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Patrik Laine vs. the Jets’ first pick and Harris/Struble: Grant McCagg’s suggestion
Credit: Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
The Canadian needs help on the top-6.

The question for the Habs this summer is what path management will take to inject talent into the offensive top-6 in the short and medium term.

You might also think that the question this summer will be which defensemen are likely to move… but the surplus of defensemen and the lack of top-6 forwards are basically linked.

Martin Necas‘ name is floating around town, but let’s not forget that there’s a good chance the Habs GM won’t be able to uproot him from Raleigh. He may not have deep roots, but the Habs won’t be the only team in the derby.

If the Habs were to aim a little lower, could Patrik Laine be an option? Grant McCagg, on Tony Marinaro’s Sick Podcast, suggests evaluating this possibility.

In his view, if the Habs do their homework and decide they’re not afraid of the Blue Jackets’ player (he’s entered the NHL’s 2023-2024 assistance program), it might be possible to work out a deal.

The Jackets would also have to withhold salary. Kent Hughes isn’t going to pick him up at $8.7M for another two years. #SalaryStructure

But if that were to happen, McCagg thinks that getting a guy with such talent (and who was ironically traded for… Pierre-Luc Dubois, back in the day) might fit into the principle of buying low.

But even so, he suggests a price that isn’t so low.

In his eyes, if the Blue Jackets were offered the Jets’ first pick and a defensive prospect like Jordan Harris or Jayden Struble (two prospects drafted by Trevor Timmins, who now works in Ohio), it could do the trick.

It would still be a good price, but don’t forget that in order to make a salary deduction, you also have to add an element to the transaction. The question is, should we pay so much for Laine? And I’m not convinced.

(Credit: Hockey DB)

McCagg says that if Laine breaks even, there’s a 99% chance the Finn will be better than the player eventually drafted 26th overall. That’s true.

This isn’t the first time Laine’s name has come up in conversation. Would current conditions be favourable to seeing Laine, who was a regular 30-goal scorer (over 82 games) in Winnipeg, land in Quebec?

Note that the former Canadiens scout imagines a line-up with Juraj Slafkovsky and Kirby Dach at center. All three are big, all three are top-3 in their draft year… and Laine could benefit from playing with two such passers.

What do you think?

In a gust

– Will it happen?

– Hum…

– The Maple Leafs no longer owe Sheldon Keefe anything.

– The Habs have plenty of picks in the next three auctions. [Reddit]

– Gary Bettman is short.

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