As opposed to previous seasons, lots of high-profile players will indeed be dealt before the NHL’s trade deadline on Feb. 26, and the Detroit Red Wings intend to make the biggest splash of all.

With $5 million US remaining in their salary-cap room, the Wings have launched trade talks in hopes of obtaining one of these luminaries: Mats Sundin, Jaromir Jagr, Marian Hossa, Vaclav Prospal or Olli Jokinen.

My hunch (based on discussions with NHL insiders): Sundin waives his no-trade clause with the Toronto Maple Leafs and agrees to join the Wings.


•Detroit also covets free agent Peter Forsberg, although he’ll likely sign with the Philadelphia Flyers … The Ottawa Senators, theoretically bolstered by their Monday acquisitions of Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore from the Carolina Hurricanes, still hope to land veteran defenceman Rob Blake, although the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks have equally strong interest in the Los Angeles Kings’ captain … The San Jose Sharks had a deal lined up with Ottawa in which they would have unloaded defenceman Matt Carle to the Sens, but Wade Redden nixed its completion by exercising his no-trade right … The New Jersey Devils hope to fortify their lineup by obtaining defenceman Brian Campbell from the Buffalo Sabres, forward Ladislav Nagy from the Kings and forward Robert Lang from the Chicago Blackhawks … The New York Islanders are dangling Mike Comrie and Miroslav Satan as trade bait.

•Don’t look now, but Gordie Howe turns 80 next month … In the CFL, folks are shaking their heads in disbelief at the Roughriders’ decision to trade star defensive end Fred Perry to the Edmonton Eskimos for raw quarterback Steven Jyles. Turns out Perry became expendable when he had the audacity to ask Saskatchewan management for a cash advance shortly after signing a contract worth $110,000 a season … In baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are thinking of throwing their new super-prospect, Evan Longoria, into the fire by starting the kid at third base this season. And, no, he’s no relation to Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria … Former Blue Jays star Joe Carter will never make it to MLB’s Hall of Fame, and he’s bitter about that, but, for what it’s worth, he was inducted this week into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame … And members of the NFL champion Giants continue to celebrate their recent Super Bowl triumph — at New York strip clubs — where they’re getting, ahem, lots of free lap dances. I kid you not.

In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.

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