Hurricane watch in St. Louis

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

It might be go big or go home for the Blues.

While many NHL insiders are shocked coach Andy Murray is still behind the bench, the Blues have waited so long to fire him that they missed out on the best coach available -- Peter Laviolette -- so now the word is St. Louis is eyeing the possibility of trying to make a blockbuster deal.

Sure, the Blues might be dreaming, but there are whispers in league circles they might make a pitch to the struggling Hurricanes for centre Eric Staal, who went into last night's game against the Senators with only four goals and 10 assists in 21 games this season.

Sad numbers for a guy who is scheduled to make an average of $8.25 million (all terms US) a season through 2015-16.

The 25-year-old Staal has also managed to play himself out of contention for a spot on the Canadian Olympic squad.

Still, it's hard to believe the Hurricanes would give up on the player who all but willed the team into the Eastern Conference final last spring with incredible performances against the Devils and Bruins before Carolina fell to the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Penguins.

"He could be just having a bad season, (but) this is a guy who could do no wrong last year," said a league executive.

Of course, if you're the Blues it never hurts to ask.

Plus, St. Louis does have young assets like defenceman Alex Piertrangelo, winger David Perron and 2007 No. 1 pick Ian Cole, a blueliner at Notre Dame, to offer up if Carolina wants to deal.

If the Hurricanes were to trade Staal, if would just about ensure they finish dead last -- where they sit now -- and give them a great shot at landing the No. 1 overall pick in next June's draft.

OFF THE GLASS

Panthers GM Randy Sexton has been trying to move G Tomas Vokoun. The issue is Vokoun has a cap hit of $5.7 million for the next two seasons and hasn't lived up to expectations. Then again, neither have the Panthers. Sexton is going to get some heat from the new ownership group if this club misses the playoffs ... Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was given a vote of confidence by GM Scott Howson last week. That comes as no surprise, but the talk in league circles is the Columbus players are getting tired of Hitchcock's act. "He'll be okay until the end of the season," said a league executive ... A player the Leafs would like to move before the March 3 trade deadline is Matt Stajan, who has never become the No. 2 centre Toronto had hoped he would.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Hold off on celebrating the sale of the Coyotes to Ice Edge Holdings. A league executive said NHL governors have concerns about the group's financing and commissioner Gary Bettman is going to be facing tough questions at meetings in Pebble Beach, Calif., next week. Since the league bought the club out of bankruptcy for $148 million, Ice Edge is going to have to make sure it shells out at least that much for the franchise and sources say owners want to see what kind of backing the group has. It's believed the governors are also going to want to discuss the stability of the Stars and the Lightning. Neither franchise is considered to be in good financial shape ... Returning to Norris Trophy form: Boston D Zdeno Chara. No longer in Norris Trophy form: Philadelphia D Chris Pronger ... With the Canadiens under new ownership after the Molson family returned to the fold, Montreal GM Bob Gainey could be turfed at the end of the season.

Have a nice Sunday.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos