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Countdown to the deadline: Avs

GMs have been making calls about Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda. Bill Smith/NHLI/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche aren't going to be terribly busy ahead of Monday's trade deadline, other than a move or two. It's been a disappointing season, the playoffs are a long shot at this point, but they will keep the long-term view in mind and avoid any knee-jerk decisions. "First of all, with our core we're going to stay patient," Avs GM Joe Sakic told ESPN.com Saturday night. "We're young. To me, it's been a very good learning year for us. I don't think we were ready at the start of the year for what it takes to make the next step, but that's a learning process. I really like the way the guys have played the last 3-4 weeks, not quitting, but playing with that excitement they played with last year. So I think it's coming. Whether or not we make it this year, time will tell, but for this Monday, I can tell you we're not looking at acquiring anyone for the short term. For us to do anything, it has to make sense long-term." STATUS: Moderate seller

Available: Pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Jan Hejda ($3.25 million cap hit) is the most likely to move and the guy who's already been the subject of some calls. "His name has come up and quite a few GMs have inquired about him," Sakic said of Hejda, a dependable third-pair blueliner. "That's something the next couple of days, if something makes sense, we'll see. ... I like Jan, we'd like to have him back, but it is something we're going to have to discuss in the next couple of days if we want to go down that path. Because he is UFA. That's why teams are inquiring."

Finances: The salary cap is a nonissue, although the budget is something the Avs monitor. It's why the Ryan O'Reilly situation this summer is worth watching. More on that below.

Scouting the GM: Sakic and the Avs rarely tip their hand, but it's clear regarding O'Reilly because he has just one more year on his contract after this season and a big decision has to be made this offseason. He either gets signed long-term or he gets traded. O'Reilly's name has been out there in trade rumors all season, but the reality is that it's an offseason decision, not a Monday decision. "Ryan is part of our core," Sakic said. "My intention is that at the end of the year I want to try and re-sign him. That will be the goal with Ryan. That being said, we're not going to want that same distraction going on all year next season, either. But he's a guy I want to have here. And hopefully we can work something out this summer."