There are lots of rumours, but as of yet it has been mostly smoke when it comes to the NHL trade deadline. Last season, there was a lot of sitting around for the guys at the TSN desks (and yes, that is plural), before most of the deals went down between 12:30 and the 3:00 pm deadline.
The first major salvo was fired on Friday when Buffalo sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis. That should have touched off the race with the other Western Conference contenders responding in kind. But nothing as of yet.
The Kings, Blackhawks, Ducks and Sharks are all in the mix to be considered favorites for the Eastern Conference title, and you can expect most of those teams will make an effort to improve in areas where they see a shortfall.
Right now things appear very calm, but in the end most of the players in the rumors will get moved. Some surprising players will get moved (who foresee the Marian Gaborik trade at the 11th hour last year?).
But with the market so large and the number of seller being relatively small, and so many teams still thinking they are a move or two away from contending, but these negotiations will come down to the last minute as sellers auction off the assets to the highest bidder. Teams need to get maximum return for their investment, and if that involves pitting one team against another, so be it.
So prepare for another 5 or 6 hours of seeing James Duthie, Bob McKenzie, Daren Dreger et al. relaying the same names and the same rumors for 5 or 6 hours starting early on before the action really gets hot and heavy.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. It just might take a while for the flames to ignite.