Could the Chicago Blackhawks provide Patrik Laine with a fresh start?

Columbus is working to trade the former second overall pick
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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The NHL offseason has unofficially begun for all teams not named the Florida Panthers or Edmonton Oilers, which means trade talks are heating up.

NHL insider Pierre LeBrun broke the news late Wednesday (June 12th) afternoon that the Columbus Blue Jackets are working to trade the former 2016 second-overall pick Patrik Laine.

Laine, 26, is coming off an injury-riddled season where he only played in 18 games, tallying 6 goals and 9 points. His time in Columbus has always left fans wanting to see more, especially after the promising start to his career that he had in Winnipeg.

After being traded to Columbus from the Winnipeg Jets along with forward Jack Roslovic in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois during the 2020-21 season, Laine's expectations were sky-high as one of the more promising young goal scorers in the NHL. He was coming off a 28-goal, 63-point campaign in 68 games as a 21-year-old, and was two years removed from a 44-goal season.

Laine's start in Columbus was met with controversy regarding an interaction with former Blue Jackets, and current Philadelphia Flyers, coach John Tortorella. The newly acquired Laine was benched after an altercation with a coach while on the bench. Many believed it was because of a missed play in the defensive zone by Laine, but it later came out that the reason was an "off-ice altercation".

Tortorella was let go by Columbus after the 2021-21 season, leaving Brad Larsen as the new head coach. Laine's production was more consistent under Larsen with 108 points in 111 games, though the injuries continued with the Finnish winger playing less than 60 games in each season.

Going into the 2023-24 season, the Blue Jackets yet again had a new head coach in Pascal Vincent. This new coaching style saw an experiment where Laine was playing center instead of wing, and early returns were not positive.

The experiment did not last very long, as Laine battled injuries before entering the NHL Player Assistance Program, in January,

It is safe to say Laine's time in Columbus will be remembered more for the headlines rather than his play, which was good when he was able to play. With the report that Columbus is looking to give him a fresh start, it will be interesting to see who the suitors are.

Here is what the Blackhawks could get if they decide to target Patrik Laine.