By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
Following the Bruins’ overtime win over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, Bruins’ analysts Billy Jaffe and Andrew Raycroft on the Morning Bru podcast discussed the possibility of the Bruins exploring a trade for Columbus Blue Jackets superstar forward Patrik Laine. Laine has been a very intriguing player over the past couple of seasons ever since he was dealt to the Blue Jackets in the 2020-21 season. He will be a hot commodity for general managers during the trade deadline on March 21st.
Laine is a remarkable talent in the NHL and is perhaps known best for his quick, hard, and accurate release. He has exceptional hands and provides plenty of size as he stands at 6’5″, 210 lb. He had his career-best season with the Winnipeg Jets in his sophomore year (2017-18) in the NHL when he scored 44 goals and 26 assists in 82 games. If he’s appropriately slotted in the lineup and on special teams, Laine has all the makings to be an eventual Rocket Richard winner.
The 23 year old winger had a relatively slow start to the 2021-22 season as he recorded 15 points through 20 games. Since then, he’s exploded offensively, logging 21 points (including 13 goals) in his last 13 games. He’s started to look more like himself, and teams have certainly been eyeing him with his recent rapid offensive output.
With this said, is he a good fit for the Bruins? There are obvious benefits to adding a pure sniper to the Bruins roster. He would almost instantaneously improve the Bruins’ offense and size upfront. Boston will be looking to upgrade the offense’s right side, and Laine would add a whole new dynamic to the Bruins’ top-six. Laine is also a specialist on the powerplay with his lethal one-timer. While Laine isn’t the most physical player, he is excellent at getting inside position on defenders by using his large frame.
Despite the clear benefits of adding Liane, there are some things to be concerned about when adding such a highly sought-after elite forward. Firstly, his cap hit would be challenging for Boston management to finesse around. The Bruins have just over $3 million in cap space ahead of the trade deadline, so capital will have to be shipped out when adding Laine’s cap hit.
Andrew Raycroft on the Morning Bru Podcast was uncertain if the Bruins would be able to resign him. With Laine becoming a UFA after the 2023 season, Laine will be looking to cash out when his contract expires. Laine has a cap hit of $7.5 million for the remainder of this year and next year. If the Bruins intend to sign him, they would need to qualify him at a significantly higher value.
Another concern may be where Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy would slot Laine on the power play. On the man advantage, David Pastrnak and Laine are slotted in the one-timer position at the top of the left circle. The Bruins need a more substantial net-front presence on the power play, and Laine wouldn’t necessarily be an ideal fit for that. Cassidy could always put Laine on the second power-play unit, but there would be cause for concern about ice time for Laine.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Boston management kicked tires on Laine. As of right now, Boston needs to prioritize adding to their defense core over their forward depth. If the Bruins can trade for a defenseman that can manage top-four minutes and with a manageable cap space, Laine would be another elite piece to add to the Bruins core.
The Bruins would probably have to trade either this year’s first-round pick, one or two current roster players, and one or two prospects. The Bruins’ prospect pool has been dry over the last couple of seasons, so I would be reluctant to sell the Bruins’ top prospects, Fabian Lysell and Mason Lohrei. I’d be content losing one if Boston’s management thinks they use them as leverage to land an elite player like Laine.
Landing Laine would help push Boston to become a contender in the eastern conference. If Sweeney has the mindset of going “all in” for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Laine could be a significant piece in a cup run.
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