NHL

5 Biggest Stories to Follow During 2014 NHL Offseason

5 Biggest Stories to Follow During 2014 NHL Offseason

2014 NHL Offseason 5 Biggest Stories to Follow
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The 2014 NHL offseason is setting up to be one of the most exciting summers that the league has had in a number of years. Here are five of the biggest stories to keep an eye on as we enter the heart of the offseason.

5. Chicago Blackhawks' Search for a Second-Line Center

Chicago Blackhawks Second Line Center
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5. Chicago Blackhawks' Search for a Second-Line Center

Chicago Blackhawks Second Line Center
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For all the talent that the Chicago Blackhawks boast, the team hasn't had a legitimate second-line center since 2010 when Patrick Sharp lined up in that spot. With Joel Quenneville for whatever reason unwilling to put Sharp back there, there has been and remains a noticeable roster hole in the Blackhawks' top six. Michal Handzus was atrocious on the second line in 2013-14. Chicago is in on the Ryan Kesler and Joe Thornton trade discussions.

4. Will the Florida Panthers Trade the First Overall Pick?

First Overall Pick Dale Tallon Florida Panthers
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4. Will the Florida Panthers Trade the First Overall Pick?

First Overall Pick Dale Tallon Florida Panthers
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Florida Panthers' GM Dale Tallon has made it known that he's willing to entertain offers for the first overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Reports indicate that Florida has talked to the Vancouver Canucks about flipping the first overall pick for Vancouver's sixth overall as well as defenseman Christopher Tanev. With the draft less than a week away, this is certainly a story to watch.

3. Jason Spezza Trade Talks

Jason Spezza Trade Ottawa Senators
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3. Jason Spezza Trade Talks

Jason Spezza Trade Ottawa Senators
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Jason Spezza has requested a trade, and the Ottawa Senators appear willing to grant it. The Senators are a budget team and are very unlikely to retain a significant amount of salary in any trade involving Spezza, which narrows down the list of potential suitors quite a bit in light of his limited no trade clause. His ability as a high-end first-line center will make these trade talks and rumors very interesting to observe this offseason.

2. The Ryan Kesler Trade Saga

Ryan Kesler Trade Vancouver Canucks
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2. The Ryan Kesler Trade Saga

Ryan Kesler Trade Vancouver Canucks
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Like Spezza, Ryan Kesler wants out. It's a dangerous game to demand a trade from the fastidious Vancouver Canucks these days, an organization with a well-documented tendency to overvalue its own players in trade discussions. The Canucks reportedly demanded Teuvo Teravainen and Brandon Saad from Chicago in exchange for Kesler, an outright silly and lopsided proposal in Vancouver's favor. It'll be fascinating to see if any team bites.

1. San Jose Sharks Fire Sale

San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton Patrick Marleau Brent Burns
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1. San Jose Sharks Fire Sale

San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton Patrick Marleau Brent Burns
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The San Jose Sharks are primed to undergo a major retool this offseason. Doug Wilson has all but said out loud that at least one and possibly both of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will be traded. Joe Pavelski apparently isn't off of the dealing table either. After a historic collapse against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs, San Jose's impending fire sale is by far the most intriguing story to watch this offseason.

Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.