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Three Patrik Laine Trade Destinations

Patrik Laine
(John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Three Patrik Laine Trade Destinations

Patrik Laine played his last game for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2023. After getting injured and entering in the player assistance program, it’s clear that the former #2 pick in the 2016 is struggling. First things first, we are wishing him all the best. The hope is that he regains his past form after Don Waddell trades him to a new team.

Remember, this is a guy who previously scored 44 goals as a 19-year-old on the Jets. His potential is through the roof and unfortunately, many different factors are keeping him from achieving it. One potential deterrent is his salary. Laine makes $8.7 million for another two seasons but the guess is Columbus will retain a good portion of that to help facilitate a deal. With all of that being said, here are three teams that could add the winger.

Carolina Hurricanes

It feels like every time a good player is available, the Canes will be in the mix. Even though they fell in disappointing fashion to the Rangers in the playoffs, their window is still wide open. However, Waddell’s former team has a laundry list of free agents to address this Summer. Sooner or later they will either have to bring them back or cut ties. They started with that by signing Jalen Chatfield to a three-year deal yesterday.

If they’re unable to come to an agreement with Martin Necas, then replacing him with Laine makes a lot of sense. He will be cost controlled, presumably with a cap hit around $5 million or so. Furthermore, his scoring touch fits in with what they’re trying to build. Imagine a powerplay where he takes passes from the likes of Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis. If Carolina ends up bringing back Jake Guentzel and adds someone like Laine for secondary scoring, that would go a long way at keeping them competitive in the Metro.

Nashville Predators

Barry Trotz has something up his sleeve. With cap space and draft picks to burn, he could get really creative in acquiring the Finnish forward. They can even afford to tell Columbus to retain a smaller amount of cap space in order to limit the return. Nashville is a place where so many players love to play. With no income tax, a vibrant city, and comfortable lifestyle features, there is a lot off the ice that could help Laine become comfortable on the ice. He will also have a Finnish friend to show him around in star goaltender Juuse Saros.

There is so much retained money on the books as well. The Preds are in a really unique spot where they have considerable financial flexibility and a lot of draft capital. Trotz could opt to build up the farm system into a powerhouse for future years or try and improve on a team that just made the playoffs last season. Laine is a perfect low-risk high-reward option that has the potential to light it up in Music City.

Vegas Golden Knights

Sorry Trey. But the Knights are definitely a left field destination for the Finnisher. Obviously their goal is to bring back both Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson out of free agency. However, the truth is they need to be prepared for scenarios where that does not happen. There’s already rumblings that they are sniffing around the status of Mitch Marner. But Laine at 50% salary retention ($4.35 million) would fit in perfectly for the Knights. We’ve seen what happens when all 20 players on that roster buy in. There’s going to be Stanley Cup aspirations in Las Vegas every single year.

Laine on the second line playing with someone like Ivan Barbashev and Wild Bill Karlsson would be tasty. They can throw their body around and score at a good clip. Even though a number of teams will be calling the Blue Jackets, it seems like a type of move Kelly McCrimmon would not be opposed to. They are not the first team fans think of, but you know they are always thinking outside of the box.

Patrik Laine is on the verge of a fresh start. Pretty much everyone agrees that getting away from a perpetual loser like the Blue Jackets will help. Where do you think he will be playing on opening night next season?

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