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Dreger: Canadian teams expect to be active before deadline

Darren Dreger
2/23/2011 8:57:51 PM
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The Toronto Maple Leafs' interest in adding a defenceman is significant, but not urgent.

Head coach Ron Wilson is growing more confident in Mike Komisarek's play and is giving Carl Gunnarsson more responsibility and minutes in the absence of Tomas Kaberle.

The Maple Leafs may add a blueliner before Monday's deadline, but they won't overpay to do it.

In Ottawa, Senators GM Bryan Murray has been assured that Chris Phillips' preference to stay in Ottawa hasn't changed.

Murray and Phillips' agent JP Barry had a lengthy conversation on Wednesday which included basic negotiations on a contract extension.

This process will continue leading up to the deadline, while Murray also considers any trade offers involving Phillips.

Phillips' future in Ottawa will come right down to the wire. But with a no-trade clause, Phillips won't be moving unless he wants to.

Some believe the Montreal Canadiens have interest in Phillips, while Bryan McCabe's name has been suggested as well.

At the moment, things seem to have settled somewhat in Montreal, although defence remains a primary concern.

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis believes in the depth of his organization, but following Alain Vigneault's decision to bench Cody Hodgson in the third period of Tuesday's loss to Montreal, the speculation that the Canucks will need to acquire a third or fourth line forward has returned.

The Edmonton Oilers admit the calls are pouring in with interest for Ladislav Smid, Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner - to name but a few. However, Oilers management insists there is nothing imminent and the team will only consider making a significant move if the deal vastly improves Edmonton's future.

It's interesting times in Calgary where general manager Jay Feaster continues to work the phones. And Feaster has been using waivers this week to create cap space.

The Flames remain in the market for a forward, but feel less pressure to add a depth defenceman given the fact that veteran Steve Staios has stepped up to fill the void.

But all six Canadian teams expect to be active as the deadline rapidly approaches.

Darren Dreger

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