No trade wave, but teams still buzzing

June, 26, 2010
06/26/10
1:06
AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- After a massive build-up to Friday night's first round, there was only one trade of significance, one between Florida and Vancouver.

The Jaroslav Halak trade last week, the Nathan Horton move to Boston earlier this week and the Atlanta-Chicago blockbuster on Wednesday gave many around the NHL the belief the floodgates might have opened. But at least through the first day of the draft, there was not much at all.

"It's gone dead," one NHL executive said.

Not discounting Pittsburgh acquiring the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Dan Hamhuis, it wasn't busy on the trade front Friday despite furious efforts from GMs.

"I'm not surprised," Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray said. "The way the cap is, the way the teams are now with the money, it's very, very hard to make a trade. As much as we talk and we hope, it's hard to make that one move for your team that you think you really want and need to make. Because all it does is open up another hole because you have to give something back that's almost of equal dollars."

Murray should know. He phoned around looking for a fit for disgruntled center Jason Spezza. He didn't find it. So Murray said Friday night the exercise was over and the star center, while unhappy, would have to stay in Ottawa.

"There's nothing and there's not going to be at this point in time," Murray said. "We've talked enough about Jason. I'm very happy, and hopefully we'll talk to Jason as soon as I get back to Ottawa and continue to get this back in place so that all this speculation goes away."

Spezza's contract calls for $33 million in salary over the next five years with a $7 million cap hit each season. Teams might be more interested after Spezza is paid a $4 million bonus on July 1, but Murray told ESPN.com on Wednesday he would not, under any circumstances, trade him after that payment was made. Now it appears Spezza is off the market altogether.

Nabokov rumblings

Evgeni Nabokov might be on the move before the weekend is out, or at least his rights. On Friday, the San Jose Sharks, who decided not to bring back the pending UFA goalie, were approached by two teams who had interest in obtaining his rights. One of those teams is the Philadelphia Flyers, ESPN.com has confirmed. Neither Flyers GM Paul Holmgren nor Sharks GM Doug Wilson would comment on it.

Kaberle and the Leafs

Tomas Kaberle remained a Leaf as the first round came and went Friday night. Toronto has received four concrete offers for the defenseman, but was hoping two more would come Friday. They didn't.

"I'm neither frustrated nor disappointed," Leafs GM Brian Burke told ESPN.com after leaving Staples Center on Friday night. "This is like fishing. You have to put your line in the water and wait. Patience is a virtue, and this is one of those times. If it doesn't happen this weekend, then it doesn't. We need a trade that seriously upgrades our forward group. If we don't get that, we'll keep the player. He's a real good defenseman."

No move for Versteeg ... yet

Kris Versteeg also stayed put with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday despite numerous trade discussions involving him over the past few days. Moments before the first round began, one NHL GM told ESPN.com the price for Versteeg was a first-round pick and a good prospect.

"They're asking for the moon," another NHL GM said.

Tallon makes another move

The Panthers are doing their best to make things interesting. After moving Horton in a big trade Tuesday, they sent Keith Ballard and prospect Victor Oreskovich to Vancouver for winger Steve Bernier, forward Michael Grabner and a 2010 first-round pick (25th overall).

Panthers GM Dale Tallon wasn't kidding when he said he would be aggressive in reshaping the team, but he can't trade everyone as much as he might want to. Minnesota was interested in center Stephen Weiss, but Florida needed some players to ice a team next season.

The Canucks now take five years of term on Ballard's deal, but $4.2 million a season is not bad for a top-four blueliner that can move the puck and play a sound defensive game. Vancouver has made it a priority to upgrade its blue line. And despite the acquisition of Ballard, the Canucks aren't done trying to add another defenseman.

"We're not done looking at everything," Canucks GM Mike Gillis said. "Now we have a better opportunity to do so rather than relying on July 1 solely to improve our team."

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