After a media avail that saw Patrik Laine actually be quite positive in his review of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, his former coach and his desire to potentially stay with the team, it’s interesting that a report is surfacing on Tuesday that the Blue Jackets would open to trading him. It’s especially interesting considering Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen also said he has full confidence Laine will bounce back from a not-so great season.
As per a report by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Kekalainen is more open to trading Laine than he’s ever been. There was some talk, although not very serious, that Laine might actually be moved at this past NHL Trade Deadline as the Blue Jackets were selling off other assets. He arrived in a trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois midseason, but struggled in his new environment. There was rumored friction with John Tortorella, but the belief was always that the Blue Jackets were hoping to put the pieces together that would help Laine succeed.
But, Portzline says there are some within the organization “who would support him being a one-and-done.” Apparently, they saw enough of Laine to know that investing in him long-term at a high dollar value isn’t wise. They cite bad body language or the lack of a center who can play the game at his pace and make it worth building around Laine. Finally, his energy level and passion are in serious doubt.
Portzline adds, “Kekalainen is said to be more open to trading Laine now than he was at the trade deadline. (Does Laine, Korpisalo and the two late-first-round picks get Eichel?)”
If a Laine trade is actually a real thing, what is Columbus doing? They traded a top-line center for a top-line winger, only to trade that top-line winger and pieces, for potentially a top-line center? If they do that, the Blue Jackets will, once again, need a top-line winger. What good does it do the Blue Jackets to have the center they want with no winger to go with him?
Perhaps there’s a reason the Blue Jackets have found it difficult to compete and be a contender every year. They’re constantly robbing from Peter to pay Paul.