The latest news as we count down to the trade deadline:
Teams that I believe have either been contacted by Columbus regarding Rick Nash or have reached out to the Blue Jackets: the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Of that list, I think the Rangers, Flyers and Kings really stand out in terms of their interest and ability to provide the right assets. The Canucks and Leafs obviously have interest, but I’m not sure they’re willing to part with the kind of package of assets the Jackets are looking for.
The Leafs have worked hard over the last few years to build up their base of assets and don’t want to empty the cupboard on one player, even though it’s a player they like. My sense is that Toronto will remain involved on some level just to make sure the price doesn’t go down.
Wild-card teams: San Jose and St. Louis. I’m not sure the Sharks can pull this off midseason; I think they’d be more interested in the offseason. The Blues have ownership issues, which I think really limits their ability here, yet one source suggested to us that we should not discount them. Still, trade Nash within your division? That would surprise me.
Jackets GM Scott Howson has told some teams, a source told ESPN.com, that while he is listening to offers on Nash, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll move the superstar winger by the Feb. 27 trade deadline. There’s still a chance this gets moved to an offseason transaction. Still, given that the cat is now out of the bag, you know Howson will work his hardest to make it happen in the next two weeks.
You can take Ryan Smyth's name off the trade market list. The veteran winger (UFA on July 1) solicited interest, we’re told, from the likes of Detroit, Boston and the New York Rangers, but Oilers GM Steve Tambellini had a meeting with Smyth on Tuesday where both sides agreed he’d stay put in Edmonton. And that was just fine with Smyth. Sure, Smyth was flattered to hear some Cup contenders wanted his services, but given what he went through to force a trade from L.A. to Edmonton last June, he’s more than happy just to stay put.
You can also officially scratch Tuomo Ruutu's name off the trade market. That was pretty much the case last week when Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford announced he would try to re-sign the pending UFA forward, but now with Ruutu out three to four weeks with an upper body injury, it makes it a moot point. A Canes source confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday night that Ruutu would not be going anywhere. Talks on a contract extension continue.