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Top Line: Letang talks deteriorate; trade talks heat up; more links

Kris LetangKris Letang is negotiating with the Penguins over a new contract. (Fred Vuich/SI)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• It seems like the Penguins and Norris-finalist Kris Letang aren't that far apart on the numbers that define their current contract negotiation. But Rob Rossi says take another look and you'll realize this isn't going well at all.

• Here's another take on the Letang situation.

• Next up on the Philadelphia Flyers goalie carousel...Jaroslav Halak?

• The NHL's director of Central Scouting says the top four picks could play in the league next season.

• St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong says the Blues "could walk out of this draft with eight first round picks if we want to."

• What Armstrong really needs to do this summer is tweak his offense and goaltending.

• The New York Rangers chose not to buyout the contract of Brad Richards. Rick Carpiniello thinks that is a really dumb, for real.

• Bruce Garrioch writes that the Vincent Lecavalier buyout is gumming up the trade market.

• Bringing Vinny back to Montreal would be a mistake.

• Some team could get the steal of the draft in Philippe Desrosiers. Here's why.

• The Blue Jackets extended the contract of coach Todd Richards...but only for one year. That sound you hear is the clock ticking, Todd.

• New Columbus GM Jarmo Kekelainen is exploring all his options heading into tomorrow's draft. With three first rounders and immediate needs to fill, the Jackets could be big players in the trade market.

• Michael Arace says contract negotiations are not going well between Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky...and he knows just how to get a deal done.

• Calgary GM Jay Feaster may need to have his phone surgically removed from his ear by the end of the day Sunday. Yep, with three picks of his own in the first, he's getting a lot of calls.

• Feaster pretty much can't go wrong with the sixth overall pick, so it's what he does at 22 and 28 that could determine the future of the organization.

• The Vancouver Canucks have basically stood pat since losing in the 2011 Final. And in the NHL, standing pat is the same as going backwards.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has done a nice job building a long-term base for the franchise. But after two years out of the playoffs, it's time for him to do something that will have a quicker payoff.

• Dave Nonis has the opportunity to remake the Maple Leafs' roster over the next two weeks. The opportunities are there, but will a guy with a rep for dipping his toe in the water rather than jumping in the deep end have the guts to do what's needed?

• James Mirtle considers the nine players most likely to be traded this weekend. Most editors would have demanded he round the list up to 10, but that shows you the kind of pull Mirtle has.

• Even spending to the cap won't make it easier for the Bruins to retain all their free agents.

• One team's head scout says he pays attention to mock drafts. Uh-oh...

• USA Hockey has named its management team for Sochi. They didn't go in a different direction entirely, but the new man in charge promises a different look for the team.

• So that's what Pavel Bure has been up to.
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