Why on Earth would the Jets Want to Trade the Talented Winger and Could the Flyers Land Him?
I remember the first time I saw film on Patrik Laine. It was a beast of a man, who flew on his skates and had a missile of a shot. I thought it was Alex Ovechkin. The twenty-two year old, six foot five inch, winger may not be quite as good as Alexander the great, but he certainly can score. A star scoring winger may be the one ingredient that the Flyers don’t yet have, apologies to Tyson Foerster.
Laine is the type of player any team would want to have, so why would Winnipeg want to trade him? There has been a lot of smoke, be it conflict with coaches, complaints about ice time, too much pressure, not enough pressure, lack of effort on defense and even bad line mates. None of the smoke that surrounds Laine has been substantiated by Laine’s camp or coaches, though Laine’s agents have stated they see Laine leaving the Jets.
From the players perspective Laine’s contract renewal has been on his mind as far back as 2019, after signing his extension he and his representation were not happy with. This could come down to simply money, or perceived disrespect. Negotiations sometimes leave wounds that never heal. This just feels like more than a money issue to me.
While Winnipeg is beautiful, and is the largest city in the province, it has less than a million people. It is not Miami, Chicago, New York or LA. Maybe the scene is a little to sleepy for a young single millionaire. This is pure speculation, but could be another reason to leave.
From the team’s perspective it seems the only hockey reason for the Jets to trade him is the salary cap. Worse yet, it is the salary cap just for this year. The Jets have under $100,00 in cap space, with three RFA still available. This season is a problem, though there will be cap relief with Bryan Little and his $5,200,000 cap hit likely to be on IR all season. Beyond this season, things are pretty smooth sailing with over 30 million dollars of cap space not committed in 21-22. It seems strange to be looking at moving an all world talent because of one bad cap year. But here we are.
ASIDE: If someone happened to be harboring some sort of hateful grudge against the Thrashers…err Jets, I would offer sheet Jack Roslovic, like yesterday.
With cap space so limited and players still left to sign for this season the Jets are particularly vulnerable right now. In a normal situation, a team would let the unhappy player finish his contract, then take the compensation for the player when they sign an offer sheet from another team. My guess is Laine would fetch at least two 1st round picks, a second round pick and a third round pick based on the RFA compensation table. Winnipeg still has that as an option, but has little roster flexibility in the meantime.