Patrik Laine could find himself on a new team again
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Pair of former high first round picks have reportedly hit the trade block ahead of the deadline

Published January 26, 2024 at 10:45

The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves sitting last in the Eastern Conference for the second season in a row and are marred by another season of despair that began with the hiring and firing of Mike Babcock before the season began. With their position in the standings, it doesn't come as a surprise that GM Jarmo Kekalainen is willing to make some significant trades to change the construction of his team and according to TSN's Darren Dreger, a pair of former high first round picks are among those that Kekalainen is willing to trade.

On TSN's Insider Trading yesterday, Dreger reported that Kekalainen is willing to listen to offers on both Patrik Laine and Ivan Provorov.

Prior to being drafted second overall in the 2016 draft behind Auston Matthews, there was a debate that Laine would have been the better pick. Since being drafted, however, Laine has fallen far out of any comparison with Matthews. Laine had scored 138 goals over his first four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, but since being traded to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois during the 2020-2021 season, he has scored just 66 goals and has failed to play in more than 56 games in a season. Laine has played in just 18 games for Columbus this season where he has tallied only 6 goals. The 25-year-old is signed through 2025-26 with an $8.7-million cap hit.

His teammate, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, Provorov was acquired by Columbus this past off-season in a three-way trade involving the Philadelphia Flyers and LA Kings. Provorov has been very good for the Blue Jackets offensively as he has tallied 23 points in 44 games this season while averaging slightly under 23 minutes per game. Unfortunately, his defensive issues have once again plagued him as he is minus -9. Provorov is signed through next season with a $4.725M cap hit following a $2.025M retention by the LA Kings in the trade this past summer.

Given the cap hit of Laine, any trade he's involved in likely won't take place until the off-season when teams have more flexibility, unless the team opts to retain 50% of his salary. However, with Provorov's salary already partially retained, he could be a prime candidate to be moved over the next six weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

The asking price for either player has not been revealed, but it is safe to say that the packages will likely be substantial as the Blue Jackets will want to continue to load up on young players, prospects and draft picks to support the likes of Adam Fantilli, David Jiricek and the other young pieces in Columbus.
January 26   |   371 answers
Pair of former high first round picks have reportedly hit the trade block ahead of the deadline

Would Laine or Provorov net the Blue Jackets the better return?

Laine13436.1 %
Provorov23763.9 %
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