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Morning Musings: Feb. 27

by Dan Rosen
It's the morning before the big deadline day and there are several interesting reports/columns out there in the hockey world mentioning plenty of teams that could be busy between now and 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

Let's start in Buffalo, where new owner Terry Pegula could be interested in making a big splash, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. He linked the names Brad Richards and Paul Stastny to the Sabres, who are 2-0-1 since Pegula officially became the team's owner early last week. Buffalo is two points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Nobody from Colorado has said that Stastny is definitely in play, but after making the playoffs last season and taking a step back this season it wouldn't be totally ridiculous to think that GM Greg Sherman is thinking about taking the team in a new direction. He has already traded Chris Stewart for Erik Johnson and Craig Anderson is now in Ottawa. Stastny doesn't seem likely to move, but we've seen stranger things.

Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk hasn't denied that Richards is in play, but there is a conundrum there that he has to deal with.

With back to back wins over Detroit and Nashville the Stars are now seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the ninth place Blackhawks. Richards (concussion-like symptoms) hasn't played since Feb. 13 and Dallas doesn't play again until Tuesday, when it starts a four-game road trip in Phoenix.

His value remains high despite the uncertainty surrounding his symptoms and we've seen reports saying the Rangers and Kings could be interested as well. Teams will want some certainty that Richards, a pending UFA, will be able to return soon, before they make a play for him. But, with that same certainty Nieuwendyk may choose to keep him for a possible playoff run.

It's silly to say that a GM has to make a move at the deadline, but the Kings' Dean Lombardi could be thinking that way. His team has forgotten about its dreadful 2-10 stretch from Dec. 23-Jan. 20 and has won 11 of its last 15 games to pull into fifth place in the Western Conference. Of course, they're only four points away from 10th, so Lombardi might feel compelled to do something before Monday's deadline to make sure that the team is situated well for the stretch run.

If Lombardi is looking to make a splash, say for Richards, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky or Florida's David Booth, the deal would probably have to include prospect Brayden Schenn. Lombardi told Fox Sports West on Saturday, "quite frankly, I don't think he's going anywhere." He couched that statement by saying it would have to be a "really special" return, but we believe him when he says Schenn is staying put.

How about this swing by veteran Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson: Hemsky to Atlanta for young defenseman Zach Bogosian? Matheson spoke to Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who didn't deny such a move could take place but did say that any move for Bogosian must include a return that bolsters the team now and for the future. The Oilers would need to give more than Hemsky to get a defenseman that could turn into a stalwart on their blue line for years to come.

It might be a pipedream, but at least it's food for thought.

Sunday's game in Sunrise, Fla. could be a defining game for the New Jersey Devils and what GM Lou Lamoriello chooses to do before the deadline.

The Devils have miraculously pulled themselves back into the playoff conversation, but they remain 11 points out of the eighth spot with Buffalo, Atlanta, Toronto and, yes, Florida, between them and Carolina. They are a major longshot to make the playoffs for the 14th straight season and a win Sunday wouldn't change that, but a loss could be devastating and convince Lamoriello to give up on the season and move some assets that could at least get some marginal returns. Jason Arnott would be at the top of that list, though he would have to waive his no-trade clause.

Finally, I'll just toss this out there to see if it sticks anywhere, with Martin Brodeur starting Sunday for the first time since Feb. 6, what about trading Johan Hedberg to a team that needs some goaltending depth? He could wind up with a contender and the Devils could always re-sign Moose in the offseason. Odds are his experience in New Jersey, which has been excellent, would be enough to convince him to return.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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