Souray and the Canadiens

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

A player who won't be going anywhere at the NHL trade deadline is Montreal defenceman Sheldon Souray. But it looks like his stay with the Canadiens will come to an end.

While the Habs can't afford to trade Souray at the Feb. 27 deadline, he's expected to head for greener pastures as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Making $2.432 million US, Souray, 30, is having an all-star season and he's going to be in line for a big raise. However, the Habs also have to sign defencemen Andrei Markov and Craig Rivet in the off-season.

There's talk that Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi -- trying to bring some respectability back to the Kings -- already has a jersey with Souray's name stitched on the back of it.

Sure, it would make sense for the Habs to try to get something for Souray before he walks away, but then they risk missing the playoffs if they don't have their top-scoring blueliner, and that's a risk GM Bob Gainey won't take.

OFF THE GLASS

Okay, here's the latest on Flyers centre Peter Forsberg. He planned to meet with owner Ed Snider this weekend to discuss his future. Forsberg hasn't ruled out waiving his no-trade clause. The Ducks, Habs, Hurricanes, Thrashers and Canucks are among 11 teams that have all shown an interest in acquiring. The good people of Philly need this saga settled one way or another ... Stars tough guy Matthew Barnaby is pondering retirement. He has been struggling with vision problems and is having a tough time cracking the lineup. "I've never been put through this test," Barnaby said. "But, let's face it, I'm going to be 34 years old (in May). How much longer can I play anyway?"

AROUND THE BOARDS

The latest rumour out of Montreal is that right winger Sergei Samsonov and Rivet will be sent to Edmonton for centre Shawn Horcoff ... Asked why he alternates his captains, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said: "So, I don't get tired of the captain." ... The Coyotes' talks with left winger Ladislav Nagy about a new contract have been fruitless. Expect him to be moved at the deadline, with Detroit as a possibility ... Suddenly, the Sabres are listening to offers for goaltender Martin Biron. It's believed the asking price is high: A player, prospect and first-round pick. Sources say the Bolts have made a pitch because they haven't had strong goaltending since Nikolai Khabibulin left. The Sabres also may be ready to move right winger Ales Kotalik ... There will be a special guest missing from Mark Messier's jersey retirement ceremony in Edmonton on Feb. 27. Ottawa GM John Muckler, a former Oilers coach, isn't going to be able to attend because of the trade deadline that afternoon ... NHL GMs will meet Feb. 18-21 in Naples, Fla. Trade talk will be high on the agenda as well as the usual discussion about the state of the game.

RUMOURS DU JOUR

There has been a lot of talk surrounding Chicago defenceman Adrian Aucoin, who has two years at $4 million per season remaining on his contract. Moving him won't be easy, especially since he has a no-trade clause. There has been speculation the Habs might be interested because they likely will lose Rivet and Souray to unrestricted free agency, however, that's a hefty salary to bring aboard ... It's doubtful the Senators will be able to move goaltender Martin Gerber before the deadline, but it's expected they will try to create a market in the summer. The Kings are a possibility, but Lombardi still has goalie Dan Cloutier under contract and would have to find a taker before picking up the final $7.4 million remaining on Gerber's deal ... A player that could be on the move is Carolina left winger Andrew Ladd. While Ladd has been used sparingly this season, he has a potential upside that might entice the Flyers as part of a package for Forsberg ... There are whispers the Senators could send forward Antoine Vermette to the Panthers in a deal that would see Ottawa land winger Gary Roberts. The Panthers also are looking to move disgruntled centre Nathan Horton ... Although the Blackhawks don't appear to be dangling him, winger Martin Lapointe appears to have drawn the interest from a number of teams. Chicago defenceman Jassen Cullimore also likely will be on the move.


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