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Whitney price may be too steep for some

3/2/2010

It didn't take long after the end of the Olympic roster freeze for players to start moving Monday.

The biggest of the post-Olympic trades involved the Edmonton Oilers and the Nashville Predators. Edmonton defenseman Denis Grebeshkov was sent to Nashville for a second-round draft pick. The implication is this will pave the way for Nashville to move defenseman Dan Hamhuis.

Contract talks with Hamhuis, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, have not progressed, his agent, Wade Arnott, told ESPN.com on Monday.

Whether or not the Predators move Hamhuis by the 3 p.m. ET deadline Wednesday, the acquisition of Grebeshkov (who played for Russia in Vancouver and will be a restricted free agent this summer) gives Poile a safety net. Similarly, the Predators will enjoy even better defensive depth if Poile decides to keep Hamhuis for a playoff push. Grebeshkov also negates the need to replace Hamhuis if he walks away July 1.

One team rumored to be interested in Hamhuis is the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a move Monday, but it wasn't the move many had been anticipating (beefing up the forward ranks). Instead, GM Ray Shero added veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Shero told ESPN.com he thought his biggest need was to add defensive depth as the Penguins continue to vie with New Jersey for the Atlantic Division title. It's possible the Penguins could turn around and move another defenseman, but Shero noted they carried eight defensemen in last season's playoffs and all of them were involved in the Penguins' run to the Stanley Cup.

There had been rumors that Shero coveted Carolina's Ray Whitney, who would be a nice fit in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have added top-six forwards the past two trade deadlines in Marian Hossa (2008) and Chris Kunitz (2009) and Bill Guerin (2009). But Carolina GM Jim Rutherford is believed to be asking for at least a first-round pick and possibly a roster player for Whitney.

Further complicating the issue is that Whitney, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, has a no-movement clause. He already nixed a deal that would have sent him to Los Angeles when the Kings refused to give him a three-year contract extension.

It's believed the Penguins, who gave up a second-round draft pick for Leopold, will not meet Rutherford's asking price. They are also not interested in adding salary beyond this season; so unless Whitney is prepared to go to Pittsburgh without an extension, any possible deal there is likely dead.

Whitney is the most attractive forward left on the market now that Ilya Kovalchuk is in New Jersey. A point-a-game player who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, Whitney will be attractive to teams looking to add a top-six forward and power-play specialist.

And speaking of the Hurricanes, Rutherford is hoping to be busy after already moving Matt Cullen to Ottawa and Niclas Wallin to San Jose before the Olympic roster freeze.

"A lot of talk over the weekend, but I don't have anything imminent at this point," Rutherford told ESPN.com on Monday. "But we'll see what happens over the next few days."

The players believed to be available are Aaron Ward, Scott Walker, Andrew Alberts and Joe Corvo.

As for the Panthers, the move of Leopold is expected to be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of players being dealt by the rebuilding club. Dominic Moore was sent to Montreal before the Olympics, while Rostislav Olesz and Dennis Seidenberg are still on the block. Rumors are still swirling that netminder Tomas Vokoun, who has a no-movement clause and one year left on a deal that pays him $6.3 million, could be available, too.

Meanwhile, for those teams striking out on Whitney, like Los Angeles or Pittsburgh, a nice consolation prize might be Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky, another unrestricted free agent this summer. He is a big body and has decent offensive numbers.

Another forward who might be of interest to some teams is Marek Svatos of Colorado, whose production has fallen off. But he did score 32 times in the 2005-06 season. Svatos will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

• You also can get up-to-the-minute trade discussion in Rumor Central.