Should the Montreal Canadiens Acquire Patrik Laine?

A motivated and rebuilt Patrik Laine could be the answer the Canadiens need for their goal-scoring woes.
Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets
Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

X was set ablaze on Wednesday night with the news that Patrik Laine wanted out of Columbus. It isn't an unfamiliar situation for Laine, who also fell out of love with Winnipeg after getting drafted second overall in 2016. Laine thought that it would get better with a fresh start. Externally, it has gotten better. Laine has 138 points in 174 games with Columbus, a better point-per-game average than his time in Winnipeg. However, he entered the Player Assistance Program last season for an undisclosed reason. We respect whatever Laine is going through, but now that the news of his trade request is out there, we must examine if the Montreal Canadiens should acquire him.

The Pros

Of course, there is plenty of upside for Laine if he can go back to his form from the beginning of his career. Laine scored 140 goals in 306 games with Winnipeg, with a career-high of 44 in his sophomore season.

It'd be hard to expect Laine to return from his issues and immediately become a 40-goal scorer. However, it would offer tremendous value when most 40-goal scorers make more than $8.7 million on the open market.

This would be the perfect buy-low spot for Laine, for lack of a better term. He is coming off the Player Assistance program and has some injury concerns over his past three seasons. He has also stated that he wants to get out of Columbus. The asking price for Laine can't be too high considering all these factors.

The Cons

The Canadiens will need to ensure that whatever Laine was dealing with before the Player Assistance Program is a thing of the past. Laine comes with an $8.7 million cap hit, which is no small thing for a team with $9 million projected cap space next season.

One of the biggest question marks for Laine would be his ability to play in the high-pressure environment of Montreal. He doesn't seem like a player who adapts well to criticism or pressure, as the Winnipeg media ate him alive in his final season there. It was a big reason why Laine sought a fresh start before his trade to Columbus.

There's a chance that Laine is just a hard player to please for a franchise. I want to believe he would come to Montreal and flourish, getting along with the fans and media, and becoming the goal-scorer that the Habs need. However, he is 0/2 in that so far in his career, meaning there's no guarantee this trade would work out.

The Verdict

The Canadiens seem willing to acquire either Trevor Zegras or Martin Necas. They are two players with high asking prices and no guarantee they can excel in the playoffs. Patrik Laine has a small sample size in the playoffs, but he does have 16 points in 24 games.

I also believe that his asking price would be lower than Zegras or Necas. The cap hit would be a concern, but would Columbus consider retaining or eating some cap from Montreal to get this deal done? The Canadiens do have a struggling former Blue Jacket in Josh Anderson who may like to return home and the fans would love to have him.

The Canadiens may be better suited to add their goalscoring forward with a rebuilding project in Laine.