A few notes as the NHL's trade deadline draws closer:
Do not expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to claim Nikolai Zherdev on waivers. He's just not general manager Brian Burke's type of player.
I would be surprised if Ales Kotalik is claimed on re-entry waivers, but if he is, the Calgary Flames are prepared to eat up $1.5 million in cap space next year (half the value of Kotalik's remaining year on his contract) in order to save $1.5 million in real dollars that the claiming team would be responsible for next year.
If not claimed, his future options would be a) collecting his money in the AHL, b) getting an unconditional release to go play in Europe or c) being bought out in the summer.
If he's bought out in the summer, Kotalik would create a $1 million cap hit for Calgary in each of the next two years.
The Buffalo Sabres have defenceman Craig Rivet on waivers to give him a chance to resume his career elsewhere. Even though he is Buffalo's captain, he is not playing for them right now and obviously does not figure into their plans any more. The Sabres may want to bring up a kid like Marc-Andre Gragnani to have a look at him at the NHL level.
The St. Louis Blues do not have a priority claim on Nashville's Marek Svatos on waivers. You will recall the Blues originally signed Svatos but he was claimed on waivers by the Predators.
If the Blues want him back now, they would have to put in a claim and hope no team below them in the standings put in a claim because he would go to the claiming team lowest in the standings.
Finally, it's believed Washington's Nicklas Backstrom has a fracture on his finger, but it's apparently at the tip of his finger and not too serious. He may not miss any games, but even if he doesn't, it's still not believed to be too serious.