It was an uncharacteristically underachieving season for Columbus Blue Jackets Left Wing (LW) Patrik Laine. Laine who’s production has never been an issue until he was traded to the Blue Jackets found himself in a rut that he simply could not get out of. Be it the trade, the pandemic, new teammates or whatever was the root cause, Laine himself said he has to be better and vowed to be better next season.
Sure the Columbus Blue Jackets were rumored to be trading Patrik Laine. I do not believe that is the case now. I say that because Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, and new head coach Brad Larsen have both said recently they want to put better talent around him. That does not sound like there is an intention to trade.
Not to mention why would the Columbus Blue Jackets trade the young Finnish LW? Since coming into the NHL in 2016 Laine’s goals are 36, 44, 30, 20, 12. I understand it is the 12 (between Winnipeg and Columbus) that jumps off the screen. Stop it! Patrik Laine is a pure goal scorer. A sniper in the truest since of the word.
One reason I am able to envision a turnaround for Laine is the Columbus Blue Jackets need, no make that really need a top line center. By all accounts Kekalainen has made that one of the biggest goals this offseason.
That name more than any other that has been attached to the Blue Jackets is disgruntled Buffalo Sabers center Sam Reinhart. Reinhart would be a great fit for the Blue Jackets as top center. Reinhart scores 20+ goals with regularity and his playmaking ability would push the Blue Jackets top line into a very solid group.
A top line of Laine-Reinhart- Bjokstarnd would give the Blue Jackets serious firepower (pun and no pun intended) from the top line. Oliver Bjorkstand is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of, scoring a career high 18 goals last season, yet the right wing (RW) can give even more.
To recap, the Columbus Blue Jackets need Patrik Laine. He is simply to good to simply trade away. With the right center his numbers will return. Does Columbus want him to do it with another team? I do not think so.