NHL Trade Rumors: Penguins Linked To Patrik Laine In 1-For-1 Trade

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been linked to Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine as a potential trade target, according to Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

As the NHL free agency period approaches, team president Kyle Dubas is exploring ways to rejuvenate the Penguins' offense without sacrificing future assets. 

Laine, once a 40-goal scorer, has struggled recently, including a failed move to center and a season marred by mental health challenges. However, his scoring prowess remains undeniable, and a change of scenery could help him rediscover his form.

A proposed trade scenario involves swapping Penguins winger Reilly Smith for Laine, as noted by Vensel. 

This move could benefit both teams, providing Laine with a fresh start in Pittsburgh and Smith with a similar opportunity in Columbus. 

In his first season with Pittsburgh, the 33-year-old Smith recorded 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 total points across 76 games played.

For the Penguins, acquiring Laine would mean taking on his $8.7 million cap hit, but the potential upside of his scoring ability could justify the investment. 

Laine's ability to capitalize on scoring chances, especially on the power play, would be a significant addition to a team that has struggled to convert expected goals into actual goals.

From the Blue Jackets' perspective, trading Laine for Smith offers immediate cap relief, reducing their financial commitment and providing flexibility to move Smith if needed. 

Smith is under contract for one more season at a cap hit of $5M.

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

This trade would allow the Blue Jackets to improve their roster without parting with draft picks or prospects. Overall, the proposed deal presents a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for the Penguins to enhance their offensive depth and a practical solution for the Blue Jackets to manage their salary cap effectively.

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