NHL Trade Rumors: Patrik Laine Linked To Interesting Team

Patrik Laine, the second-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is likely on the move again, with the Utah Hockey Club emerging as an intriguing destination, as put forward by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet. 

The 26-year-old forward, who was acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the trade that sent Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg, played just 18 games this season before being sidelined with a broken clavicle and entering the NHL/NHLPA's player assistance program. 

Despite his limited play, Laine's potential and scoring ability make him a valuable asset, though his $8.7 million per year contract with two years remaining and a modified no-trade clause complicate matters.

During his appearance on The Jeff Marek Show, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that the Blue Jackets have been working on a trade for Laine since early last season. 

Utah, with its ample cap space and need for veteran players to support their young talent like Logan Cooley, could be a suitable fit. 

Laine's scoring prowess, evidenced by three 30+ goal seasons could provide a significant boost to Utah's offensive production. Jeff Marek suggested that Utah's young roster could greatly benefit from having a proven goal scorer like Laine in their ranks.

However, concerns about Laine's injury history and inconsistent performance remain. 

The Blue Jackets are likely looking to offload Laine’s entire contract, which could limit their return. They might need to retain part of his salary or take on an expensive, struggling veteran to facilitate a trade. 

Despite these challenges, the potential for Laine to rejuvenate his career in Utah, coupled with the team's financial flexibility and strategic needs, keeps this possibility on the radar as the Blue Jackets look to make a significant move this offseason.

Over his four seasons with Columbus, the 26-year-old has recorded 64 goals and 74 assists for 138 total points across 174 games played.

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports