An update on Jeff Carter’s status with the Blue Jackets,  the Senators could consider bolstering their lineup via trade, and the Leafs apparently aren’t ready to hit the trade button.

Carter and Blue Jackets deny trade rumors.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson refuted a recent report from RDS claiming Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter had demanded a trade. Carter’s agent, Rick Curran, also denied his client had made a trade demand. Portzline also reported Carter vehemently denied the RDS report, adding he never spoke to anyone from the network, though he acknowledged he’s not happy with his or his team’s performance, though he’s not the only one on the club feeling that way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect that to mollify the rumormongers, as we’re probably going to hear about Carter “secretly” wanting out of Columbus in the coming weeks, months and years. To be fair to RDS, Renaud Lavoie subsequently spoke to Howson and Curran soon after his network broke the story of Carter’s supposed trade demand, and posted on their site their subsequent denials. Was there any kernel of truth to this rumor? As with most of these things, it could’ve started because of an innocuous comment from someone in the Carter camp that he wasn’t happy with how things were going this season, and got blown out of proportion. The only thing we know for sure is Howson, Carter and his agent all have issued strong denials, and in the lack of any real facts to the contrary, we’ll have to take them at face value.

SPORTSNET/OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN:  reported the surprising strong start of the Ottawa Senators could have GM Bryan Murray looking to add a player or two to bolster his team’s playoff chances. Murray will continue to monitor the performance of Stephane Da Costa as their second line center, and he has no deals in the works at this time, noting there’s been little actual trade talk in the first quarter of this season, though it could pick up in the second quarter. The Sun reported sources claiming the Senators had interest in Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Turris. The Sun also reported teams have little interest in Senators blueliners Filip Kuba and Brian Lee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Senators remain in the playoff chase by late January, Murray will likely go into full “buy” mode, but he won’t move any of his promising young players, looking instead for affordable veteran “rental” players, perhaps a second-line center if Da Costa struggles in the role, for a second or third round pick. He could also offer up Kuba or Lee at that point for a center, provided they can afford to spare them at that point, and if there’s any real interest in either guy by that point. As for Turris, I don’t doubt Murray had interest, but was told by the Coyotes the holdout center wasn’t available, and that’s as far as it went.

TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger reports Maple Leafs VP of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin said the rash of injuries the team has suffered recently won’t push them into the trade market, not yet anyway. Zeisberger noted a recent rumor had Cody Franson being shipped to the Edmonton Oilers for Linus Omark or Sam Gagner, but scuttled that speculation because Mike Komisarek’s recent injury means Franson won’t be moved.

TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno yesterday reported struggling Leafs backup Jonas Gustavsson hasn’t asked to be traded, while GM Brian Burke shot down the notion of including Gustavsson in a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For all the grief Burke occasionally gets from the armchair GM crowd in Leafs Nation, he deserves kudos for not shipping out Franson, as they’ll surely need him with Komisarek out of the lineup for at least three weeks. As for Gustavsson, if the Leafs tried to shop him, I doubt they’d find any takers, due to his poor performance and his UFA status next summer.