Rumour Roundup: Latest buzz on Laine, Marner

Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli joins The FAN Pregame to discuss the report that Patrik Laine has requested a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets and what the market may look like for the forward if the team does decide to move him.

Patrik Laine, the second-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is likely to be on the move for the second time in his career.

The forward, who was acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the trade that sent Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg, played just 18 games for the Blue Jackets this season before being sidelined with a broken clavicle in mid-December. During his recovery, he checked into the NHL/NHLPA’s player assistance program, which kept him out of game action for the remainder of the season.

During the games he did play, however, both Laine and his coaches weren’t happy with the level at which he was performing.

“Pretty awful so far,” Laine said of his play, just three games into the season. Just over a month later, head coach Pascal Vincent made the Blue Jackets’ third-highest paid player a healthy scratch.

It’s no surprise then that the 26-year-old Finn has been wanting a change of scenery, and his club is willing to make that happen.

During his appearance on The Jeff Marek Show, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Blue Jackets have been working on a trade since early last season but that there are a few hurdles to get past to make it work.

“Just as a player, I think there’s a lot of interest in Laine, but because of the contract, it makes it more complicated,” Friedman explained. “It comes down to, what’s Columbus going to want in return and are they willing to keep money?”

Laine currently has two years remaining on his contract at $8.7 million per year and has a modified no-trade clause, so he retains some control over where he ends up.

“Here’s the one thing that I wonder about,” Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek added. “That is Utah. But, if you look at what Utah wants to do right now with this team, I’m of the belief that they want veteran players on short-term deals… Until their kids are ready. Until the Logan Cooley’s are ready.”

Marek explained that, in a league where goals can be hard to come by, this young Utah roster may benefit from having a proven goal-scorer in their midst. Laine has scored 30+ goals in three of his seasons in the NHL, including a 44-goal season his sophomore year in Winnipeg. Though his production dipped in recent years, he’s still shown that he has the ability to be effective at an NHL level, scoring under 20 goals in just three of his eight NHL seasons.

Utah has the cash and the cap space to acquire Laine, and hewould likely provide a boost to the team’s production, but he also has not played a full 82-game season since 2018-19.

“The issue with Laine is simply because of the injuries (which) I think makes it riskier,” Friedman said.

Despite the complications, it seems that the Laine saga is far from over, especially with seasoned general manager Don Waddell at the helm in Columbus. Expect the Blue Jackets to make a big swing this off-season.

Marner on the move?

When playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs — arguably hockey’s biggest market — a bit of noise should, at the very least, be expected. This season, though, has been noisier than anticipated for Mitch Marner, and the speculation doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.

After the Maple Leafs failed to advance past the first round for the seventh time in eight straight years, the prevailing belief was that the club couldn’t run it back with the same roster and some big changes needed to be made to the core. But with Auston Matthews and William Nylander both locked down with monster contracts, it seemed like Marner may be the odd man out, and a divorce between the two parties was a possibility.

The 27-year-old is entering the final season of his six-year, $65-million contract and is, technically, eligible to sign an extension on July 1.

Speaking on Leafs Morning Take on Wednesday, Friedman explained that there are many moving parts when it comes to the relationship between the Maple Leafs and Marner.

“I think people are underestimating just how complicated this whole thing is,” he said.

Two of the primary causes for concern are a) the contract Marner’s camp will be asking for and b) the no-move clause attached to his current contract. Add on the fact that Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris, prefers to go to free agency and Marner’s immediate future looks a bit murky.

Friedman believes that “unless they find a way to sell Marner on it,” this saga extends past this off-season.

“His first choice is to stay, I have no doubt about that,” Friedman explained. “I do think that, deep down, he understands that there’s the possibility that this is it.”

If Marner does go, who might be in on the perennial point-per-game player?

When it comes to star players being made available, it’s simply foolish to count the Vegas Golden Knights out.

“This is a team that has traded for Jack Eichel, traded for Mark Stone, and they went out and got Alex Pietrangelo in free agency,” Friedman said. “You’d have to be nuts to think Vegas wouldn’t be on it.

“I don’t know if there is any truth to (the trade rumours) right now, I just believe that if Marner’s available, a team like Vegas is going to be poking around.”

As the playoffs wind down and the off-season ratchets up, Brad Treliving and the Maple Leafs front office will have much to think about leading up to October.

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