TAMPA, Fla. -- While it's classed as a long shot at this point, the Senators are expected to take one more run at trying to acquire Panthers centre Olli Jokinen before Thursday's trade deadline.
While NHL sources indicated the odds are almost evenly split between Jokinen staying in Florida or being dealt to Calgary, the Senators remain interested, said one source.
If Jokinen isn't staying in Florida, teams need to establish if he is going to be a rental player or signed to a long-term deal by his new club.
Jokinen can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He has turned down a four-year, $16-million (all terms US) offer from the Panthers and one NHL source indicated yesterday Jokinen won't accept less than $5 million a year.
"You might see a team do a deal where they will give up a package of draft picks and a prospect now for him and if his new club can sign him, then the Panthers will get a player off the club's roster after the playoffs," said one league insider.
"That allows the team picking Jokinen up for a playoff run to keep its team intact. If they can sign him, then the Panthers will get more."
If the Senators can't land Jokinen, it's expected they will turn their attention to Pittsburgh where winger Ryan Malone, 26, could be available.
Sources indicated the Senators have also inquired about former Ottawa 67's forward Mark Bell and Tyler Arnason, both of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The price could be steep in Bell's case, however. Arnason is also attracting attention from Montreal and Edmonton.
Dallas Drake, 37, of the St. Louis Blues, a likely rental player, is also supposedly on the Senators' radar screen.
Senators GM John Muckler said he is also looking at adding a depth defenceman and apparently Eric Weinrich of the Blues and Luke Richardson of the Columbus Blue Jackets are possibilities.
Hear and there:
The Lightning recalled forwards Nick Tarnasky and Darren Reid for last night's game. Bolts coach John Tortorella was asked if throwing farmhands into the mix when the games are so crucial was risky. "Not when the other guys are doing squat," said Tortorella ... Senators winger Dany Heatley took in the Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees spring training game Sunday afternoon and got to visit the Jays' clubhouse afterward. Heatley is anticipating a good season for the Jays after their recent free-agent acquisitions ... After last night's game, the Senators flew on their charter to Ocala, Fla., where they will visit owner Eugene Melnyk's thoroughbred farm today. After lunch there, they will charter on to Ft. Lauderdale and will face the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla., tomorrow night ... Though Panthers GM Mike Keenan hasn't put goaltender Roberto Luongo on the market, that hasn't stopped the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings from inquiring about him. The Kings are apparently interested in Buffalo G Martin Biron, as well.
As they used to say about Scotty Bowman, Tortorella treats all his players the same these days: Like crap. Not even Martin St. Louis was spared after he botched a 2-on-1 against Montreal. "Where was Marty on that 2-on-1? He threw the puck in the corner, 10 feet wide (of the net)," said Tortorella. "That's as bad as giving up a (bleep) goal."