Star Winger’s Trade Request Could Benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs

Patrik Laine's trade recent trade request from the Columbus Blue Jackets could open a window of opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs if the price is right.
Patrik Laine's trade request benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrik Laine's trade request benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs should consider a buy-low opportunity that has the potential for a big reward.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine has requested a trade, insider Pierre LeBrun reports. With that announcement, speculation begins to emerge regarding potential landing spots for the former second-overall pick, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to LeBrun’s report, Patrik Laine is looking for a fresh start. While that may sound like a vague term, the fact of the matter is that Laine could use a change of scenery, especially in a location where he wouldn’t be relied upon to be a leading scorer.

So, this situation begs the question: Could the Toronto Maple Leafs benefit from trading for Patrik Laine? The short answer is yes but for the right price. The long answer, however, has many layers to peel back. Let’s explore those layers as we consider the potential benefits that Patrik Laine could offer Toronto.

How Patrik Laine’s trade request could benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Laine situation is similar to the Jesse Puljujarvi saga in Edmonton. Curiously enough, Puljujarvi was selected fourth, two spots down from Laine. Puljujarvi never really hit it off in Edmonton. Tried as the Oilers did to get Puljujarvi going, they couldn’t help Puljujarvi find any traction in Edmonton.

Puljajarvi eventually left Edmonton and, after bouncing around for a bit, seems to have settled in with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 22 games this past season, he registered four points. That may not set the world on fire, but it’s a start for a player who had such high expectations.

So, the same goes for Laine. He’s hit arguably the lowest point of his career, but he's only 26 and still incredibly talented.

Patrik Laine can skate and score and when he's on his game is potentially as one of the best scorers in the NHL. While Laine’s defensive game may leave much to be desired, Laine also needs structure and discipline. That’s what Mike Babcock was supposed to bring Columbus, but that never happened.

In Toronto, Laine would be under the strong hand of Craig Berube. Berube’s system and coaching style could actually benefit Laine. Then again, it’s Berube’s style that may turn off Laine from joining the Leafs.

But there’s one other key consideration. Laine seems a lot like William Nylander. Both have high-end skills but don’t really seem to relish being in the spotlight. They don’t seem too comfortable with being the go-to guys. As such, Laine playing on the third line with John Tavares at center could be a huge boost to Laine.

The key is to take the spotlight off Laine. In Toronto, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Nylander can take plenty of attention away from Laine. If Laine can sort of fly under the radar for a while, it could gradually help boost his confidence. Not having to be relied upon to lead a team could be just what Laine needs to get his head back in the right place.

Now, here comes the eight-million-dollar question: Laine has an $8.7 million cap hit. That will definitely not work for the Leafs. But if the Leafs can negotiate salary retention, a deal might make sense. Given the Blue Jackets would have a hard time finding any takers, the Leafs could get Columbus to retain half and still accept a rock-bottom price.


Ultimately, Laine returning to 40-goal form is wishful thinking. A successful turnaround for this career could be notching 20 goals and staying healthy. That production may not seem good enough even for a four-million-dollar cap hit. At least Brad Treliving should kick the tires on Laine. Perhaps something may come out of nothing.