OTTAWA -- The calm before the storm?
With the NHL trade deadline set for tomorrow afternoon, the league's 30 GMs spent yesterday working the phones, but from the buyers' list, only New Jersey's Lou Lamoriello completed a trade, acquiring blueliner Niclas Havelid from Atlanta in exchange for rookie defenceman Anssi Salmela.
It would appear the big deals have been put on hold as teams try to figure out what they want for their playoff runs, how much money they have under the salary cap and whether they're willing to meet the huge demands the sellers are asking for.
Not many teams have much cap space left in their $56.7-million US allotment.
"I get the feeling, and I've talked to a lot of other (GMs) that are sort of in the same spot we're in -- and there are many -- and they're getting the same kind of thing: People are kind of kicking tires, but not really making any commitment as far as what they would offer for a particular player," Senators GM Bryan Murray said yesterday.
Here's the latest buzz:
* The Blues are interested in Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger, but not at any cost. Sources say the Ducks are demanding LW David Perron, a prospect, a first-round pick and a conditional pick. The Blues would like to bring Pronger back for a second stint, but they won't pay that price. The Devils, Bruins, Caps and Flyers have shown interest.
* Phoenix defenceman Derek Morris has given the Coyotes a list of three teams where he'd like to be dealt: Philadelphia, Washington and Boston. The Flyers' lack of cap space will curb their interest, but the Capitals and Bruins both like him. Morris can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
* The Islanders are playing the waiting game with right winger Bill Guerin, but the talk is he could be packaged and dealt with injured centre Doug Weight. Sources say the Caps promised Isles GM Garth Snow they'd make a deal, but that was contingent on Washington being able to move centre Michael Nylander. Nylander has a no-movement clause and has not been willing to waive it.
* The Coyotes are also trying to move centre Olli Jokinen and there is plenty of interest. Sources say the Blue Jackets, Flames, Capitals, Oilers and Canadiens have all held discussions about acquiring Jokinen. Phoenix needs to shed salary, but also wants to get a decent player in return.
* Minnesota is still trying to sign goalie Niklas Backstrom. His agent, Don Baizley, has valued his client in the $6-million per season range and the Wild doesn't want to pay that kind of price. This one is going to go to the wire. The Wild can't risk losing both Backstrom and right winger Marian Gaborik as UFAs in the off-season for nothing in return
* The Panthers might be leaning toward keeping defenceman Jay Bouwmeester for the rest of the season. Florida is on the verge of making the playoffs and owner Alan Cohen has demanded the club make the post-season. Sources say the offers that GM Jacques Martin has received for Bouwmeester, a pending UFA, "are not good enough."
* Several teams have contacted the Senators about right winger Jarkko Ruutu. While he's been a gritty player for Ottawa, the club might consider making a move if they can get Ruutu's $1.3-million salary off the books for the next two seasons and spend the money elsewhere.
* Expect to see Maple Leafs centre Dominic Moore dealt. He's expected to reject the club's latest contract offer and there has been interest from six or seven teams.