Trade-deadline updates: Canes in tough spot; talks continue between Sabres, Connolly

March, 3, 2009

The Carolina Hurricanes are in a tough spot -- they can't really afford to be buyers or sellers. They're one point out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, so they're very much in the mix. However, a rental player wouldn't have much appeal for them because there's a chance they won't make the postseason.

So, if the Hurricanes make a deal, and we believe they would like to add a forward, it'll be more of a "hockey deal" that doesn't involve players with expiring contracts. One thing is for sure: The money-conscious Hurricanes cannot increase the payroll in any trade.

There's been much speculation on the return of Edmonton Oilers forward Erik Cole to Carolina, but because he'll be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, we don't see that type of move as a great fit at this point. But come July 1? We wouldn't be surprised if Carolina were to make an offer.

We also have an update on defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, who was waived a couple of weeks ago by the Hurricanes. There was thought the team might put him on re-entry waivers and see whether another team would want to take him for half his contract (he earns $2.2 million this season and $2.2 million in 2009-10), but now it appears that unless there's a good trade offer for him, the Hurricanes will keep him.

• We were told around 11:30 a.m. ET that there was no progress on talks in Ottawa between defenseman Filip Kuba and the Senators. Kuba is slated for UFA status July 1 and has a no-trade clause, but he could be on the move Wednesday if he chooses and a contract extension can't get hammered out.

• Also, as of noon ET, there's no progress on talks between the Buffalo Sabres and center Tim Connolly, who also will be a UFA July 1. But both sides were expected to talk again later Tuesday.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer


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