If, as was reported by TSN last night, that the Kings, with Jeff Carter now in the fold, are shopping captain Dustin Brown, well, that certainly changes the pieces on the draft deadline chess board.

Brown, 27, who was born in Ithaca, will earn $3.175 for each of the next two seasons, far less money and a much shorter term than the Blue Jackets marksman, and that has to be appealing to multiple contenders.

While not a high-end points guy like Nash, Brown is a north-south, go-to-the-net, banger, and a character guy, and a 20-goal scorer. He has five PPG, and skates on the PK. Strange that he'd be shopped given the Kings offensive struggles, but...He's a right wing and Sutter's been playing him on the left, apparently, and has been slumping since shifted. If anything, Kings must be sniffing around for a D to replace Jack Johnson.

Bruins, Leafs and Sharks, who have discussed Nash, are among the teams who have to be intrigued by Brown's avail, as well as the Rangers, because Brown seems to fit the Cally-style identity and would command a lower price than Nash. But the competition will be greater for Brown, and a team could overpay. If I'm LA's Dean Lombardi, I'm not sending the captain up the Cali coast to the Sharks.

As I tweeted last night, with Johnson on the Jackets, GM Scott Howson must have realized that he was not going to pry Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh from the Rangers. Now, does that mean Glen Sather, if he chooses, can sweeten the package with a forward prospect (The Post floated Christian Thomas) and another pick, as well as Dubinsky and a No. 1 pick?  Or would the Jackets still insist on a defense prospect, such as Tim Erixon or Dylan McIlrath?

Remember this as well: Columbus still could move Umberger and Pahlsson and wait until the offseason to move Nash, when teams' needs are clearer. Howson was quoted as saying a goalie is not a priority right now: So that may be part of the draft strategy---after the No. 1 pick overall (Nail Yakupov?), they'll have plenty of picks, no matter how this all shakes out....

In the meantime, congrats to Henrik Lundqvist and wife Therese who are expecting in July.

Headed to Uniondale for the morning skates, check back here and on Twitter @stevezipay for updates, commentary, on this grey and drizzled morning, with traces of snow on the lawns....

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