The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Consider Trading for Patrik Laine

The Toronto Maple Leafs should look at the Jake McCabe trade as an example of how to acquire Laine.
Dec 14, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman William Lagesson (85) upends Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine (29) as they go to the boards during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman William Lagesson (85) upends Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine (29) as they go to the boards during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Toronto Maple Leafs should seriously consider adding Patrik Laine to their roster through a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Laine would be an expensive (contractually) player that the Toronto Maple Leafs could use to off-set the loss of Mitch Marner, should they decide to trade him (they shouldn't). Even if they keep Marner, they should look into acquiring Laine.

The former number-two overal pick from 2016 (behind Auston Matthews) is coming off the worst season of his career, and a stint in the NHL's Player Assistance Program, and is looking for a fresh start.

Laine is 26 and has an $8.7 million cap-hit for the next two seasons.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade for Patrik Laine

Laine is an elite scorer whose best season is 44 goals, which he achieved all the way back in 2018.

The former Jets superstar is prime canddiate for a bounce-back season and is he kind of distressed asset every smart team should be looking for.

In the NHL, you rarely get the chance to add a franchise-level player, unless that player is not living up to his talent. The rarity of such a player makes it exciting when one is available.

The Blue Jackets likely won't get a lot for Laine, and the best they will do is either give him away to get out of the money owed, or eat half the cap hit in order to get something good for him.

This is were the Leafs come in. The Leafs, if smart, would try to work in a third team and get him double-retained. Imagine having Patrik Laine on the Jake McCabe Deal - 2 x years for less than half price.

We're probably dreaming here, but in the NHL there is full parity and teams need every advantage they can get. Someone with Laine's talent and lack of recent success are a perfect example of a player a team could buy-low on with the hopes of hitting a home-run.

Laine's had several years of not coming close to living up to his contract and the team that owns his rights can't possibly expect a big return.

The Leafs are a top offensive team that always has problems scoring when it counts. You have to think the idea of adding of the the best pure shooters in the world would appeal to them.

Getting Laine at his full contract is a high-risk proposition. Once you pay him and make room to fit him in, and pay to acquire him, he will need to live up to his former reputation to make it worthwhile, and that's too high of a risk.

But, if you pay the cost to get him into the lineup for under $3 million buy double-retaining him with a third team, suddenly you have the chance to have one of the best team-friendly deals in the league.

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Given how it worked out with Jake McCabe, we know the Leafs are familiar with this type of thinking. There are few better opportunities right now to make the team better.