Latest on Phil Kessel, Eric Staal, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Cole, Antoine Vermette, Joffrey Lupul and more.

Latest “Rumblings” from Pierre LeBrun.

Erik Cole garnering some interest in the NHL rumor mill.

Erik Cole garnering some interest in the NHL rumor mill.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports reports the Chicago Blackhawks rumored interest in Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette could drive up his trade value. The New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets are also believed keeping tabs on Vermette…LeBrun believes the Boston Bruins will make a move by the trade deadline. He lists Dallas’ Erik Cole, Calgary’s Curtis Glencross and (of course) Buffalo’s Chris Stewart as trade options…The Washington Capitals could pursue a top-nine forward by the deadline. LeBrun lists Cole, Glencross and (to a lesser degree) Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul as being on their radar…Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis said he’s not trading the Staal brothers…LeBrun wonders if Florida winger Tomas Fleischmann might be a good fit with the Anaheim Ducks…The Detroit Red Wings have interest in Edmonton blueliner Jeff Petry and Arizona rearguard Zbynek Michalek but only if the price is right (second-round pick and a middling prospect).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Dallas Stars fading in the playoff race, Erik Cole is garnering some attention in the rumor mill. He’s on pace for 20 goals and 40 points. He also leads the Stars in hits. Could be a good pick-up for a playoff contender seeking an experienced physical forward with a good scoring touch…If the Leafs actually find a taker for the oft-injured and expensive Joffrey Lupul, it’ll be one helluva move, especially if they can do it without taking back a toxic contract in return.

Updates from Sportsnet.

SPORTSNET: Jeremy Roenick suggests Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel and Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal could use a change of scenery, suggesting the Leafs and Hurricanes swap them…Scott Lewis cites reports claiming Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said he’ll be very surprised if his club trades center Ryan O’Reilly at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel and Staal would have to agree to such a move (which seems very unlikely), but it’s certainly not the craziest trade suggestion which stands no chance of happening that I’ve heard this year. 

Latest on the Rangers and Flyers.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard believes the cap-strapped New York Rangers will have to look elsewhere for blueline help after the Carolina Hurricanes shipped defenseman Andrej Sekera yesterday to the LA Kings. Options could include Edmonton’s Jeff Petry and Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports the Flyers have limited options heading toward the trade deadline. He believes Flyers GM Ron Hextall would gladly move “Braydon Coburn and his $4.5 million salary cap hit next year had the Kings’ needs remained. Or Luke Schenn’s $3.6 million hit. Or even Nicklas Grossmann’s $3.5 million hit.” The problem, however, is they all have term left on their respective contracts. Panaccio also doubts anyone will take center Vincent Lecavalier off the Flyers’ hands.