The list of potential available defenseman for the NHL trade deadline keeps shrinking by the day.

Yesterday the New York Islanders traded James Wisniewski to Montreal. Today the Dallas Stars — yes those cash-strapped, ownership-transitioning Stars — re-signed veteran Trevor Daley to a six-year contract worth a cap hit of $3.3. per season, which will kick in next year with a no-trade clause.

Daley, 27, is a speedy puck-mover who might’ve looked nice in black and gold come late February. His cap hit of just $2.3 million for this season would’ve made him an attractive target for the Bruins and other teams. You can understand the Stars, currently third in the Western Conference, holding onto Daley. But it’s hard to understand why they’d extend him now — making their efforts to re-sign star center Brad Richards even more difficult.

Nonetheless, as every day passes it looks more and more likely that the Bruins’ big addition on defense down the road might only be the return of a healthy Mark Stuart. There’s still plenty of shopping days until Feb. 28. But with so many teams “in the race” due to charity points and a six-division alignment, plus teams’ general reluctance to part with above-average blueliners to begin with, prices should be sky-high and probably out of reach for the Bruins.