Caps' 'fire sale' setting rumor mill ablaze

Now that Washington has unloaded Jaromir Jagr, trade rumors are flying all over the NHL.

Updated: January 27, 2004, 1:47 PM ET
By Tom Wheatley | Special to ESPN.com
The way trade rumors are flying around the NHL, one would think the calendar was coming up on the trade deadline instead of the All-Star Game.

The March 9 swap meet finale is still over a month away. However, with the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement looming on Sept. 15, finances are playing as large a role as -- if not bigger than -- playoff chances when it comes to teams deciding if they're buying or selling. And with the amount of talent that is likely to crowd the trade blocks, teams are making that decision earlier than usual in hopes of getting a decent return.

The market officially opened on Jan. 23 when the Washington Capitals sent winger Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers for Anson Carter.

As one Caps staffer told a rival NHL talent scout, "You may as well get into this. It looks like a fire sale."

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