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Original Issue

Pierre McGuire's In the Crease

Two marquee free agents landed in 2007 are on the trading block: Rangers center Scott Gomez (signed through 2013--14, but a -9 with just 42 points through Sunday) and Avalanche winger Ryan Smyth (2011--12; a -7 with 20 goals). Teams that believe they can challenge for a Cup may bid for these forwards before the March 4 trade deadline, but their high salaries (Gomez is due another $33.5 million after this season; Smyth, above, another $16.5 million) present salary-cap issues.... NHL scouts have been eyeing games at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., to assess high-scoring prospect Chris Kreider, who'll be drafted this June. The 6'2", 200-pound forward has 29 goals in 22 games, and some scouts think he could be the best U.S. prep player since current Bruins standout Blake Wheeler (Breck School, Minneapolis) was taken fifth by the Coyotes in 2004. Kreider, a junior, plans to play at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2010.