Columbus Blue Jackets get a premier talent in Patrik Laine, but for how long?

Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

There is no doubt that the Columbus Blue Jackets are getting an elite talent in Patrik Laine.

We were treated to a blockbuster trade in the National Hockey League earlier today when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent disgruntled star Pierre-Luc Dubois along with a 2022 Third-Round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

As part of that huge, huge deal, the Jets retained 26 percent of Laine’s $6,750,000 salary this season, while the Blue Jackets signed RFA forward Roslovic to a two-year, $3.8 million deal with a $1.9 million Average Annual Value.

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There’s so much to unpack from this trade that developed rapidly and sent seismic waves throughout the hockey world, and we dissected the deal from the Winnipeg Jets perspective right here, who are certainly gaining a high-end center with a lot of upside in Pierre-Luc Dubois.

However, the Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired the more naturally-talented player in Patrik Laine, who has already developed into one of the purest goalscorers in the entire National Hockey League and he will solve a fatal flaw on this team: Goalscoring.

There is one big caveat at play here, though, and that’s the looming question over whether or not Laine will want to re-sign in Columbus when his contract expires at the end of this season given that he previously let it be known that he wanted to leave the Winnipeg Jets in order to play in a bigger market, which the Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t with all due respect.

Is Patrik Laine destined for a long-term relationship with the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Before we delve into that, however, let’s first focus on what Patrik Laine the player will bring to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Spoiler alert: it is going to be a hell of a lot.

Since being drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Laine has quickly established himself as one of the most potent and deadly snipers in the entire National Hockey League, morphing into a pure goalscorer who can light the lamp for fun when he’s at the peak of his powers.

Boasting a lightning-quick release, Laine is just a hell of a lot of fun to watch out on the ice and he will score goals no matter what. He’s also a deadly weapon on the power play and he will give this Blue Jackets team a significant scoring punch, which is exactly what they need given that they ranked 28th in Goals For Per Game (2.57) in 2019-20 and they currently rank 28th in the same category this season (2.00).

Therefore, acquiring a pure sniper in Laine, in addition to Jack Roslovic but we will delve into that part of the deal later on, will boost the Blue Jackets’ offense and give them an elite weapon that can maybe forge a good relationship and understanding with Max Domi on the top line.

Laine is the type of high-end talent that can explode for five goals in one game, as he did against the St. Louis Blues in November of 2018, while he has also scored 18 goals in just one month. Yes, you read that right. He has the talent to change the game in an instant and he will give the Blue Jackets every chance of continuing to be a Playoff team.

He has 250 points (140 G, 110 A) in 306 career NHL regular-season games, in addition to 16 points (8 G, 8 A) in 24 career Playoff games. Furthermore, the 22-year-old hasn’t recorded less than 50 points in each of his first four seasons in the NHL, while he has recorded 36 goals, 44 goals, 30 goals and 28 goals during his time in the NHL so far. Laine will just score goals and contribute a boatload of offense, and that is exactly what the Columbus Blue Jackets crave and need.

With 85 points (52 G, 33 A) on the power play, Laine will also significantly boost the Blue Jackets’ Special Teams and he could well develop into one of the most lethal and formidable weapons on the PP, with his bomb of a shot unstoppable at points and it could well help to take Columbus to that next level.

Granted, Laine has been accused of looking disinterested out on the ice at points, but that has probably more to do with the fact that he wanted out of Winnipeg and it is easy to forget that he’s still 22-years-old, so there is some maturing still to be done. Plus, although he has only played one game so far this year due to injury, Laine showed in the Jets’ 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames that not only was he as deadly as ever in the offensive zone with two goals and one assist for three points, but he also showed off a more polished and more-well rounded game, making big plays in his own zone and seeming more committed to the defensive side of the game.

That will be incredibly encouraging for the Blue Jackets and, while they will have to wait to see their shiny new toy in action due to the fact that he’s currently on Injured Reserve with a upper-body injury, it will be more than worth it given what Patrik Laine is capable of.

He’s got the potential and all the intangibles needed to morph into a 40-50 goalscorer every single year, while he boasts a powerful 6-foot-5 and 206 pounds frame that will allow him to be dominant and make a considerable impact in all three zones.

Patrik Laine (29)
Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29). Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports /

However, while all of that is great, there are doubts over whether or not Patrik Laine will want to re-sign long-term in Columbus given that he has previously expressed his wish to play in a bigger market, and we’ve seen the likes of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene flee Columbus in order to sign elsewhere in recent years.

But, one of Laine’s other big gripes with the Winnipeg Jets was that he wanted a bigger role, and he’ll almost be guaranteed top-line minutes and a starring role on the power play given the Blue Jackets’ lack of star power, so that could play a factor in the right-winger potentially being tempted into committing his long-term future to Columbus.

There is time given that Laine is a RFA at the end of this season and Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen will no doubt take his time in order to try and persuade Patrik Laine that this is the right team and place for him long-term, while the Finnish forward will have teammate and Columbus native Jack Roslovic telling him how great the city is.

There’s also the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets are renowned for their rigid defensive system, and Head Coach John Tortorella wants all of his players to commit to the system and put the team first, so Laine will need to adapt to that approach and be prepared to play a more well-rounded game in order to fit in.

Given what he has achieved in the league so far coupled with his potential and high ceiling, Laine will command a huge increase on his current $6,750,000 AAV, but the Blue Jackets will have the means to offer their new star a blockbuster deal in the offseason and they will no doubt be willing to pay a little extra in order to tempt one of the purest goalscorers in the National Hockey League to remain in Columbus.

dark. Next. Pierre-Luc Dubois a perfect fit for Winnipeg

Overall, the Columbus Blue Jackets have just gotten a whole lot better with the addition of Patrik Laine and, if they can somehow persuade the dynamic forward and the one-time All-Star that they can help him take that next giant leap in his career if he signs a long-term deal, then they could well end up winning this trade given the considerable talent they are now in possession of.