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June 25, 2012 | 10:20am ET
Nash-trade on hold until July?

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it is likely that captain Rick Nash will remain a Blue Jacket through the start of the free agency on July 1.

Although Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson mentioned that none of the offers he received for Nash came close to be finalized, he is still hopeful that he will get the return offer he is seeking for the top-forward.

"I thought there might be (more interest at the draft)," Howson told the paper. "But there wasn't."

While Nash and his agent Joe Resnick aren't commenting on the situation, it is believed the 28-year-old has become irritated with the holdup, especially now that the Dispatch expects a potential deal to take place a few days past the opening of free agency.

Howson is hoping that free agency will boost Nash's value, as several teams will miss out on Nashville's Ryan Suter and New Jersey's Zach Parise.

"The landscape will become a lot more certain on July 1," Howson said.

However, teams that were said to have interest in Nash, such as the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, have already dealt for an offensive boost, with the Canes dealing for Jordan Staal and the Leafs acquiring James van Riemsdyk over the Draft weekend.

The New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks are still believed to be potential destinations for Nash, though Anaheim Ducks sniper Bobby Ryan is now also on the trade block with similar contenders looking to land the winger.

This could be another challenge for Howson, as well as the fact that the Senators do not seem to appear on the Nash's list of preferred destinations.

As for the Jackets' needs this off-season, Howson will focus on boosting the team's offense after taking care of the club's top priority to improve in between the pipes as they traded with Philadelphia for netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, who can compete with Steve Mason for the No. 1 spot.

"We don't have enough forwards right now," Howson said. "That's something we have to look at through free agency or trade.

"The free-agency market is not something that's going to get us a high scorer."

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