Plenty of talk, no action

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

There's plenty of NHL stuff to chat about around the water cooler this morning, but so far, it's just talk.

With today's 3 p.m. EST trade deadline quickly approaching, NHL teams have positioned themselves as sellers or buyers. Senators GM Bryan Murray will be trying to sell.

Murray may finally shed himself of some salary and pick up some prospects as he entertains offers for wingers Chris Neil and Antoine Vemette, along with defencemen Filip Kuba and Christoph Schubert.

It's quite possible all of them could be gone by the end of the day.

- Neil's agent, Todd Reynolds, met with Murray before last night's game against the Calgary Flames. Not much was accomplished.

As many as 10 teams -- including the Sharks, Wings, Penguins, Rangers, Bruins and Habs -- have called the Senators about Neil, who is seeking $2.5 million per season on a long-term deal. The belief is the Wings have offered G Jimmy Howard and a third- round pick.

Reynolds said both sides were willing to budge, but weren't "willing to be creative."

"At the end of the day, we're still not in a position to get anything done," said Reynolds, who may speak with the Senators again.

- Kuba's agent, Rich Evans, told Sun Media he hasn't asked his client to waive his no- movement clause. Kuba, who is making $3 million this season, is believed to be seeking a deal in the $4-million per-season range.

"Filip would really like to stay with the Senators. He enjoys the guys in the dressing room and he wants to be part of it going forward," said Evans.

Sources say the Stars, Penguins and Caps are all seeking help on the blue line. In the case of the Caps, they're probably waiting to see what happens with Phoenix defenceman Derek Morris. Washington scratched blueliner Tom Poti last night and he could be part of the Morris deal.

- Winger Antoine Vermette has also been popular. The talk is the Kings, Oilers, Hawks and Jackets have all shown interest. The Oilers had two scouts at Scotiabank Place last night. The Senators aren't sure they want to trade Vermette.

- Last night, the Senators dressed D Christoph Schubert for the first time in 11 games. He was being showcased for a deal. He might be a fallback for the Bruins.

- Goaltender Martin Gerber was put on re-entry waivers. The Senators are hoping the Hurricanes, Sabres or somebody in need of goaltending help picks him up for the playoff run. The Leafs are another possibility.

- Another popular name is LW Jarkko Ruutu, who has two years left at $1.3 million per season. The Hurricanes, Predators, Wild and Ducks are all looking for a player of his sort.

So will deals get done today?

"A lot of teams are nervous," said an executive. "In the past, you've seen teams trade away draft picks for veteran players and it hasn't worked out for them. We're learning slowly, but we're finding out that draft picks are pretty important with the way free agency works."

Here's the scuttlebutt:

- Panthers GM Jacques Martin has a major decision to make on D Jay Bouwmeester and the talk is Florida is leaning toward keeping him. But that hasn't stopped the Panthers from entertaining offers.

League sources say the Canucks are offering D Kevin Bieksa, LW Mason Raymond and a No. 1 pick for Bouwmeester. The Flyers are believed to have increased their offer of RW Joffrey Lupul, prospect C James vanRiemsdyk and a No. 1 pick. The Flyers would have to get G Martin Biron to waive his no-movement clause and get his $3.5-million salary off the books. Philadelphia would want to sign Bouwmeester to a contract extension.

- The Bruins and Caps were both negotiating with the Coyotes about D Derek Morris. There was also talk the Habs may have stuck their nose in to make a deal for Morris. The asking price is a player and a draft pick.

- The Coyotes are also trying to move C Olli Jokinen. Sources say the Flames, Oilers, Habs, Wild and Jackets have shown an interest in Jokinen. The Coyotes would like to get a player, pick and prospect in return, but they don't want to assume a big contract.

- Another rumour making the rounds was the Coyotes sending G Ilya Bryzgalov and Morris to the Flyers for Lupul, RW Scottie Upshall and Biron.

- Sources say the Sharks could be making a hard pitch for Anaheim D Chris Pronger. The Sharks have some good prospects they could move. The St. Louis Blues would like to bring back Pronger and may be in the sweepstakes, too. The Blues don't have cap issues, either.

- The Lightning has taken plenty of calls about RW Martin St. Louis, who has a no-movement clause. He's likely to stay. Brian Lawton couldn't deal Roberts, but the Tampa GM believes there's a market for veteran RW Mark Recchi and C Vaclav Prospal.

- The Avs are trying to sign W Ian Laperriere to a new deal to keep him off the market. The Wings have shown interest, but Colorado GM Francois Giguere is determined to keep Laperriere. Instead, the Avs are expected to move D Jordan Leopold.

- Talks have broken off between the Leafs and C Dominic Moore, who was a healthy scratch last night. The Sharks have shown interest.

- The Devils could move G Scott Clemmensen, who is set to be a UFA at the end of the year.

- The Sabres are trying to get a contract extension done with C Tim Connolly, who interests both the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks.


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