NHL Trade Deadline: Kesler, St. Louis demands; Bruins/Wings on MacDonald; Leafs rentals; Letang status

Chris Stewart is a large person who sometimes scores. - Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In which teams "kick the tires" while "sniffing around" and "taking calls" about "gauging interest" to "see if there's a good fit."

As the NHL trade deadline approaches and as a way of organizing the rabid commentariat here, we'll collect some of the blurbs and nonsense that's going around the league each day.

Feel free to add your own (with links or citation please) in comments. But if you're doing the armchair GM thing, please also try to be somewhat realistic and not so HFboards-ish.

Today we start off with not one, but two reported trade requests from veterans on playoff contending teams.

The Kesler Demand

Wednesday night Ryan Kesler's agent denied a report that the Canucks forward -- now nursing a broken hand from the Olympics -- had requested a trade at some point this season. TSN's Bob McKenzie followed up:

The Vancouver Canucks are not aggressively shopping and trying to trade Ryan Kesler, but I do believe that they're aggressively listening. Keep in mind though that Kesler has got a no-move, no-trade clause...

St. Louis Hearts New York?

Speaking of trade demands, the Martin St. Louis saga had more legs as reporters narrowed to a consensus story that St. Louis had requested a trade this winter and specified only New York -- the Short Island Smurfs -- as a destination. He'd have to waive his no-trade clause and of course the Lightning would have to want something from the Rangers to part with their leading scorer.

Both disgruntled stars, if they get their wishes (whenever those wishes were made), seem more likely to move this summer rather than this month.

Bruins, Red Wings Looking into MacDonald?

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE says the Bruins are looking at defensemen and are interested in the Islanders' free agent Andrew MacDonald, but not at the reported asking price from the Isles:

There’s also a concern that the Islanders defenseman isn’t much more than a fifth defenseman on a Cup-caliber team like the Bruins, and that he doesn’t play much bigger than his 6-foot, 180-pound frame. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is more looking for a big-bodied, physical defenseman capable of winning battles in the D-zone.

Haggerty had more to say about what the Bruins are willing to give up this trade season, and the answer is the standard "not much."

Meanwhile the Red Wings are also reportedly looking at MacDonald, though Winging It In Motown notes the Isles' reported asking price of a draft pick is problematic: The Wings are at the 50-contract limit.

Full Deadline Coverage

Chris Stewart Interest?

Chris Stewart's inconsistent production combined with his power forward profile makes him a constant subject of trade rumors and bait, and Bruce Garrioch -- always good for both this time of year -- says Ottawa is among multiple teams interested. If the Blues pull of an addition with major salary by next week's deadline, Stewart makes a good candidate to jettison in order to make room under the cap.

Toronto's Trade Chips?

The Leafs look a good bet to make the playoffs but not do much damage once there, so should they buy or sell? James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail tackled that topic and called Nikolai Kuleman "probably the most available Leaf in the next week."

Mirtle also suggests Jake Gardiner is a long shot to be dealt.

Letang Status?

Finally, the Penguins possible interest in additions is underlined by the uncertain status of Kris Letang, who has been out since suffering a stroke. He spoke with media today and said he is hopeful to play again, but unsure about this season. Follow Josh Yohe of the Trib for more updates.

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