Here we are just a week away from the NHL regular season. And one of the most prolific goal scorers in the league is sitting in Europe with no intention of coming home. Patrik Laine
should be entering his fourth NHL season. However, he is in the middle of a contract dispute with his team the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets seem content to let him stay in Europe as he continues to drive a Finnish ice pick further between him and the team.
So if you are Winnepeg what do you do? This guy is a huge part of your offense. As if the labor dispute with a forty goal scorer wasn’t bad enough. The labor dispute has also strianed your relationship with young stud Kyle Connor. Who is an even bigger part of your offence. You have lost your top four defenseman form last season, and no one, and I mean no one is high on your team right now.
Well maybe, you trade him? With a week left in the preseason there is still plenty of time to get an effective deal done. You can get a good return for the Finnish goal scorer while both teams would still have time to shape up their roster.
But who could be a potential dance partner for the Jets? There are a few teams that I think fit the mold.
The Sabers come into another season looking like a bag a used parts, (aka a Benny Buckets). They certainly have the cap space for him to come in. One of Laine’s biggest problems with Winnipeg is his lack of top line minutes. He claims he does not get to play with the best talent. Can you ask to play with two better guys then Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner in Buffalo? Both had career years last season and adding a third piece to that puzzle would definitely lead to the newest big guns line. We have seen type of roster build work for Colorado, and Boston I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in Buffalo.
New York Islanders
The Islanders are a team without identity. They are basically a group of faceless warriors who follow their coaches marching orders blindly. Adding a prolific super star esc player can help give them identity. They also seem willing to cater to a superstar. After throwing their hat in on the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes this off season. Plus the added benefit of Barry Trotz having experience coaching a pure goal scorer in Ovechkin. He should be able to utilize the Finnish winger the way he wants. I think the Islanders also have some interesting young prospects that the Jets would be interested in. Chief among them World Juniors Standout Kieffer Bellows.
Maybe we trade problem child for problem child. Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche wants to be paid like Mitch Marner, which by the numbers he has earned. But, on a team with Natahn MacKinnon how can you justify that a guy not named Natahn MacKinnon make that much money. Liane’s problem by all accounts is he wants a short contract with top line minutes to prove he is an elite winger. In Colorado he definitely would get that chance and most likely that contract term. A player for player trade would also make sense here as neither team is guaranteed to sign their guy. Plus both Rantanen and Liane have the same agent. So he knows what the other guy is getting offered. This seems like a no brainer to me.
There are other teams that could be in the mix on Liane, but as far as a beneficial fit for both club and player its hard to look past these three. No matter what happens I would like to see this dispute ended soon. As Matt Tkachuk signed his ticket yesterday we are now just waiting on Liane and Rantanen. Fingers crossed these two young stars come back to the NHL this season.