NOVEMBER 17, 2017 | 4:17pm ET



Ryan Murray, defenceman


The Columbus Blue Jackets have been actively pursuing a top-line center since last season and continue their efforts this season.

In fact, according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, they've amplified their search for help up the middle.

The Blue Jackets were among the teams in the mix for forward Matt Duchene, but fell short and he was ultimately traded to the Ottawa Senators a couple of weeks ago.

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen has been scouring the market for a center effectively since he moved his top-center, Ryan Johansen, to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones last season.

Blueliner Ryan Murray has been among the players Columbus has been dangling as trade bait; the 24-year-old is in the final year of his contract, which comes with a $2.825 million salary cap hit.

It's unclear, at this point, whom the Blue Jackets are specifically targeting. The team has roughly $5.8 million in current salary cap space, according to, and would likely need to move at least one roster player in any move for a top center.

With Murray available, it's believed the Blue Jackets are interested in acquiring a player with term on his contract, rather than a pending unrestricted free agent.