Coyotes getting calls for Morris, Jokinen; no progress in Connolly talks

March, 2, 2009

NHL GMs were hunkered down Monday morning as trade talks intensified.

"The phone lines are finally burning," one GM told

Let's take a quick whirl around before we jump on a plane from Toronto to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

• Things were "moving along" in the Derek Morris trade talks in Phoenix. The veteran defenseman, an unrestricted free agent July 1 with a no-trade clause, gave the Coyotes a list of teams over the weekend -- all in the Eastern Conference and described to us as "contenders." As we suspected in our Saturday blog, Boston is among those teams talking to Phoenix, but they've got company.

Phoenix GM Don Maloney has been working feverishly to move Morris, who we are told rejected a one-year contract extension from the Coyotes, thus setting off the trade talks.

We're told the Coyotes continue to also get a number of calls on center Olli Jokinen, who has one more year left on his deal at $5.5 million.

• We got word overnight that the Pittsburgh Penguins have held talks with the Ottawa Senators about reacquiring pest Jarkko Ruutu. We're not sure if this is going to go anywhere, but it's interesting to see the Pens (if our source is correct) even entertain the idea. This is a team that lost lots of sandpaper last summer when Ruutu, Ryan Malone and Georges Laraque all flew the coop.

• The Chicago Blackhawks continue their search for a No. 3 center, but, in the meantime, they are also in "serious talks" with star winger Martin Havlat on a contract extension, a source told Havlat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

• A source close to the Chris Pronger situation said there wasn't much new to report as of 10 a.m. ET on Monday. Ducks GM Bob Murray set his price around the league for what it would cost to acquire the star defenseman (who has another year left at $6.25 million) and now he's weighing the offers he's got to this point. There's no pressure to deal him now; he can wait until the offseason and then maybe not move him at all if Scott Niedermayer retires.

• Still no progress, we are told, in contract talks between Tim Connolly and the Buffalo Sabres. The skilled center is slated to be UFA July 1. What do you do if you're Sabres GM Darcy Regier on Wednesday and Connolly still hasn't signed? Your team is battling for its playoff life and he's one of your most important players. But, on the other hand, could you stomach Connolly leaving July 1 and not getting any compensation for that asset?

• A source told us Thrashers defenseman Niclas Havelid (UFA July 1) could possibly be on the move as early as later today.

• Looks like we're no longer on the Alex Burrows Christmas card list. Too bad, because we love the kid. But he took offense, it appears, to what we suggested Saturday night on the "Hockey Night in Canada" Hot Stove segment when we said there was a possibility the Canucks may move the impending UFA if he didn't sign an extension before Wednesday.

"That's a Frenchman; they don't know what they're saying," the French-speaking Burrows told Vancouver reporters about yours truly. "It's kind of funny. They were throwing every name in the tub. Who knows what are their sources. It can't really bother me."

In the end, given the playoff aspirations of the Canucks, we'd be surprised if they moved him. But, believe us Alex, we didn't make it up.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer


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