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Acquiring Laine Would Exceptional... But At What Cost?

July 18, 2019, 4:30 PM ET [1 Comments]
Brandon Smillie
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Our very own Eklund is suggesting he's hearing there's more to the rumors of the Montreal Canadiens making a push to acquire Winnipeg Jets sniper Patrik Laine. I wrote previously how it would appear Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has Big Game Hunting on his agenda this offseason and it would make A LOT of sense for Bergevin to take aim at acquiring a young sniper for the RW hole in the Habs top 6.

Landing Laine for the Habs F corps would address one of two large holes in the Canadiens line up. A sniping RW with size (6'5") would do wonders for a team that was 4 points out of a playoff position and struggled mightily on the PP. It would likely be enough to help put MTL back into the playoff picture in the near and long term as well, which I'm sure we all would love to see happen again.

But what would the price be for Laine from a trade and cap hit perspective?

I'll start with cap hit because it's quite important to ensure the salary structure can even make a deal like this possible. We can likely presume the ask from Laine's camp is in the $10 million range thanks to recent contracts signed by Hayes ($7.1 mill per by 7 years, 27 yrs old, 40-50 pt player), and Skinner ($9 mill by 8 years, 27 yrs old, 50-60 pt player).

Laine so far looks like a 65+ point player at 21 years old with 110 goals scored in his first 3 NHL seasons and one could argue his potential is 40-50 goals per season. So his deal starts at $10 million by 7 or 8 years for sure. Some will argue for a bridge "show me" contract but c'mon... I think the kid has shown he's an elite impact goal scorer at this level and that's what he will be paid for.

So, let us project a contract of $10.5 mill per by 7 years for MTL if they were to acquire him, or even by 8 years if the Habs and Jets pulled the old Sign'N'Trade. At that number we can suggest that Winnipeg will be taking back a minimum of $4 million from the Habs in any such deal.

Is that worth it to MTL for a player type that they could desperately use? I'll say: YUUUUUUUP!

Now that I have that out of the way, what would the Canadiens have to part with to make such a trade happen?

A lot.

Thanks for reading see you next week!

Go Habs Go!

I kid, of course.

Who would Winnipeg target from Montreal in such a deal?

Easy to presume one of our top prospects such as Kotkaniemi, Poehling, Suzuki, Brook, Primeau, and Romanov. A quick check of the Jets depth chart would tell me that they would likely want a top C or G prospect as part of the deal so one of JK, RP, or NS is a must in this deal for the former 2nd overall pick.

I wouldn't trade any of those above mentioned C or G prospects for anything outside of a top 5 pick (I know, call me a homer in the comments if you must, it's fine) so the value is already shaping up. But who could the Canadiens lose in the $4 mill cap hit range that a team may actually WANT?

Two names up front that jump out are Tatar ($4.8 cap hit) and Drouin ($5.5 cap hit). I know most of you thought I was going to write Alzner but I'm not sure his addition to this deal would add value for the Jets unless they were over the moon for one of the prospects I mentioned earlier (and they might be as I know most of us are).

But, maybe Alzner would be involved as the Jets just lost a lot of D depth this summer and have only Byfuglein and Poolman signed on D beyond this season (I know Pionk will sign with them, they are just grinding the RFA down in the negotiating process for sure). We can also safely say that barring some catastrophic event they will sign Morrisey as well. As for prospects ready to make the jump you have possibly the defensive minded Stanley and after that their D prospects are years away from getting a cup of coffee in The Show.

Could Alzner provide bottom pair defensive depth on the Jets? Are the Jets targeting Gardiner and realizing they have to pay Kyle Connor big money too? Between the two it could be a $15+ million dollar cap hit which would leave the Jets with about $5 million with Pionk and 4 forwards to bring in to the bottom half of the lineup? Maybe not. IF Laine is looking for $10 mill and Conner $7+ then I can see why the Jets haven't signed either top F yet, doing so doesn't allow them to fill out the remainder of the roster with anything buy AHL'ers or rookies and I doubt they want to do that.

With what I am (trying) brainstorming here I could see a deal along the lines of: 2021 1st, 2020 2nd, Suzuki, Alzner (1 mill retained cap hit), and Juulsen perhaps getting the conversation started. Habs would also likely look to move someone like Weise and Peca as well but barring a deal they could be put on waivers and add roughly $1.8 mill to their current $4.8 mill in cap space.

Gaining $3.6 mill from moving Alzner would put them at about $10.2 mill in cap space and that is likely enough to add the Laine contract discussed above. If Weise and Peca are traded instead of demoted then you can add around $1.7 mill (I'm not breaking out the calculator for exact numbers folks, but these are REALLY close) to that $10.2 mill and after signing Laine for $10.5 mill they would have a little over $1 mill for maneuvering throughout the season. Another possibility is trading Byron and his $3 million per but I hope he stays on the team as his bottom 6 work is fantastic when he's healthy.

Well, what are your thoughts? Trade possible? Trade impossible? Have at it in the comments where I'm sure your opinions of my blog will be nothing but respectful.

Go Habs Go!
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