosticators did not expect it. Will Don Maloney be among the GMs that makes a move to bolster his team's chances?
"I like the group, I like the mix, I like our chemistry," Maloney said to Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic. "We'll still work very hard to see, 'Can we make it a little better?' But we're not looking to take anything off our roster. I just think we're in a good place where players know their roles, know what to expect and if we do this and stay healthy, then we're a playoff team."
Last season the Coyotes added defenseman Rostislav Klesla from Columbus near the deadline, but Maloney sent forward Scottie Upshall the other way in the deal. Two years ago Maloney was really active, adding Wojtek Wolski, Lee Stempniak and Mathieu Schneider on deadline day alone.
Maloney hasn't made a move yet, but don't count the Coyotes out of the teams that could be involved in the next week.
"It's a different marketplace now," Maloney told Gintonio. "There's probably three sellers, that might change; all you have to do is look at the standings. The last two days there's been a shift in two or three teams in the discussions I'm having, so I do believe as we go into next week, more players will be available."