Ten observations as GMs feel out market 

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
9:58
AM ET
On a Monday in which the same general managers talked to the same other general managers about the same players, without much progress being made on a deal, other options were being considered. Especially on the wing.

Thomas Vanek is the big name out there. He has been for a while. But in conversations on Monday, you could hear guys almost trying to talk themselves out of making a deal for Vanek. Or at least giving off the impression of declining interest.

There was talk about how a guy like Matt Moulson might be a better fit, or perhaps there’s better value to be had in a player like Ales Hemsky, who teams feel can be acquired for at worst a second-round pick but perhaps even a third-rounder.

“When you drill down on value, is that better value? Maybe,” said one NHL source.

There are the decisions being weighed as the clock ticks toward the deadline. After multiple conversations on Monday, here are 10 things to keep an eye on heading into the final full day before the deadline:

1. The price of Vanek

“The interesting one for me is Vanek,” said one NHL source. “I wouldn’t want to be Garth [Snow].”

That’s a fascinating position to take considering that normally you might want to be the GM holding one of the biggest cards in the deck. Yet in this case, Snow will have to deal with comparisons to the Vanek deal he made earlier this season with Buffalo. And what if Moulson nets just as much as Vanek right now at the deadline?

Multiple sources who have watched Vanek closely as of late haven’t been blown away by his on-ice play, either, which isn’t boosting his value. “He hasn’t played great,” said one exec.

He did score twice against Florida on Sunday, finishing with seven shots on goal. According to one source, the price remains a first-round pick along with a top prospect to begin the conversation. “My guess is he’s not going to get that,” said another NHL source.

2. First-round pick hoarding

Part of the problem for Snow is that teams that might typically be willing to pay for a top rental have been shipping first-round picks out of town the last few years so often that they’ve suddenly become stingy.