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Avalanche's search for left-handed defenseman could spark O'Reilly trade

Rick Wilking / REUTERS

The Colorado Avalanche have set a clear goal for the summer.

The team is looking to add a left-handed defenseman to play alongside either Jack Johnson or Tyson Barrie in the club's top two pairings, head coach Patrick Roy indicated last week.

While general manager Joe Sakic said recently he would like to get Ryan O'Reilly signed to a long-term deal, Terry Frei of the Denver Post suggests the center could be used as a trade chip to fill that need on the blue line:

A trade of Ryan O'Reilly also could land a defenseman. It's universally recognized that he's a terrific two-way player. The question continues to be whether that is sufficiently coveted - especially given his salary benchmarks and his camp's past negotiating militancy in a hard-cap league - for him to be the major element in a deal that brings a difference-making defenseman to Colorado.

O'Reilly has one year and $6 million remaining on his contract before he's eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

There are some attractive left-hand shots available in free agency come July 1, namely Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff.

The failure to lure a player on the open market, coupled with an inability to agree to terms with O'Reilly, could very well precipitate a deal.

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