TRAD­ING

No short­age of trade talk — just a short­age of trades ... Isles must be ner­vous about Tavares sit­u­a­tion ... Sen­a­tors could be busy ... What’s with Jagr?

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS -

The talk is fi­nally start­ing to heat up lead­ing into the Feb. 26 trade dead­line, but Na­tional Hockey League gen­eral man­agers are still at the tire-kick­ing stage.

The usual prob­lem ex­ists: Buy­ers far out­num­ber sellers.

Sure, there was one trade last week, when the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers sent a fourth-round pick to the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens for

Al Mon­toya, backup goalie but there should be big­ger deals than that as the play­off race heats up in the Eastern and Western Con­fer­ences.

Right now it’s a wait­ing game. Ask­ing prices are high from those look­ing to move play­ers.

“There’s not a lot of teams that are out of it right now,” one league ex­ec­u­tive said Satur­day. “Yes, a lot of teams are call­ing around, but it’s go­ing to take some time be­fore the mar­ket gets set.”

Most teams are just sit­ting down for their an­nual scout­ing meet­ings to de­ter­mine the next steps. Sure, there’s a lot of prepa­ra­tion for the NHL draft at Dallas in June, but much of the work in­volves what will hap­pen at the trade dead­line.

Does a team want to add? Sub­tract? Should they sit still? Does a team on the out­side want to add an­other piece that might help vault it into play­off po­si­tion? De­ci­sions made in the next seven weeks will go a long way in chart­ing the fu­ture course.

Sooner or later the first domino will fall and there will be a push to get deals done.

OFF THE GLASS

There’s talk the New York Is­landers are get­ting more and more ner­vous about

John the fu­ture of cap­tain Tavares,

who has a cap hit of $5.5 mil­lion in the fi­nal year of his con­tract. There is talk Tavares’ camp isn’t keen on talk­ing about a deal dur­ing the sea­son, which doesn’t help if the Isles are lis­ten­ing to trade of­fers. They went into their game Satur­day against the New Jersey Devils only two points out of the fi­nal wild-card spot in the East, so Tavares isn’t go­ing any­where if they stay close. This will be an in­ter­est­ing sit­u­a­tion to the trade dead­line at the end of Fe­bru­ary … San Jose Sharks

Doug gen­eral man­ager Wil­son

has been call­ing look­ing for a for­ward.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Sen­a­tors gen­eral man­ager Pierre Do­rion

has spent lots of time on the phone, and plenty of coun­ter­parts are will­ing to help if Do­rion wants to trade, but don’t ex­pect any­thing be­fore the club’s scout­ing meet­ings. There’s in­ter­est in for­wards Mike Hoff­man, Zack Smith,

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and while a few teams have called

Cody about de­fence­man Ceci. One player who won’t

Der­ick be moved is cen­tre Bras­sard.

Teams have called be­cause of his abil­ity to per­form in the post-sea­son, but the Sen­a­tors feel he’s part of the so­lu­tion. The St. Louis Blues have shown in­ter­est in Hoff­man and had a scout in the build­ing for the Sen­a­tors’ game Fri­day night against the Sharks, when Bras­sard scored for the first time in 14 games.

Johnny Oduya, Vet­eran who will re­ceive a $250,000 bonus if he hits the 41-game mark af­ter the Sen­a­tors re­turn from their man­dated break later this month, likely will be moved to a con­tender look­ing for de­fen­sive help. His ex­pe­ri­ence would be a good as­set for any­body down the stretch … You have to won­der what’s next for the Cal­gary Flames and 45-yearold

Jaromir Jagr, for­ward who is day-to-day with an un­spec­i­fied in­jury. Jagr has had only a lim­ited role when he has been in the lineup, plus he missed train­ing camp, which was im­por­tant for him. It’s be­lieved Jagr could be re­leased by the Flames to play for the Czech team at the Win­ter Olympics, but ev­ery­body is be­ing tightlipped. Flames gen­eral

Brad Tre­liv­ing man­ager has been sniff­ing around for for­ward help.

RU­MOURS DU JOUR

There’s a lot of talk about Van­cou­ver Canucks

Erik de­fence­man Gud­bran­son.

It makes sense since he can be­come an un­re­stricted free agent on July 1, and sev­eral teams are in the mar­ket for a blue­liner. Gud­bran­son, who turns 26 Sun­day, will at­tract a lot of at­ten­tion be­cause he’s young and has lots of ex­pe­ri­ence and went to the play­offs twice with the Florida Pan­thers. The Maple Leafs, look­ing for a de­fence­man, got a first­hand look at Gud­bran­son on Satur­day night, when the Canucks vis­ited Air Canada Cen­tre. The Canucks are also lis­ten­ing to of­fers for

Ben Hut­ton de­fence­man … What’s this about the ask­ing price for Mon­treal

Max Cana­di­ens winger Pa­cioretty

be­ing high? Word from league ex­ec­u­tives is that

Marc Habs gen­eral man­ager Bergevin

wants to hit a home run if he’s go­ing to deal the club’s cap­tain. What ex­actly is that? The be­lief is that the Habs want a top for­ward and a No. 1 pick for Pa­cioretty, who has one year left with a cap hit of $4.5 mil­lion. The 29-year-old had nine goals and 13 as­sists in his first 41 games this sea­son, so it’s doubt­ful any­body would give up much to make that deal.

Have a nice Sun­day and Happy New Year!

BRUCE BEN­NETT/GETTY IMAGES

John Tavares is in the fi­nal year of his con­tract with the New York Is­landers, and isn’t likely to talk about a con­tract ex­ten­sion dur­ing the sea­son.

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