Ducks hunting duo

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

The shrinking Scott Niedermayer market could see the much coveted defenceman land in Anaheim this week with his brother Rob.

The two have often expressed a desire to recreate their childhood days as teammates in Western Canada and some other free agents have already begun investigating the Mighty Ducks as Cup contenders with the prospect of Scott Niedermayer on the team.

Vancouver Canucks' GM Dave Nonis made his big move on Markus Naslund yesterday, effectively ending speculation he was looking at adding the Norris Trophy winner.

"You guys all own calculators," he told the Vancouver media as the Canucks moved swiftty toward the limit of the $39 million US salary cap. "If we make (more) changes it will probably be by trades."

CALL A KHAB

With just about every general manager in the National Hockey League trying to buy his way to a Stanely Cup in August, the defending champions are trying to figure the best course to stay on top.

Much of the Tampa Bay Lightning's plan depends on unrestricted free agent Nikolai Khabibulin, the prize catch among free agent goaltenders, who is getting serious looks from clubs such as the Chicago Blackhawks.

He could command close to the maximum of $7.8 million US. Phoenix, a one-time Khabibulin home, has also been mentioned, but if Sean Burke also walks from the Coyotes, they have a one-year insurance policy with Brian Boucher at $900,000.

Khabibulin already has rejected a five-year deal from the Lightning. But the Tampa Tribune, citing sources close to Khabibulin, says the Russian would prefer to stay for a chance at a second Cup. Restricted free agents Martin St. Louis, Vince Lecavalier and Dan Boyle have still not signed and a decision on the goalie from general manager Jay Feaster is needed before proceeding with the other three.

Chicago GM Dale Tallon told the local media offers are the table for free agents.

"We're talking to everybody -- upper (free agents), middle, lower," Tallon told the Daily Herald Times. "We're trying to find the best fit for our team."

If the Blackhawks get Khabibulin, they would likely look to trade Jocelyn Thibault, who was given a qualifying offer last weekend.

BERTUZZI REVIEW

The status of suspended Canuck Todd Bertuzzi is to be reviewed by the NHL in the coming days. Naslund is counting on commissioner Gary Bettman reinstating Bertuzzi after the Steve Moore incident in 2004. "I'd be upset if he doesn't play on opening night," Naslund told TSN.


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