Should the Canucks try to trade for Jets star Patrik Laine?

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Winnipeg Jets superstar Patrik Laine has been heavily mentioned in trade rumours. Should the Vancouver Canucks attempt to trade for him?

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has hit home runs in each of his last two trades for established veteran forwards.

The J.T. Miller and Tyler Toffoli trades, simply put, did wonders for the Canucks. The former enjoyed a career year with 72 points (which led the team), while Toffoli chipped in with 10 points in as many regular season games.

These two helped Vancouver advance all the way to the second round of the playoffs, where they fell to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games. Toffoli wound up leaving for the Montreal Canadiens in free agency, but considering that the Canucks enjoyed their best playoff run in nine years, it’s safe to say that the trade was worthwhile.

Given the successful results of the Miller and Toffoli trades, it wouldn’t be surprising if Benning got more aggressive in the trade market for big-named forwards down the road.

Which brings us to Winnipeg Jets superstar sniper Patrik Laine.

The No. 2 pick from the 2016 Draft has quickly grown into one of the NHL’s elite goal-scorers. He has scored 138 goals in 305 games over four seasons — including a career-high 44 in the 2017-18 season.

But for whatever reason, the Jets seem open to moving Laine.

Back in September, TSN’s Frank Seravalli stated that Laine “is expected to be in play this offseason as the Winnipeg Jets explore avenues to fill holes on their blueline and down the middle.”

And as Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe recently explained, Laine’s future in Winnipeg is uncertain, despite his status as one of the league’s most dynamic young superstars. Laine is entering the final season of a two-year, $13.5 million deal he signed last year. He’s eligible for RFA status after the 2020-21 campaign.

If the relationship sours, and if the Jets decide to trade Laine, should Benning make a move for him? The short answer is yes.

Just imagine a top-six consisting of Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Miller and Laine.

Winnipeg, like Vancouver, is built to win now. So draft picks and several prospects probably won’t be enough in a trade.

The Jets’ biggest weak link is defence, and they’re going to want a capable top-four blueliner in a potential Laine trade. The Canucks could offer up somebody like 2016 first-rounder Olli Juolevi or standout prospect Jack Rathbone.

Winnipeg would also want a quality scorer as part of a return. If Benning acquires Laine, Boeser and Jake Virtanen might become expendable. You don’t need all three right-handed wingers, after all.

Could a package deal centering around one of Boeser and Virtanen and one of Juolevi or Rathbone work? The Canucks would probably have to throw in more, but a capable top-six forward and promising young defenceman would have to be starting points.

Vancouver’s top-four is set for the short term with Quinn Hughes, Alexander Edler, Tyler Myers and Nate Schmidt. The goaltending situation is fine with Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby. If there’s another big move to make in the future, it should be a move for a top-six forward.

Adding a superstar of Laine’s caliber might give Vancouver the best top-six in the NHL. For all we know, he could be the final piece of a championship puzzle.

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So if Jets do make Laine available, the Canucks should at least make a the phone call and see if such a trade is possible.