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Deadline Diner: Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Ottawa, Vancouver

by Corey Masisak / Vancouver Canucks

The calendar has flipped to February, meaning it is trade deadline month in the NHL.

There were a couple of interesting trades in January, but hockey's swap meet is likely to pick up in the coming days as the 3 p.m. deadline on Feb. 27 approaches. Here at, we will bring you a daily roundup of reported rumors about which players might be available and which teams might be looking to make a move, as well as analysis of moves that have been made in the past 24 hours. We call it our Deadline Diner and it will appear every day between noon and 2 p.m. ET, the perfect destination for your lunch hour.

CAROLINA: The Hurricanes signed one of the top potential trade targets, defenseman Tim Gleason, to a four-year contract so he is not likely to be on the move this month. Forward Tuomo Ruutu is also scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and TSN's Darren Dreger reported he could be dealt to a contending team.

Tuomo Ruutu
Tuomo Ruutu
Centre - CAR
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 26
SOG: 111 | +/-: -3
"I've heard rumors I'm going to every team in the NHL," Ruutu said to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer. "I must be really playing well. You hear rumors but I think everybody is different. We're all human. Some guys take it more seriously, some take it less seriously. Everybody has their own way of dealing with it. I hear about stuff but there's nothing I can really do, so ... It's nice to be back playing so I don't have to think about this stuff."

Ruutu leads the Hurricanes in goals, and seems like the typed of skilled, versatile player with a bit of a physical edge that several contending teams would covet. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford already dealt Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Devils and he is likely to make more moves to help re-tool his roster. It likely won't be a fire sale, (signing Gleason shows Rutherford doesn't his franchise needs a drastic rebuild), but someone like Ruutu or defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen could be available.

COLUMBUS: Like the Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets are in last place in their conference. Columbus is also similar to Carolina because there aren't a lot of unrestricted free agents that teams are coveting. Part of the problem is injuries – Kristian Huselius and Radek Martinek -- have been hurt for most of the season. Expect to see Vinny Prospal and Curtis Sanford discussed in future rumor roundups, but the Blue Jackets trade target of the day is center Jeff Carter.

Jeff Carter
Centre - CBJ
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 17
SOG: 95 | +/-: -9
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported that multiple sources have told him Carter will be available despite just joining the Blue Jackets this summer. Carter has 10 goals and 17 points in 30 games, and is currently sidelined by a shoulder injury.

"There's not much I can do about that," Carter said to Portzline. "That's something I can't worry about or control. My main focus right now is just getting healthy and getting back into the lineup. There's talk about a lot of guys [in here] right now. Our team, with the way the season has gone - the injuries, the standings, and stuff - I don't think it should come as a surprise to anybody on our team if they end up [in rumors]."

Carter told Portzline he has not requested a trade. His cap hit of $5.27 million is reasonable for a player with three straight 30-goal seasons on his resume, but the term (10 more seasons after this one) could make it difficult to move Carter.

DALLAS: The Stars are in contention for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, and for the first time in a couple of trade deadlines, have stability in the owner's box. New owner Tom Gaglardi told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News he is eager to help his franchise return to the postseason after a painful near-miss in 2011, but he also preached patience.

Alex Goligoski
Defence - DAL
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 16
SOG: 71 | +/-: -5
"I definitely understand what the fans are going through. I do the same thing myself in watching all of the trades and seeing who might be out there," Gaglardi said to Heika. "But at the same time, we've all talked, and we're all on the same page as an organization, that we want to do this the right way. We want to be good for years to come."

Heika said Gaglardi did not make to compare his team's situation to other teams around the League, but Heika pointed out the problems in Columbus and Buffalo as what the new owner wants to avoid. There are more options available for the Stars than in previous deadlines, but the team still wants to be prudent.

GM Joe Nieuwendyk pulled off a huge deal last season, swapping forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen for defenseman Alex Goligoski. He won't have the same financial restrictions, but he echoed Gaglardi's stance.

"I definitely think you have to be smart, and we feel we have been," Nieuwendyk said. "We have looked for younger players [in trades], and have tried to look at things long term, and I don't think that's going to change."

Kyle Turris
Centre - OTT
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 16
SOG: 45 | +/-: 11
OTTAWA: The Senators have surprised everyone by settling into a spot in the top six of the Eastern Conference this season. What was supposed to be a rebuilding year now must be looked at in a different light. GM Bryan Murray has to decide whether or not to continue with the same plan he had laid out when trading away veteran players last year, or if the team's success means he should look to add to his roster in the coming weeks.

"You inquire with several teams about what they might be looking for or doing, but nothing in any detail," Murray told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. "Any team in our spot has needs. If there's an upgrade available in a couple of spots, we would really look at it. But I do like the energy our team has and the chemistry our team has."

Don't expect Murray to make a big splash, unless it is a move similar to his addition of Kyle Turris, but do expect the GM to be on the lookout for a veteran rental or two that won't cost any serious long-term assets.

VANCOUVER: The Canucks have one of the best goalies in the League in Roberto Luongo. They also have one of the best backup goaltenders in the NHL – maybe the best. Cory Schneider's name has been floated as a trade target for other teams for multiple seasons now.

Cory Schneider
Goalie - VAN
RECORD: 11-5-0
GAA: 2.28 | SVP: 0.928
As Ed Willes wrote in the Vancouver Province, the day when the Canucks may have to part with Schneider could be coming soon, but it would take a huge offer to pry him away in the next month. Schneider is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and his play the past two seasons will likely earn him a sizable raise from the $900,000 he's making right now.

"Schneider's value, meanwhile, only seems to be rising with each outing. Given Luongo's uneven history in the playoffs, it would take an oh-my-god offer to pry the Boston College product loose from the Canucks before this season's trade deadline," writes Willes. "But, at some point, in the near future, the organization is going to have to make a decision on the young man from Marblehead and the aftershocks of that move will be felt for a long time, both in Vancouver and wherever Schneider lands."

Vancouver has no glaring needs at this point, but the Canucks also have a viable candidate to backup Luongo in the minors in 24-year-old Eddie Lack. Should a major need arise because of injury, GM Mike Gillis has a huge trading chip in Schneider that he could put into play.
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