The Columbus Blue Jackets might soon become trade deadline sellers.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported sources around the league claiming the Jackets might be closest team to making a significant deal, with veteran blueliner Rostislav Klesla, goalie Steve Mason and young forward Jakub Voracek drawing the most interest.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch said he had no doubt Mason and Voracek were attracting attention, but Klesla was the most likely to be on the block.
The Blue Jackets entered the first weekend of February eight points out of the last playoff berth in the West and winners of only three of their past 10 games. If they don’t arrest that slide within the next week there could be a significant move or two by the deadline.
DON’T EXPECT ANY WILD TRADES
Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher was quick to dispel speculation he’ll ship out some of his pending unrestricted free agents by the trade deadline.
Fletcher insisted his focus is on making the playoffs with his current roster, adding he’s had no conversations with other clubs regarding his pending UFAs and won’t make any moves that would mortgage the Wild’s future.
Earlier in the week it was suggested the Wild’s decision to start backup Jose Theodore Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche was to showcase him for a possible trade, but given Fletcher’s comments, it doesn’t appear Theodore or his UFA teammates will be going anywhere as long as they stay in playoff contention.
THRASHERS LOOKING TO MAKE A DEAL
The Atlanta Thrashers are barely clinging to the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and their recent struggles have GM Rick Dudley actively seeking trades to bolster his roster.
Dudley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that ideally he’s seeking two forwards and a defenseman, but wouldn’t elaborate as to who he’s pursuing.
Winger Niclas Bergfors was reportedly being shopped back in December, so it’s possible he’ll be trade bait now. There’s also speculation young blueliner Zach Bogosian is available, but Dudley would be reticent to give up so soon on the 20-year-old defenseman.
FLAMES AND REGEHR STANDING PAT
Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr continues to feature prominently in recent rumor chatter, but in an interview with Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald he claimed he hadn’t been approached by management about waiving his no-movement clause.
Hall suggested it was unlikely Flames GM Jay Feaster would move his best shutdown defenseman now that the club has battled back into playoff contention.
To date, Regehr has been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars, but if he hasn’t been asked to waive his movement clause it’s probably because Feaster doesn’t want to risk upsetting the club’s improved chemistry.
PANTHERS STILL RE-BUILDING, BUT NEED TALENT
Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss has also been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for some time.
Harvey Fialkov of SunSentinel.com reported there have been offers for Weiss and the long-time Panther admitted the years of missed playoff appearances has been wearying, but insisted he wants to remain with the team and be part of its turnaround.
It’s possible Weiss will be moved, but his no-movement clause gives him full control over his future.
GM Dale Tallon has made no secret he hopes to rebuild the Panthers with youth, but he might want to retain players such as Weiss – who is signed through to 2012-13 – who are still in their playing prime and want to stay with the team.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.