Inside NHL trade talk

Sources Say

, Last Updated: 4:45 PM ET

WINGS' HOSSA IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL

The Red Wings have opened contract talks with RW Marian Hossa, who likely won't settle for another one-year deal. Hossa, who last summer rejected big multi-year offers from the Oilers and Penguins to sign a one-year deal to try to win a Stanley Cup in Detroit, is poised to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season.

To keep the 29-year-old Hossa, the Wings will likely have to offer him a 10-12-year deal that's massively front-loaded so Detroit can spread out the salary-cap hit if Hossa retires before the end of the contract.

Hossa, making $7.45 million (all terms US) this season, wants to stay, and the Wings want to keep him. But they're also trying to re-sign C Johan Franzen, so a Hossa deal may have to wait for the summer.

KOVALCHUK LINK TO KINGS

The Thrashers face a decision over LW Ilya Kovalchuk. The word from the West is Atlanta scouts have been following the Kings around and there has been talk of a Kovalchuk deal. Making an average of $6.5 million per season with another year left on his contract, the 25-year-old isn't likely to stay with the Thrashers past next season, when he can become a UFA.

The Kings are in an awkward position as a young team on the verge of making the playoffs. Despite all the breathless denials, they did talk to the Penguins about C Evgeni Malkin at last year's draft.

PLAYERS, PICKS FOR BOUW

The Jay Bouwmeester saga will continue right up to the trade deadline, but the Panthers will not move the defenceman unless they get what they want. GM Jacques Martin is looking for two players and two picks.

There aren't many teams willing to give up that much up unless they can sign the 24-year-old blueliner. Besides, Bouwmeester is a key component to the Panthers' playoff hopes.

Sources say he recently turned down a five-year, $32.5-million offer and as reported in this space, he doesn't have any intention of remaining with Florida next season.


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