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Laine, Blue Jackets mutually seeking trade to part ways

Columbus Blue Jackets Patrik Laine Patrik Laine - The Canadian Press

The Columbus Blue Jackets and winger Patrik Laine are looking to part ways this summer via a trade, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports.

"That’s the goal from everyone involved," LeBrun explained on Insider Trading. "We know that Patrik Laine entered the player assistance program, had the courage to seek help, and he’s still in the program right now. So, we have to consider that factor, but he would like to move on.

"His agent has had conversations with the Blue Jackets about it, and both sides are going to work together to try and get that done. He wants a fresh start; it hasn’t been a good time in Columbus. Two more years at $8.7 million a year, let’s see how big that market is, but we know what the potential is."

Laine finished the season with six goals and nine points in 18 games, having entered the player assistance program in January while he was still recovering from a clavicle fracture suffered a month earlier.

The 26-year-old winger is third-highest paid player on the Blue Jackets, with only Johnny Gaudreau ($9.75 million) and Zach Werenski ($9.58 million) carrying higher cap hits on the team.

Selected second overall in 2016 by the Winnipeg Jets, Laine has been unable to replicate the success he had early in his career since being traded to Columbus in 2020. After scoring 28 or more goals - including a career-high 44 goals in 2017-18 - in each of his first four seasons, Laine has failed to top 26 with the Blue Jackets while dealing with various injuries. 

He had 22 goals and 52 points in 55 games in 2022-23 with the Blue Jackets, who have missed the playoffs in each of the past four seasons.