NHL Rumors: Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Colorado Avalanche
The Columbus Blue Jackets could be in the market for a second-line center. Keys to the offseason for the Colorado Avalanche.
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The Blue Jackets could be in the market for a second-line center

Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch: The Columbus Blue Jackets will likely be looking at adding a centerman this offseason, but they aren’t easy to come by.

“Our center ice position has always been talked about,” coach John Tortorella said last month, when asked during a season-ending conference call what areas he would like to upgrade this offseason. “You just don’t find center-ice men in the league (via free agency). Everybody’s looking for those guys.”

They could use a second-line center to go between Pierre-Luc Dubois and Boone Jenner.

The UFA market for centers is thin, with Mikael Granlund the likely top center available. If they go the trade route, they have some good young forwards and defensemen, to go along with two-mid 20’s goaltenders that they could make available.

Would the Edmonton Oilers be interested in moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for help on the blue line and in net? Could be a risk for the Blue Jackets as Nugent-Hopkins only has a year left on his deal.

Keys to the offseason for the Colorado Avalanche

Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN: Looking at some offseason questions and decisions for the Colorado Avalanche.

Decisions on their restricted free agents – The Avs have about $22 million in salary cap space with six restricted free agents to make decisions on – Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Graves, Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev, Valeri Nichushkin, and Nikita Zadorov. Burakovsky and Graves could get long-term deals. Jost could get a ‘cheap’ deal. Zadorov has been inconsistent and it will be interesting to see what they do with him.

Decisions on their UFAs – A group that includes Mark Barberio, Kevin Connauton, Michael Hutchinson, Vladislav Namestnikov, Matt Nieto and Colin Wilson. Barberio and Connauton are depth Dmen and could retain on a friendly deal. Nieto could be back. Namestnikov may cost too much. They could look to upgrade in net.

Make a splash move – The Avs seem ready to be a contender and have some cap space they could use to their advantage. They had kicked tires on Taylor Hall before and could revisit it. If they want to upgrade their blue line, what about Alex Pietrangelo if he hits the open market? They would have to keep in mind that Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog will need new contracts next offseason.