San Jose GM Doug Wilson wants to be a player in the trade market pretty soon.
Ideally, heíd like to deal for a defenceman before the deadline. Some observers think he might have an interest in Ottawa D Chris Phillips because the Sharks would like a veteran presence on the blue line for the stretch run.
Youíd have to think the Sharks could also be a landing spot for either Francois Beauchemin or Tomas Kaberle of the Leafs. The Sharks also might try to acquire G Tomas Vokoun from the Panthers, but Florida is in talks with Vokoun on a contract extension.
One scoutís take on the Sharks: ďTheyíre not getting a lot of leadership from Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Might be time to change the mix.Ē Interesting.
RICHARDS OFF MARKET
The biggest potential deadline acquisition is likely off the market: Dallas C Brad Richards is not going anywhere now. The Stars are in the thick of the playoff race and donít want to fool with their chemistry. Itís going to be up to the money-lenders running the team to decide if Richards will get an extension. If he doesnít, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk could simply try to deal Richardsí rights at the NHL draft in June for a second- or third-round pick.
DEVIL OF A REBUILD AHEAD
The Devils officially started their rebuilding process when they sent C Jamie Langenbrunner packing. League sources say GM Lou Lamoriello has been busy working the phones with New Jersey poised to be a lottery team. Players being shopped: potential UFA C Jason Arnott, C Dainius Zubrus and D Colin White. The biggest issue facing the Devils is the future of LW Zach Parise. A restricted free agent, Parise is going to be the target of an offer sheet if the Devils donít get him signed. The Caps may show some interest in Arnott because they want to bulk up for the playoffs.
JACKETS EYEING SOURAY?
Word is Columbus GM Scott Howson really wants a puck-moving blueliner and could turn to Edmonton D Sheldon Souray, who is still toiling away in the minors. Heíd have to clear re-entry waivers and the word is he hasnít been that great with AHL Hershey.
CANUCKS COULD DEAL SAMUELSSON
The Canucks have to shed about $1.5 million (all terms US) in salary once D Sami Salo is ready to return from his achilles injury. They might try to trade RW Mikael Samuelsson to get his $2.5-million salary off the books. One player who wonít be going anywhere is D Kevin Bieksa, who the Canucks hope can be part of a Cup run.