Blue Jackets $34 Million Winger Pitched as Canadiens Target

The Montreal Canadies might explore trading for Columbus Blue Jackets' Patrik Laine.

Getty The Montreal Canadies might explore trading for Columbus Blue Jackets' Patrik Laine.

After making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021, the Montreal Canadiens are in the middle of a retooling (or rebuilding, depending on how you look at it) effort.

Former player agent David Ettedgui of BPM Sports, on June 6, suggested a couple of players, both former No. 2 picks, the Habs should look to get to improve their roster.

Most interestingly, he mentioned Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine as a potential Habs trade target ahead of the 2025 season. Laine, for context, is under contract for the next two seasons after signing a four-year, $34.8 million deal in July 2022.

Ultimately, Ettedgui (via considers Laine one of the two logical targets for the Canadiens, alongside New York Rangers winger and fellow No. 2 pick Kaapo Kakko.

“Laine has an offensive style that could fit the needs of the Montreal organization,” Ettedgui said, making him a player Montreal should try to trade for. “Laine has a contract that pays him $8.7M annually and ends in the summer of 2026. The Jackets would probably withhold part of his salary because Laine isn’t worth as much, but still.”

Patrik Laine’s future with the Columbus Blue Jackets remains uncertain as the franchise enters a new era under new General Manager Don Waddell.

Canadiens GM On Bold Offseason Plans

Habs general manager Kent Hughes shared with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that he plans to take a bold approach this offseason to strengthen the team’s roster.

The strategy may involve exploring both trade opportunities and free-agent signings. The plan could be boosted by moving the No. 5 pick in the 2024 draft.

“If we can acquire a player or move up in the draft, we have to consider any possible ways to enhance this team,” Hughes said in his interview with LeBrun on June 3. “We’re not confined to improvements only for the next season, but if that happens, it’s a bonus.”

The Habs could trade their No. 5 pick in the 2024 draft for a proven player. LeBrun specifically noted that Martin Necas is among the players Montreal has shown interest in, although GM Hughes told the insider that the original (and current) plan is to draft a prospect.

“As it stands at the moment, though, Hughes said it’s more likely than not they keep the pick and draft at No. 5,” LeBrun reported.

While the Canadiens aim to draft a forward, they might trade their pick if they find a suitable player. This decision will ultimately be determined on draft day.

“This year, I think it will be more of an in-the-moment decision. The draft seems less predictable this time around,” Hughes said.

PuckPedia projects Montreal to have $9.1 million of cap space entering the offseason with 19 players already in their active roster. The Habs also have 41 of a maximum of 50 players under standard contracts.

Patrick Laine’s Struggles At Columbus Are Notable

Laine has struggled with inconsistent play and prolonged absences since arriving in Columbus, and he could be a trade candidate, per Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

“The Blue Jackets have shown an appropriate level of concern for Patrik Laine,” Portzline reported on April 22. “The club heads into the offseason not quite sure what to expect from Laine next season or in the future.”

In addition to that April report, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated about Laine’s future on The Jeff Marek Show on May 27.

“Laine finished last season, you know, he was, he needed some mental health work and that was very important,” Friedman said. “And you hope he’s in a really good place. But, some, one of the things I always think about after players need that kind of a break is, do you feel that you’re in the right situation, or do you have to look for a different situation?

“I don’t know the answer. I’m not reporting anything here. But I definitely think there would have to be a conversation with Laine about you know, how are you doing? That’s the most important thing. And where do we go from here?”

The Winnipeg Jets traded Laine to the Blue Jackets in January 2021. Laine’s performance has not matched his early success in Winnipeg, where he scored 36, 44, 30, and 28 goals before the trade. Laine has totaled 64 goals and 138 points over 174 games with Columbus.

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