Ah Winnipeg… better known for its chilling winter winds at the corner of Portage and Main, and in summer months for its mosquitoes and for its… Patrik Laine trade rumours! Yes, they’re back again this year. TSN’s Frank Seravalli mentioned that he will be on his list of most likely players to get traded later on this week. Jets’ fans are likely rolling their eyes while fans from other teams are once again bringing their own hopes up. What else is new? But this time, Laine won’t feel as lonely as the name of teammate Nikolaj Ehlers in making the rounds with him.
So apparently, the reason why the Jets would be considering sacrificing one of them is to address their needs for secondary scoring and defense. Someone would have to explain to me how trading an offensive player will address secondary scoring. But sacrificing one of them it would be more than enough to get a good defenseman in return for sure.
Laine (22) has one more year to his current contract with a cap hit of $6.75 million. The 6-foot 5-inches right winger will then be an arbitration eligible restricted free agent (RFA). His size and the fact that he’s a natural right-handed natural goals’ scorer are two assets that would make him extremely valuable for the Canadiens. He has a great shot but for a guy his size, he’s not very physical. Remember Robert Lang or Dustin Penner? Laine reminds me of them a bit (although more talented). By the way he uses his big body to protect the puck, but not for crushing body checks. To give you an idea, his 97 hits would place him between Tomas Tatar and Nate Thompson. The latter didn’t play the full season in Montreal.
Ehlers (24) is two years older than Laine but he is signed until 2024-25 at a team friendly cap hit of $6 million. Ehlers can motor on the ice but he’s not the strongest on his skates. He needs to find a way to add some weight as 170 lbs on his 6-foot frame isn’t quite enough. He too can put the puck in the net. While he’s left-handed, he can play both wings and has done so in Winnipeg. Fans in Quebec have some familiarity with him as he’s played two seasons in the QMJHL in Halifax.
What would it cost?
Some people think that because of the salary cap staying at $81.5M, few teams will be able to afford them. We’re talking about $6-7 million here so most teams will be able to free up some cap space. Especially that quality players will have to go the other way, freeing up cap space at the same time. So no, the Habs don’t have an advantage in this case.
That said, one has to wonder if the Canadiens have what the Jets would want. It’s not like they are deep on defense and I highly doubt that Marc Bergevin would give Shea Weber in return, although that would make some people happy… until they realise how much they’d miss him next year, that is. Jeff Petry? Who takes his minutes? Cale Fleury and Noah Juulsen weren’t utilised in these COVID Cup playoffs so to think that they can play 25 minutes a game would be unrealistic at best.
While I’m a believer that nothing is impossible, let’s just say that I put the odds of one of these two guys landing in Montreal are very, very low. Fans can dream all they want but the the Habs simply don’t have what the Jets need… unless a third team joins in on a three-way deal that is. Go Habs Go!