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Southeast Division Sell-off?

With the NHL's trade deadline about a day away, the rumor mill will hit high gear in the coming hours -- and it's going to focus on the Southeast Division. Here are five issues you should keep an eye on between now and 3 p.m. tomorrow:

1) Where's Atlanta winger Marian Hossa going to land? Montreal, Ottawa, Anaheim? Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell has reportedly scouted the farm clubs for the Canadiens and Senators in recent days.

2) How about Bolts' blue liner Dan Boyle? The Rangers are supposedly after him.

3) Is Tampa Bay's Brad Richards on the move, too? If so, who's going to pick up that enormous $7.8 million per for the next three seasons? Perhaps Columbus? A lot will be determined today when GM Jay Feaster meets with the prospective new owner.

4) How much longer will Panthers captain Olli Jokinen remain in South Florida? He's been rumored to be on the block for a while now. This time, though, there seems to be some traction to the speculation.

5) Capitals General Manager George McPhee recently said (for the second time) that he's not anticipating making a major move. But has the Caps' slump - they've lost five of six - changed his mind?

By now it's no secret that McPhee's team is in desperate need of a top-six forward (preferably a center to replace the injured Michael Nylander) and a rugged veteran defenseman (someone, who as Coach Bruce Boudreau put it yesterday, will reach out and "touch somebody").

But here's what McPhee and his staff must consider: How much is too much to give up in order to acquire help for a team that's going to struggle to make the playoffs anyway? McPhee said last week that he won't mortgage the future and also would prefer to keep his prospects and picks in this summer's draft. But he also said he would consider an inexpensive pick up.

McPhee will be surrounded today and tomorrow at team headquarters by assistant GM Brian MacLellan, pro scout Larry Carriere and amateur scouting boss Ross Mahoney and others in his scouting and hockey operations departments as he weighs whether or not to make a deal.

I'll update the blog if I hear anything juicy.

Note: After back-to-back games over the weekend, the Caps are not practicing today. They host Marian Gaborik and the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night.

Update:Defenseman Jeff Schultz (strained left knee) skated on his own today, but remains quiestionable for tomorrow's game.

Update:Forsberg to the Avs, according to TSN.ca.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 25, 2008; 9:48 AM ET
 
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