Rumor Tidbits from ESPN's Lebrun

Trade talk: Kings interested in Hemsky?

Stars and the trade deadline

Trade talk: Kings interested in Hemsky?

As the trade deadline approaches, the Los Angeles Kings haven’t changed their target since the season began: Add a top-six forward before Feb. 28.

There isn’t a whole lot on the market right now in terms of top-six forwards, but one name I am told intrigues the Kings is Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers.

The problem is, it’s not clear whether Hemsky will be dealt. The Oilers are listening, but they are not desperate to move him. The 27-year-old has one year left on his deal, next season at $5 million with a $4.1 million cap hit.

Hemsky would fit the Kings’ need to add offensive creativity up front. If the Oilers decide to keep Hemsky, Los Angeles will have to hope more teams drop out of the playoff race between now and Feb. 28, introducing new names to the market.

Stars and the trade deadline

The slumping Dallas Stars have big weekend games against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and every game from here on out might affect the way GM Joe Nieuwendyk approaches the trade deadline.

A month ago, the Stars were leading the Pacific Division and challenging Vancouver for top spot in the West. But after they dropped six of seven games, the entire Pacific Division is back in contention for first place. As of Friday morning, the Sharks were tied with the Stars, and the last-place Kings were only five points out. What’s even more nerve-racking — the skid has left the Stars only five points clear of the postseason cutoff point in the conference. What a race in the West!

So what now for Dallas? Help on the blue line is the likely target, but with the club still seeking a new owner, adding another piece after pushing the envelope with the Jamie Langenbrunner acquisition won’t be easy.

“I’m listening to everything, if something makes sense … but our biggest challenge is the money and whether we could do it,” Nieuwendyk told on Friday. “They [bank lenders who control the team] were good enough to let us do Langenbrunner, so we’ll see.”

The question is, what position will the Stars’ GM be in by deadline time? Will he be a buyer, like he is now, or a seller, if the Stars keep losing games and sliding down the standings?

It’s a relevant question when it comes to star No. 1 center Brad Richards, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. For most of the season, it was assumed Richards wouldn’t be going anywhere with the Stars flying out of the gates and that Nieuwendyk likely would take his chances at re-signing the forward following a potential long playoff run with Richards in the lineup.

But if the Stars are only one or two points clear of the danger zone come Feb. 28, do they not at least seek out what kind of package is out there for Richards, something that potentially could set up the Stars for five years?

Richards has a no-movement clause, but I’m guessing if the right team calls, he might be willing to waive it. Take Boston, for example. The B’s now are armed with the Marc Savard cap savings and could offer him a chance at a Cup run.

It all depends on how the Stars do over the next two weeks.

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