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Deadline Diner: Final frenzy before deadline begins

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 10:53 AM / 2012 Trade Deadline

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Deadline Diner: Final frenzy before deadline begins
We are now less than 30 hours away from the NHL's Trade Deadline, and hockey's swapping season could get crazy in the next day.
We are now less than 30 hours away from the NHL's Trade Deadline, and hockey's swapping season could get crazy in the next day. Here at NHL.com, we will bring you a daily roundup of reported rumors about who might be available and which teams might be looking to make a move for your lunchtime consumption in Deadline Diner.

VANCOUVER: The Canucks have been strangely quiet heading into the deadline, but that may all change as the action hurdles to the finish line Monday afternoon.

According to Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province, Vancouver could be one of several teams going big in the Steve Ott sweepstakes.

Ott, the 29-year-old Dallas Star forward, will be one of the most coveted assets if he is put on the market by the Stars, who are firmly in the Western Conference race, but may decide to sell and build assets for a shot at further stabilizing the franchise for a run at long-term success.

Ott has above average skill and a mean streak to go along with his playmaking ability. He is good in the faceoff circle (winning 57.3 percent of his draws), loves to hit and has no qualms with trying to intimidate an opponent.

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In essence, says Kuzma, Ott is the perfect player for a team looking to make a deep run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kuzma argues Ott, who has two more seasons left on his deal ($2.95 million per), would be an ideal third-liner for a team that could use a bit of grit to go along with its flash.

The fact that the Canucks have put Keith Ballard on LTI with a neck injury -- freeing up $4.2 million in cap room -- has only intensified the belief that Vancouver is going to make a move by Monday afternoon.

And, if it is not Vancouver, Ott knows another team might make a deal for his services by Monday.

"The rumblings are out there." Ott said. "Obviously, if playoff teams are calling and want me to be a piece of their puzzle, that's a pretty high compliment. I take the confidence from it. We're making it hard on our management in the way of trades and hopefully we're buyers instead of sellers. It's nerve-racking when you have people texting you and calling you.

"I honestly don't know what's going to go on and I can only control what I can control and that's how I've approached it. I've been mentioned in different things. I wanted to keep it professional."

NASHVILLE: Here's an interesting take on the Rick Nash sweepstakes.

David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper says several sources have confirmed that Nashville has entered into the dialogue about prying Nash, an elite power forward and the biggest name on the market, away from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Boclair admits that Nashville may not be the favorite in the sweepstakes, which includes the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks -- the team Nashville beat Saturday night -- at the forefront.

But, past history, says Boclair, suggests that David Poile is not afraid to make a big deal and surrender some major assets in the process. Peter Forsberg anyone?

"The Predators have made an offer of their own for the 27-year-old power forward, multiple sources have confirmed," Boclair wrote for Sunday's edition. "While it seems unlikely the Blue Jackets would want to deal their best player to a division opponent that regularly whips up on them, the attempt to get Nash speaks to Poile's attempts to satisfy his top players' desire for more elite talent and to strengthen the team's chances to make a significant playoff run.

"Reports on Saturday indicated that Columbus' asking price for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft who is signed through the 2017-18 season is understandably high as Monday afternoon's trade deadline approaches.

"The most Nashville has given up at one time was two young first-round draft picks, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, as well as a future first and a third-round pick for Peter Forsberg, a rental player late in 2006-07. Using that deal as a template, Nashville's offer for Nash could include the likes of Colin Wilson (Nash would take his spot in the lineup), Ryan Ellis or Jonathon Blum and multiple other picks and/or prospects."

If Boclair's contentions are on the mark, that certainly throws a wrinkle into the Nash sweepstakes

TAMPA BAY: While some teams search for immediate goaltending help (can you say Toronto and Ottawa?), it is the search for a future No. 1 that could help shape Monday's market.

St. Louis minor-league goalie Ben Bishop could be in huge demand Monday despite making just 11 NHL appearances in which he has logged 30 minutes or more.

Bishop, 25, is considered to be the best goalie in the American Hockey League, playing for St. Louis' affiliate in Peoria. This season, he is 24-14-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average, a .928 save percentage and six shutouts. His NHL resume is much less impressive, however.

Ben Bishop
Goalie - STL
Record: -
GAA: - | Sv%: -
But, that hasn't stopped teams from showing intense interest in the 6-foot-7 goalie, who is stuck behind Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott on the Blues' depth chart.

Teams look at Bishop's AHL success and his age and see a potential franchise goalie.

According to Damian Christodero of the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay is one such team.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has been stocking up on draft picks with his earlier trades this month and now has two first-round picks and at least three -- if not four -- second-round picks at his disposal.

"The sticking point is the unknown. The Lightning -- or for that matter, any team looking for a No. 1 goalie -- really doesn't know what it would get with Bishop," says Christodero. "The numbers are there, but they are minor-league numbers. In brief stints with St. Louis, Bishop has been ordinary, going 4-5-1 with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage."

Another sticking point is that another team may drive the price up to an uncomfortable level. Word began leaking Sunday that Ottawa was in on Bishop, looking for cover for injured goalie Craig Anderson, who is out with a cut hand. Alex Auld, who has played sparingly this season, was not sharp Saturday against Boston.

CALGARY: Flames GM Jay Feaster may still deliver on his threat/promise to shake up his team at the deadline -- especially after Saturday's come-from-ahead loss at home to Philadelphia.

But, Olli Jokinen doesn't need to worry about packing an emergency suitcase.

Reports came out of Calgary Saturday that Jokinen was not asked to waive his no-trade clause and, as a result, he will stay with the Flames for the rest of the season -- and perhaps beyond.

An unrestricted free agent this summer, Jokinen has made it clear that he wants to stay with the Flames and sign a contract extension.

Feaster, meanwhile, made an appearance on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night and said he hopes to sign Jokinen to an extension and doesn't see many issues on that horizon.

What the GM decides to do with the rest of his team, however, will go a long way in shaping the trade activity during the 30 or so hours preceding the closing of the trading window aT 3 p.m. ET Monday.

With the standings point last night for a shootout loss, Calgary is just one point out of a playoff spot with 67 points. The problem, however, is that the Flames must climb past three teams at 68 points. They are four points behind seventh place San Jose, which is in the middle of some struggles at the moment and sliding down the standings.

Clearly, the chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs is alive and well in Calgary, but at what cost? Those are the questions Feaster needs to find answers for in the next day or so.
Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley