Sens acquire Sutton
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray is quietly filling in some holes in his lineup, as the Senators continue their quest of the Northeast Division by adding big-bodied, 6-foot-6 defenseman Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders for a second-round pick that came to Ottawa from San Jose in the Dany Heatley deal.
Murray previously acquired center Matt Cullen from Carolina.
The Senators are in a dogfight with Buffalo for the Northeast Division lead, but the Sabres have an edge starting the post-Olympic part of the NHL schedule with three games in hand. Looking further down the road, if the Senators don't capture the Northeast Division title, they will be in a battle with New Jersey and Pittsburgh for home-ice advantage in the first round. Sutton will help in a shutdown role, while Cullen will boost the Senators' power play.
Both Cullen and Sutton could be unrestricted free agents in the summer.
The Thrashers added some size in rugged winger Evgeny Artyukhin on Monday but are still in the hunt for another forward. They also have to make a decision on UFA-to-be winger Colby Armstrong. Contract extension talks haven't gone anywhere with Armstrong, but the Thrashers may just decide to keep him and let him walk away in July because they're in a playoff chase.
It's a similar situation for the Nashville Predators, who haven't been able to sign top-four blueliner Dan Hamhuis to a contract extension. A source told Scott Burnside on Tuesday afternoon that the Preds continue to get lots of calls on Hamhuis but were not close to a deal. Philadelphia is among the clubs interested.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a Capitals source told me Tuesday that although the team would like an upgrade "anywhere," the feeling at this point is the team may not do anything. GM George McPhee has never been a big fan of overpaying at the trade deadline, but we'll see this time around. The Caps have never had a better chance at a Stanley Cup than this season.
In Columbus, UFA-to-be winger Raffi Torres hadn't found a new home yet. A Blue Jackets source said nothing was close as of Tuesday afternoon.
In Pittsburgh, the Penguins were interested in Torres or Alexei Ponikarovsky, but not Marek Svatos. All three are set to become UFAs on July 1. The prices for Torres and Ponikarovsky were still considered "too high" to one Penguins source. It's the old chicken game all the way to Wednesday's deadline. And, of course, if Carolina drops its asking price of a first-round pick for Ray Whitney, Pittsburgh may go back there as well.
Finally, ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers reported Tuesday that the Blackhawks might be able to unload Cristobal Huet's crippling contract on the Maple Leafs, with the theory being the Leafs would stuff him in the AHL and get a high draft pick out of Chicago. But a Leafs front-office source told us Tuesday morning there was no truth to it.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Hawks, who have inquired around the league about goaltending but may stick with what they have if they don't think an upgrade is out there.
The Panthers, for example, continued to receive calls about Czech Olympic goalie Tomas Vokoun on Tuesday, but nothing was imminent on that front. He could just as easily not move.
• You also can read up-to-the-minute trade discussion in Rumor Central.