NHL notes: Carter rumours won't go away

Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler falls in front of Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter at the Honda Center...

Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler falls in front of Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 3, 2012. (HARRY HOW/Getty Images/AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

Speculation about the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Jeff Carter has started gaining steam again.

Carter was obtained in a much-heralded off-season deal with the Philadelphia Flyers but hasn't provided the anticipated offence.

The 27-year-old centre is two years into an 11-year, $58-million contract but has just 12 goals and eight assists in 35 games this season.

The Columbus Dispatch reported over the weekend that Carter has not asked for a trade but that the Jackets seem intent on dealing him. The Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames and possibly the Toronto Maple Leafs might be among numerous willing trading partners, the story said. The Jackets would be interested in Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier or Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester.

On Monday night, Jackets executives were in Washington scouting the San Jose Sharks and the Capitals.

DUCHENE BACK AT PRACTICE

Matt Duchene, who has been out since Dec. 29 with a knee injury, rejoined his Colorado Avalanche teammates at practice Monday.

Duchene didn't take part in any contact, according to the Denver Post, but looked strong on his skates.

"Felt great to skate with the boys again after 6 1/2 weeks!," Duchene said on Twitter. "Can't wait to get back in the lineup now."

The 21-year-old centre, who has 12 goals and 12 assists in 39 games this season, could be back in the lineup late this week.

BRIEFLY

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, riding a four-game winning streak, was chosen the NHL's first star of the week Monday. Smith had a 0.74 goals-against average last week. The second and third stars were Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin (three goals, five assists in three games) and St. Louis Blues winger David Perron (six goals in four games) ... The Edmonton Oilers and defenceman Andy Sutton agreed Monday on a one-year contract extension. Sutton, 36, has three goals and six assists in 33 games this season.


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