Sunday Eveing Trade Rumor Update

Weekend wrap: Trade rumors

Rumours du jour

Latest buzz on eve of NHL trade deadline

Weekend wrap: Trade rumors

The clock is ticking toward Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, and the focus centers more and more on the Los Angeles Kings.

Ever since they lost out on Ilya Kovalchuk last summer, the cap room has been there, sitting and waiting to use for a sizable addition up front. The idea was to scour the market and jump on a chance to add a top-flight winger.

The early-season target was Jarome Iginla, but the Calgary Flames told Los Angeles their captain wasn’t going anywhere. The Kings then spoke to the Dallas Stars about James Neal, but the price tag of Jack Johnson was too high for them.

Now, the deadline is almost here and the Kings still haven’t made their move. They have targeted Brad Richards, Ales Hemsky and David Booth, in that order. The Kings really covet Richards, but it’s a complicated situation because of the star center’s concussion (he skated again Saturday but there’s still no timetable for his return) and no-movement clause, plus the fact he is property of a rival Pacific Division team.

Still, expect the Kings to monitor him right to the deadline. The New York Rangers are also quite interested in Richards. Despite Saturday’s acquisition of Bryan McCabe, a source told the Rangers could still swing a deal for Richards, but it would be “tricky” cap-wise.

A source close to the situation figured this will be a Monday trade, if there’s a move at all. The Stars won their second straight game Saturday and are very much alive in the West playoff race. GM Joe Nieuwendyk may look at what he’s being offered Monday and decide that keeping Richards is a better investment for his team’s playoff run, even if that means losing him for nothing July 1. The Stars have not yet gone to Richards with any offers, but it will have to happen soon, possibly Sunday night.

Rumours du jour

The only need Canucks GM Mike Gillis will explore: A fourth-line centre and he’s looking at Florida’s Marty Reasoner. The Canucks really don’t have a need to do anything … A league executive on the asking prices right now: “They’re huge, teams want a high pick for a third- or fourth-liner. That’s just not going to happen. They may go down by Monday.” … Confirm or deny: The Hurricanes are trying to move RW Erik Cole. He’s a playoff performer, but is better off staying in Raleigh … Colorado D John-Michael Liles will likely be asked to waive his no-movement clause. There are plenty of teams looking for blue-line help, so he’s going to have options … A team you shouldn’t expect to make a move: The Detroit Red Wings. They don’t need to make a change and they’re confident G Chris Osgood will be back next month after sports hernia surgery. There has been some talk the Wings might take a run at Florida G Tomas Vokoun, but they don’t have the payroll space. G Jimmy Howard and Osgood will get the chance to carry the ball in the playoffs

Latest buzz on eve of NHL trade deadline

Eric Staal’s undetermined status won’t affect what the Hurricanes will do ahead of Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. Veteran GM Jim Rutherford told on Sunday his target remains the same.

“We’re pretty satisfied with our team, but if we can add depth to our defense, we would do that if the price was right,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford added that a defenseman with an expiring contract would be his preference.

In the meantime, the team is comfortable with how it lined up Saturday with Tuomo Ruutu, Jeff Skinner and Brandon Sutter centering the top three lines. Plus, the acquisition of veteran winger Cory Stillman, bolstering the top-six forward group, looks more important than ever.

As for Staal, who got his bell rung Friday night against Pittsburgh, he didn’t accompany the team to Montreal as a precaution. Rutherford said the captain would undergo baseline testing Sunday and Monday before the team could have a better idea of his situation.

One player Rutherford will continue to get calls on right up until the final minute Monday is Joni Pitkanen, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. While Rutherford would not comment, our read here is he’d rather keep the talented blueliner for a hopeful playoff run, but will continue to listen to offers in case one blows him away.