Can't make a deal

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

NAPLES, FLA. -- The deadline is approaching, but the deadlock on the trade front continues.

As NHL GMs wrapped up their meeting yesterday, Atlanta's Don Waddell and San Jose's Doug Wilson wandered off into a field for a discussion. The talk is Wilson has stepped up attempts to acquire RW Marian Hossa by offering C Patrick Marleau as part of a package.

Not far away on the patio at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Colorado's Francois Giguere and Toronto's Cliff Fletcher held a brief conversation with the Avs trying to buy. Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren stopped to chat with Edmonton's Kevin Lowe.

Talk and more talk. But little action with six days before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

There was one deal yesterday: The Flyers settled on D Jaroslav Modry (for a third-round pick in 2008) after Maple Leafs D Tomas Kaberle refused to waive his no-trade clause.

Fletcher and Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi, who are holding the biggest fire sales here, had lunch with Montreal GM Bob Gainey -- fuelling the Mats Sundin-to-the-Habs speculation.

'ROWBOATS' OFFERED

"I've had discussions with some teams. Maybe the seed has been planted, but there's definitely nothing imminent," said Fletcher. "We'll be leaving here (this afternoon) and we won't have completed a trade by then.

"There's been a few rowboats offered for a battleship. It's all preliminary negotiations. There's nothing on the front burner right now. Nothing is going to happen until we return to Toronto, sit down with our people and go through the process we have to go through."

The biggest obstacles to making deals are the salary cap and the logjam in the standings, which has many GMs unsure of whether they're buyers or sellers.

"There's still a deadlock in terms of player movement and hopefully that gets broken quickly, but if it doesn't, then we're going to have to soldier on with the team that we have," said Vancouver GM Dave Nonis.

"A big part of it is the standings. You used to look down and the No. 10 and No. 11 teams were out of it. Well, those teams are right there. Very few, if any of them, are going to want to be looked at as selling. We're all in positions that we want to buy. There hasn't even been, at least in our case, a hockey deal that makes sense for both teams."

The Canucks want to add offence, as do the Sharks, Avs, Senators, Ducks, Rangers, Habs, Canucks, Bruins and Stars.

WON'T GIVE IT AWAY

That has meant GMs Waddell (Hossa), Fletcher (Sundin) and Tampa's Jay Feaster (Vaclav Prospal) are getting plenty of attention.

While the Oilers are considered a seller by dangling C Jarrett Stoll, GM Kevin Lowe won't give anybody away.

"We'll do hockey deals if there's a hockey deal," said Lowe. "They don't always come out of these meetings. They can set the table somewhat. Other than where we are in the standings, we're not totally unhappy with our season. We have to be patient."

Trade talk has picked up. GMs chatted during a dinner in honour of former Avs GM Pierre Lacroix on Monday and hit the links yesterday. But it's still just that. Talk.

"Nobody has been throwing any players our way," said Senators GM Bryan Murray with a smile. "We've made some inquiries and now we're just waiting for some phone calls back and we're hoping to have some further discussions in the next couple of days. I'd like to add one more player for sure, if I could."


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