Sens buying, but likely not Kovalchuk

By BRUCE GARRIOCH

The Senators will be buyers before the March 3 NHL trade deadline, just don’t expect them to be involved in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes.

While the Senators are on a six-game win streak, GM Bryan Murray is still looking to improve and with only three weeks until the Olympic break begins, trade talk is expected to heat up as teams try to position themselves for their runs to the post-season.

If the Senators have a wish list, it would likely include another scoring forward.

That won’t be Kovalchuk because Atlanta’s asking price is going to be high for a rental player with a cap hit of $6.4 million (all terms US).

The Thrashers are expected to demand established NHLers, along high-end prospects and a No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft for Kovalchuk, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has no intention of staying in Atlanta unless the club is willing to ante up $11 million per season.

That’s not a direction the Senators are interested in going. Ottawa will be seeking a forward in the next tier of players available.

Right now, there aren’t many teams who are sellers:

* The Senators would be interested in Carolina LW Ray Whitney, but there’s now talk he may re-sign with the Hurricanes. It’s believed the Senators like Hurricanes C Matt Cullen, who has a cap hit of $2.8 million and is being shopped by GM Jim Rutherford.

* Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is willing to move just about anybody. Naturally, W Dustin Penner would interest the Senators because they had him included in the failed Dany Heatley deal last summer, but Penner has been one the few players who has been consistent for Edmonton this season.

* The Thrashers are expected to deal RW Colby Armstrong, who is making $2.4 million. If the Senators are intersted, they won’t be alone. The Flames have been trying to acquire Armstrong for weeks, but haven’t been able to get a deal done

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2010/01/24/12596406.html