If the San Jose Sharks and Mike Danton get their wish, the New Jersey Devils' forward will soon join them in a trade.
The 22-year-old centre was sent home from a Devils road trip on Friday and told by general manager Lou Lamoriello to await a trade to another National Hockey League team.
There are four clubs interested in Danton -- the Sharks, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.
An NHL source says the Sharks and Flames are showing the most interest, with San Jose being Danton's preferred destination. John Ferguson, a consultant to Sharks' general manager Dean Lombardi, is impressed with the scrappy centre and recommended his acquisition to Lombardi.
Danton is in his first full NHL season and has drawn a lot of attention on the ice for his hard-hitting play and off the ice for his outspoken nature.
He was known as Mike Jefferson until he legally changed his surname to Danton last July to distance himself from his family.
That followed a season in which he had a dispute with Lamoriello over an abdominal injury that resulted in his suspension from the Devils' Albany farm team for the entire season after Danton sought a second opinion on the injury that confirmed his belief it was a serious tear.
Danton, his agent David Frost and Lamoriello made peace during the summer and Danton made the team after an impressive training camp. But when Danton complained in public about being scratched from a game Oct. 19 against the Carolina Hurricanes, Lamoriello ordered him home from a road trip.
Once again, their differences were patched up and Danton rejoined the team. But when he was moved back to the fourth line after playing with Joe Nieuwendyk in a game on Nov. 21, he made his displeasure known again.
Lamoriello told The Star-Ledger newspaper that "I like the way he plays, but I don't like his decisions. After awhile it becomes a distraction."
Frost said he believes Lamoriello planned to trade Danton for some time, and by having him play 17 games for the Devils it exposed him to NHL scouts and raised his market value. This was denied by Lamoriello.
However, the four teams interested in Danton are offering a clutch of players with NHL experience.
According to an NHL source, the Sharks have offered centre Mark Smith or winger Matt Bradley, and may be willing to part with forward Todd Harvey. The Flames are offering either of two centres, Steve Begin and Scott Nichol.
The Kings have offered forward Steve Heinze and the Canucks are dangling forward Jarkko Ruutu.
The Florida Panthers expressed interest in Danton earlier this season but Lamoriello has no plans to trade him to an Eastern Conference team.
Lamoriello told Danton he would send him to a minor-league team other than the Devils' Albany farm team while he worked on a trade, but Danton declined and returned home after being promised a trade would be completed quickly.
"I haven't done anything wrong. This comes out of nowhere," Danton told The Star-Ledger. "Obviously I don't fit in here. Maybe I have to cut my hair a different length or shave more. I was told there would be no punishment, no grudge, but it was evident that Lou and I were never going to get along. Things were never going to work out."