So this is what we are learning about the upcoming NHL draft: If you want to move into the Top 4, prepare to give up your first-born child.

The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche refuse to confirm it, but the source is excellent: Flames general manager Jay Feaster recently made a bold move, offering his three first-round draft picks (sixth, 22nd, 28th) to Colorado for the No. 1 overall selection. The Avalanche said no. And the rebuff came fast.

This is consistent with what Patrick Roy has said, that if his team is going to move out of the Top 3, it will take a magnificent offer. Calgary's fell short because it did not include anyone ready to play in the NHL right now. And we're not talking about just anybody. We're talking a significant force.

The other question (and I doubt I'm going to get an answer at this time): did Calgary make a similar offer to anyone else?

Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay and Nashville have the first four picks. The players available in those spots are highly regarded. Roy, Colorado's new head coach and vice-president of hockey operations, is on record as saying he is not going below No. 3. Teams believe the Panthers are not going below No. 4, if they are going anywhere at all. The Lightning and Predators are similarly stubborn.

I don't blame them. The salary cap is going down, at least for one year. Your chances of winning are greater with competitive players on entry-level contracts. The Predators, in particular, could be getting the most skilled offensive talent in franchise history. So if you are going to try and tempt those teams, come at them with a Kate Upton, not a Meg Griffin.

The one caveat I'll offer here is, as three GMs surmised last weekend, "History shows the best offers always come right before your pick." That's a quote from one, but there were two similar comments.

As we get closer, the offers may get better, but they've got to be great if three first-rounders isn't enough.

That brings us to Carolina, which have the No. 5 spot. Other execs believe Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is ready to deal (he was unavailable for comment). The bar is raised for Carolina. There is no more Southeast Division and, under re-alignment, the Tar Heel State is dealing with four teams that made the playoffs this season as well as the 2012 Stanley Cup finalist, the vastly improved Columbus Blue Jackets and the cash-rich Philadelphia Flyers.

It is no secret that the Hurricanes were disappointed by their lockout-shortened season. They expected to be better than 19-25-4. There will be a very good player available in the No. 5 spot, but would a Top 4 defenceman with experience and term remaining be better for Carolina?

If you have one and a first-round pick, there is a belief you can get to that spot. Edmonton, selecting seventh overall, had discussions with the Hurricanes, but it sounds like those talks cooled.

Things can -- and probably will -- change over the next couple of weeks, but if you're outside the Top 5, Carolina is your most realistic target for now.