Draft deals

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Canadiens are interested in acquiring one of the Blue Jackets’ first-round picks.

Columbus has the 6th and 19th choices. In addition to the Canadiens, San Jose, Ottawa and Florida are on the prowl.

Columbus probably won’t make a deal until the first five choices have been made. The Blue Jackets would like to acquire a centre for Rick Nash and a Top Two puck-moving defenceman.

San Jose could fullfil the first need by dealing Patrick Marleau to Columbus. Marleau has a no-trade clause that kicks in July 1, and he will become expendable, for salary-cap reasons, if the Sharks sign Brian Campbell before he becomes a UFA.

Columbus is also talking to Pittsburgh about acquiring the rights to Ryan Malone. The Penguins have no draft choices through the first three rounds and would like to get some. Also, if Marian Hossa accepots the Pittsburgh offer – $50 million for seven years – the Penguins can’t afford to keep Malone.

Columbus would pay Malone $4.5 million to $5 million per season in a four- or five-year deal.

While scoring 27 goals and establishing himself as a top-tier power forward, Malone made $1.45 million in 2007-’08.

Is Tony Robbins a UFA?

Dr. Phil … Esposito?

The Canadiens need a new motivational consultant.

Ryan Walter, who had been dropping by the room from time to time (including a playoff visit) to give the Canadiens pep talks, has been hired as an assistant coach by the Vancouver Canucks.

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The Calgary Sun repoorts the Flames will re-sign Daymond Langkow, who would have become a free agent July 1.

Langkow scored 30 goals, added 35 assists and was plus-16 in 2007-’08. He made $2.44 million and will double that in a new deal.


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