The Winnipeg Jets are reportedly looking into the possibility of moving top forward Patrik Laine this offseason and it did not take long for a frontrunner to emerge in these sweepstakes.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is willing to listen to offers for Laine, who has one-year remaining on his contract that will see him earn a $7.5 million salary, though his cap hit is $6.75 million. According to Pierre LeBrun, who spoke about the rumours around the forward on last night’s Insider Trading, there is one Eastern Conference team already thinking about making a splash for Laine.
“One team that has some interest in Patrik Laine at some level is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dregs, of course, they got ample salary cap room, they lost a big time offensive threat a year ago when our? Artemi Panarin walked into free agency and never really replaced him. And certainly Jarmo Kekalainen has some insight on Patrik Laine, but what is the price? And I think they’re kind of sitting in the weeds right now because of that. The Carolina Hurricanes, I’m told, are a team that have had a conversation with the Winnipeg Jets about Patrik Laine, but it didn’t get very far. I don’t know that the Hurricanes feel there’s a fit there at this point. A team that could certainly use some elite scoring on their top line would be the Montreal Canadiens. But I’m told at this juncture that the Montreal Canadiens don’t intend to get in on the Laine sweepstakes.”
There are no doubt several teams would have interest in the 22-year-old sniper, but the Jackets might have a desperate edge to make it happen. For now, the speculation doesn’t say what would be needed to land Laine, though it is believed the Jets are a second-line centre and at least one top-four defenseman either via trade or free agency.
In his fourth season in the NHL, Laine recorded 28 goals and a career-high 35 assists for 63 points in 68 games and will surely be a coveted player on the trade block.
Let’s see if the Blue Jackets come out on top…