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Garrioch: Deadline points of interest remain Winnipeg, St. Louis, New York (and Tampa Bay)

According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, NHL GM's are entering the period in which they must decide whether they're going to buy to "contend" or sell at the trade deadline, which hits on February 29th this year. That's not an easy decision to make given how tight the standings have been and will continue to remain going forward.

The focal points of trade deadline interest remain the following non-Steven Stamkos players:

Winnipeg Jets: All eyes are on captain Andrew Ladd and blueliner Dustin Byfuglien. “I don’t believe they’ll both be there after the deadline,” a league executive said Friday. The talk is the Jets tabled a six-year, $6 million deal to Ladd before the season, and that somehow the deal will get done.

Nobody is quite as optimistic about Byfuglien. He has emerged as one of the best players in the league, is a difference maker, and will cash in on the UFA market in the summer. “He’s just a hell of player,” said the executive.

St. Louis Blues: We’re not talking about a franchise with an ownership group that has deep pockets. GM Doug Armstrong has apparently put talks with centre David Backes on hold and with a $4.5 million cap hit he’s going to want a big raise if he’s going to stay with the Blues.

He could fetch a lot in return but the Blues are a contender in the West and they should be looking to add, not subtract. Teams will call but Armstrong has to tread carefully here.

New York Islanders: The sense is there won’t be any deal involving defenceman Travis Hamonic, who asked for a trade a personal reasons, until the NHL entry draft in June. A league executive said: “Garth Snow isn’t going to make this deal unless he gets good value in return.”

Teams have been calling the Isles about UFA winger Kyle Okposo, and why not? You never know where Snow is concerned, but the 27-year-old has a $2.7 million cap hit. The thinking amongst teams is he won’t be going anywhere because the Islanders are in the race and want to stay there.

Garrioch continues, addressing the Canucks, Lightning and Canadiens' situations.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd, david+backes, doug+armstrong, dustin+byfuglien, garth+snow, kyle+okposo, new+york+islanders, st.+louis+blues, travis+hamonic, winnipeg+jets

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com