Trades coming?

There has yet to be a significant trade in the NHL this season, mostly because many teams are so close to the salary-cap ceiling. Depending on how much is committed in future years determines whether a team can even take on a player with term left on his deal.

The big rumors last week were that San Jose’s Patrick Marleau would be willing to waive his no-trade clause and that Colorado has been shopping Matt Duchene.

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen continues to work the phone hard trying to make a trade for a defenseman. He’s shopping Cam Atkinson and Kerby Rychel hard.

No money?

Because of the cap and the fact the 75-cent Canadian dollar may only result in the cap going up marginally again, a lot of free agents expecting gigantic paydays next summer could be awfully disappointed. In fact, it’s one reason you should see more teams re-sign their pending free agents.

It used to be you could get more on the open market. Now players may have no choice but to re-sign with their current teams.

The Red Wings just re-signed Justin Abdelkader to a seven-year deal. Some of the top players who could conceivably become unrestricted next summer include Steven Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Okposo, Andrew Ladd, David Perron and David Backes.

Big decision

A decision likely won’t be made until after next year’s World Cup of Hockey, but the NHL has been discussing whether it will participate in the next two Winter Olympics. It still seems a long shot.