Updates on Joni Pitkanen, Roman Hamrlik, Peter Forsberg, Ty Conklin and Jarkko Ruutu, the latest on the Sharks and more.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who’s eligible for UFA status this summer, is hoping to stay with the team after this season.

CYBERPRESSE.CA: Marc Antoine Godin reports Montreal Canadiens blueliner Roman Hamrlik said he’s willing to accept less money to re-sign with the Habs. Hamrlik is also eligible for UFA status this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither player will be shopped at the trade deadline but it remains to be seen if they’ll be re-signed before July 1st. Pitkanen would certainly command plenty of interest as a free agent as he’s in his playing prime while Hamrlik at 36 might find it tough to continue his NHL playing career despite being “a workhorse” for the Canadiens this season. Hurricanes management probably wants to re-sign Pitkanen but of course it’ll depend on his salary demands and their budget for next season. The Canadiens might be willing to re-sign Hamrlik to a one-year deal for less money but of course that’ll depend upon any possible additions they might make to their lineup by July 1st.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports Peter Forsberg has a no-trade, no-movement clause in his new contract with the Avalanche but wondered if Forsberg might become trade bait by the February 28th trade deadline if the Avs should fall further out of playoff contention by then, though Dater considers that possibility “unlikely”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huh? The Avs just signed Forsberg and already someone in the media is talking about shopping him? (*Plants face on keyboard…*).

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan finds it inexplicable the Senators sat gritty forward Jarkko Ruutu during last night’s Senators-Vancouver Canucks game. With three weeks until the trade deadline Brennan believes the Senators should be showcasing Ruutu for a possible trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Sens didn’t want Ruutu taking liberties against the team some observers believe he would be a good fit on their fourth line? 😉

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Dan O’Neill reports Blues backup Ty Conklin has been coming through for his team while Jaroslav Halak was sidelined by an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I mention this because there’s been speculation the Blues might shop Conklin or that the Detroit Red Wings are interested. As long as the Blues remains in playoff contention I doubt they’ll shop Conklin. Meanwhile Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland recently said unless Chris Osgood suffers a setback in his current rehab he’s not in the market for a backup goalie.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: David Pollak reports Sharks GM Doug Wilson doesn’t sound like a general manager about to wheel and deal, pointing out he’s already made changes with his recent acquisitions of Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. The Sharks have won seven of their last ten games, including four of their last five, and have moved up into sixth in the Conference standings. If they continue this pace Wilson probably won’t have any need to make a significant trade by the deadline.

USATODAY.COM: Kevin Allen reports the Detroit Red Wings lack the cap space to pursue an expensive goalie like Toronto’s J.S. Giguere…Chris Phillips is far more attractive to rival clubs than Sergei Gonchar and he’ll be surprised if any team took on Gonchar’s contract at this point…Take Flames GM Jay Feaster at his word when he says he’s not trading Jarome Iginla or Robyn Regehr…Allen thinks everyone in the NHL believes the Penguins will end up with Alex Kovalev because he played his best hockey there and was very popular with the fans…The Predators are seeking offensive help and the Thrashers are aggressively shopping for help but so far haven’t found anything…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ken Holland said he won’t shop for a goalie unless he gets bad news on Chris Osgood’s rehab…The Senators are stuck with Gonchar…The Flames are now in a playoff berth and have no reason to move Iginla or Regehr…Why in Buddha’s name would the Penguins want an aging, indifferent, past-his-prime winger whose last best season was three years ago? Kovalev’s best years in Pittsburgh were nearly ten years in the past. He’s not that player anymore…The Preds will boost their offense but I don’t expect them to sell the farm to do so…The Thrashers are in big trouble and might not find the right deal to help them. Their defensive play has been weak throughout the season.