Rumblings: How much will it cost to get a rental player?

Will the Jiri Sekac-Devante Smith-Pelly trade shake things up?

Things were awfully quiet around the league before the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks woke things up with an interesting swap of 22-year-old wingers Tuesday.

The Habs get Smith-Pelly, who has more power and ruggedness yet can also skate well; the Ducks get Sekac, who has more speed and skill and offensive creativity. Both players still are finding their way as far as figuring out how to be consistent NHLers.

It’s one of those deals you won’t be able to judge until two or three years from now. Will Smith-Pelly become the impact power forward the Ducks drafted him to be? Will Sekac figure out how to use his impressive skill to become a 30-goal scorer? We won’t know for a bit.

What’s significant about the trade, though, is that it was a hockey deal, not the type of rental trade we’re more used to seeing at this time of year. Both players are signed for another season.

And that’s not surprising from Ducks GM Bob Murray and Habs GM Marc Bergevin; both had gone into this trade deadline hoping to make a hockey deal rather than a rental acquisition, although clearly neither may be done dealing.

What still remains to shake out around the league is the rental trade market. It’s as if everyone is waiting for Sunday and Monday at this point to move on rentals.

"No one wants to blink yet," said one Eastern Conference team executive Tuesday.

The buyers and the sellers appear to still have a different price in mind for rentals, which perhaps is explained by an awfully deep draft in June. These picks mean more than usual. No one wants to give them away easily.

"You make offers, and the answer is that it’s not enough right now," one Eastern Conference buyer told ESPN.com Tuesday. "Everyone just seems to be waiting each other out. Historically, stuff has happened earlier, but it doesn’t look that way now."

Part of the problem is that the only rental deal done so far, Feb. 15 by Nashville and Toronto, really can’t serve as a price-setting trade.

That’s because the first-round pick and prospect that Nashville paid to get Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli netted two rentals, not just one. The vast majority of rental deals done over the next week will be involving just one.

In other words, the market still hasn’t been established for what one good rental player will cost. Will a team really pay Carolina a first-round pick and a prospect for Andrej Sekera? Or just a second-rounder? Will Edmonton get a second-rounder and a prospect for Jeff Petry or just a second-rounder?

When one fairly significant rental deal gets done, it should not only set the market price but also get more deals flowing.