NHL Rumors: Columbus Blue Jackets to Trade Patrik Laine

The Columbus Blue Jackets have their hands full of tough decisions this season including what to do with forward Patrik Laine who is a pending restricted free agent. According to Luke Fox of Sportsnet, he predicts Laine will be dealt before the Mar.21 trade deadline.

Fox reports on how Laine got off to a blazing start in 2021-22 but has since fell off, thanks to a number of variables. Even with the new coach in Columbus, it was an awkward situation starting this season for the Finnish sniper because he and Brad Larsen have battled it out in the past, when Larsen was an assistant to John Tortorella.

Fox adds

Despite the Finnish sniper’s hot start this fall (10 points in 10 games) — a fine rebound from his dismal 2020-21 — injury and the tragic death of his father, Harri, at age 54 have halted both his and the Jackets’ bid for playoff contention. Laine accepted a hefty qualifying offer last summer (one year at $7.5 million), but he’ll again be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2022. GM Jarmo Kekäläinen cannot run the risk of inking Laine to another one-year deal and effectively walking an elite talent to unrestricted free agency shortly after he turns 25. So, does Laine want to commit long-term to an organization that has been shedding assets for futures and clearly needs several more pieces to contend?

The Blue Jackets are currently 15-14-1 on the season and are out of the playoff picture. They have a ton of holes in the lineup and would be creating another big one by dealing away a young sniper. While Laine hasn't been lights out since arriving from Winnipeg, he's talented enough to turn it around at the blink of an eye.

In 11 games this season, he's recorded 11 points. I do agree with Fox however, the Blue Jackets are going to move Laine and two teams to look out for, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

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