Patrik Laine, the Finnish sniper, is someone that many teams will be keeping their eye on this offseason. The former second overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has been in trade rumors ever since the end of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Things have started to heat up lately as Laine and his agent have said that a move would be mutually beneficial for both teams. Trading a young star is not something that happens too often in the league, but it might be something that the Jets look to do if need be.
The Jets are put in an almost no-win situation here with Laine being so valuable and teams lowballing offers with the intention of getting the disgruntled once 40 goal scorer for cheap.
Is Trading Laine Smart?
The simple answer is no, but the Jets may have no choice. An unhappy Laine will not perform on the ice the way he usually can. Hockey is a very mental game and having the thought of wanting to be on another team because of the current situation will create many distractions.
Off ice positive attitude and chemistry within the team enhances the team’s performance on the ice. Trade rumors throughout the Jets dressing room will have them focused on other areas rather than their play on the ice.
Laine has put up .45 goals per game in his career, with a 44 goal season under his belt. He is also a great passer, putting up 35 assists last season, something that he improved on drastically. He has one more year left on his contract and is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. He is making $6.75 million right now and is due for a big raise next season.
Winning a Laine trade is going to be something that is very hard for the Jets to do, but actually might make them more successful in their play due to the already sticky situation that they are in.
Who Will Trade for Laine?
With Laine being on the market, it is easy to say that every team would be looking for that type of player to have in their system. Below are destinations that should trade for Laine solely based on the need for a right winger. It also looks at what the Jets could potentially get in a return for the potential future Maurice Rocket Richard winner.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets will be one of the main teams that will be calling the Jets about Laine. With their general manager, Jarmo Kekäläinen being Finnish, he would love to get his hand on the fellow countryman to help out his already talented squad.
The Blue Jackets have a need at right wing with their top two being aging Cam Atkinson and former third-round pick Oliver Bjorkstrand. Laine would be a great addition and would immediately slot on to the top line.
The Jets could be looking at a variety of players to get back from the Blue Jackets. Some of the names that Columbus may be looking to add in a trade with Laine could be Bjorkstrand, Zach Werenski, Vladislav Gavrikov, Alex Texier, and Liam Foudy.
The Jets’ best trade option would be centered around defensemen Werenski, as he would provide them with a solid top-two defender to play with a guy like Josh Morrissey or Neal Pionk.
Laine would slot in very well for the Flyers as their top-line right winger. Jakub Voracek is getting old at 31 years of age. an injection of the younger Laine on to the top line would be lethal beside playmaker Claude Giroux and defensive forward Sean Couturier. Travis Konecny had a breakout season last year for the team, so he and Laine could be a great one-two punch on the right side of the forwards.
The Jets have many players on the Flyers that they would be interested in for production now and in the future. Konecny, Joel Farabee, Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, and Shayne Gostisbehere would be notable names who could be included.
A potential swap could look like Winnipeg native Patrick, Gostisbehere, and a 2021 first-round pick for Laine. This price may not be enough for the Flyers to sway the Jets, but it is a start in a long negotiation process.
New York Islanders
The Islanders desperately need Laine to play on their team next season. Matthew Barzal and Laine together could be potentially one of the top connections in the league. Barzal’s playmaking ability and Laine’s quick release could lead to plenty of goals in the future.
With the Islanders’ top right wingers being both 30-years-old and above in Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey, Laine could be the future of the first line.
In this situation, the Jets would be looking to fill some gaps in their lineup. Whether it be forward Anthony Beauvillier or defensemen Ryan Pulock, they will have plenty of options to choose from.
A potential trade with the Islanders should be surrounding Pulock if the Jets want some real value back. Pulock and Oliver Wahlstrom or a 2021 first-round pick should be something to consider.
A guy like Laine is irreplaceable due to his elite goal-scoring and high hockey IQ. In my personal opinion, the Jets should make a Laine trade that surrounds a top-pairing defenseman. This will give the Jets the opportunity to fill a hole that has yet to be filled since the void of Dustin Byfuglien.
The Jets can now use that hole at right wing to sign a solid free agent. Giving the Jets a top defensemen and the ability to sign someone should be something to consider. But who is available on the free-agent market?
Hoffman put up 59 points in 69 games last year and can fill in on the second line to help replace Laine. Based on last season, it would be an upgrade in the goal-scoring department as Hoffman had 29 and Laine, 28.
Duclair was a solid prospect in the NHL for many years before finally breaking out last season putting up 40 points with the struggling Ottawa Senators. Getting a player like Duclair could be a gamble by the Jets but could have a nice reward.
Patience is Key
The Jets should not rush into this trade and should wait until they get the right price for Laine. He has the potential to be a superstar for any NHL club and the Jets should weigh out all of their options before pulling the trigger on a potential blockbuster deal.
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