Regier, NHL GMs have little time to shop

John Vogl

The sellers

• Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina has already begun shedding players, sending forward Matt Cullen to Ottawa before the Olympics. They have a proven scorer on the market in winger Ray Whitney. They also have what the Sabres may need.

Defenseman Joe Corvo, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, is a power-play regular. The 32-year-old, who has played just 33 games because of a leg laceration, has four goals and two assists with the man advantage. He makes $2.625 million, but because it’s prorated it would fit under the approximately $1.16 million in salary cap room the Sabres have available.

• Florida Panthers: The new owners sent an open letter to fans saying the Panthers are not a competitive squad, and “no small changes or quick fixes will do.” In other words, no reasonable offer refused.

The Sabres could use consistent scoring at right wing alongside Roy and Thomas Vanek, making Nathan Horton (17 goals, 46 points) an intriguing target. The 24-year-old broke his leg in January but is expected back soon. He has three years remaining on a contract that averages $4 million a year.

• Edmonton Oilers: The NHL’s worst team is eager for a makeover. Problem is, they are the worst for a reason. Players such as Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios are available, but their performances (seven to 13 points) don’t equal their salaries ($2 million to $5.4 million).

• Toronto Maple Leafs: GM Brian Burke loves to get folks talking, and he did so by acquiring defenseman Dion Phaneuf and goaltender J.S. Giguere before the break. He’s probably not done.

There are rumblings blue-liner Tomas Kaberle, who leads the team with 40 assists (including 21 on the power play), might finally be willing to drop his no-trade clause for an Eastern Conference team. Big right wing Alexei Ponikarovsky (19 goals, $2.1 million) has an expiring contract, as does left wing and West Seneca native Lee Stempniak (14 goals, $2.5 million).