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NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Drew Stafford, Matt Duchene and More

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2017

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 11:  Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 11, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Avalanche defeated the Maple Leafs 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

With the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, phones around the league are buzzing and potential deals are being discussed in earnest as some teams look to restock their assets as sellers, while others are attempting to load up for the postseason.

Below, we'll take a look at some of the latest rumors making the rounds.

Drew Stafford

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 16: Drew Stafford #12 of the Winnipeg Jets looks on during the game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on January 16, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images

According to Craig Custance of ESPN.com, the Winnipeg Jets have received interest in forward Drew Stafford:

Craig Custance @CraigCustance

Jets are getting calls on Drew Stafford, could see him getting moved before deadline. UFA after this season, lots of forwards in Winnipeg.

Stafford's status as a rental player along with his injury woes this season—he's scored four goals and eight assists in just 39 games—might limit his value on the trade market. Still, he's just one year removed from scoring 21 goals for the Jets, so teams looking for veteran help to bolster their depth could certainly do worse. 

As for the Jets, their surplus of forwards and the very real possibility they'll miss the postseason—as of Sunday, the Jets were five points out of the wild-card race and seven points behind the Nashville Predators for the third playoff spot in the Central Division—will make Stafford expendable if the Jets decide to be buyers rather than sellers.

It's unclear if the Jets will try to gear up for a postseason run as buyers or take a mulligan on this season, however. Regardless, Stafford is the sort of veteran rental that can help a contending team that is a depth forward away from making a postseason run.

Matt Duchene

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if Matt Duchene is going to be moved before the trade deadline, it's starting to feel unlikely that his new home will be in Ottawa.

According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen, talks have stalled between the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche:

[Senators general manager Pierre Dorion] has made it clear his priority is to acquire a forward before the deadline if he can get one for the right price, and that means not giving up a boatload of assets for a player with term or an expiring contract.

While there was plenty of speculation out of Denver that the Senators were trying to finalize a deal for Colorado Avalanche centre Matt Duchene, the indications are the enormous asking price hasn't changed, and unless it does the two sides aren't even talking in the same stratosphere.

The Senators have no interest in giving up defenceman Cody Ceci as part of any trade, and the belief is if the Avs are going to move Duchene to Ottawa that's exactly what they want in return, along with either prospect Thomas Chabot or Colin White, plus another piece.

Duchene, 26, is having another strong season, registering 16 goals and 20 assists in 55 games. While he may not replicate last season's tally of 30 goals, he's a top-line talent and one who will garner a huge return for Colorado.

As Adrian Dater of BSNDenver.com opined earlier in the month, the Avalanche are unlikely to accept 50 cents on the dollar to move him:

Adrian Dater @adater

Teams may be thinking they can outwait Sakic and drive price down on Duchene, but it's not happening. He ain't giving him away

Given that the Senators aren't interested in giving up the farm to add a forward, however, the team may seek a cheaper rental as an alternative. And yes, you guessed it: One of those veteran rentals the team may be considering, per Garrioch, is Stafford.

The Kings

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 03: Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on January 3, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings will be one of the interesting teams to follow leading up to the trade deadline. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, the team is considering the possibility of adding another goalie:

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

Even with Jonathan Quick likely activated today, Kings still mulling over merits of trading for a goalie as further insurance.

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

Having said that, Kings also got to going here and win some games. Next few games will help dictate trade approach.

Whatever that approach ends up being could lead to some interesting moves on the trade market. According to The Fourth Period, the Kings have reportedly been shopping winger Marian Gaborik and have also shown interest in Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek, Arizona Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Sharp and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle.

With the Kings currently three games back in the wild-card race and 10 points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the third playoff spot out of the Pacific Division, it wouldn't be surprising if the Kings decided to shake up the roster a bit for a postseason push.

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