The Columbus Blue Jackets had an abysmal season in 2023-24. And they made wholesale changes to their front office. Veteran general manager Don Waddell was recently appointed as the team's new decision-maker. He has a number of items on the agenda this offseason. According to recent reports, one of them involves star forward Patrik Laine.

Laine is reportedly looking for a trade out of Columbus, according to TSN's Insider Trading. Waddell and the Blue Jackets are set to work with the Tampere, Finland native on a deal. Laine has two years remaining on a four-year contract extension he signed back in the summer of 2022. He also has a modified no-trade clause.

Laine, a former second-overall pick, has struggled with injuries over the last two seasons. In fact, he was limited to just 18 games during the 2023-24 season. He scored six goals and nine points before getting hurt. The Tampere native also went into the NHLPA's player assistance program.

What Patrik Laine can do when healthy

Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Patrik Laine skates during warmups before a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Laine has a rather solid track record as a goal scorer. When he broke into the league with the Winnipeg Jets, he emerged as one of the better scorers in the league. His sophomore season in the NHL saw him score 44 goals in the regular season. In the playoffs, he scored five goals and 12 points as the Jets made the Western Conference Finals.

Laine has not reached those same heights since his 30-goal season in 2018-19. But he is still a fine goal-scorer when he is on the ice. Since becoming a Blue Jacket in 2020-21, he scored 64 goals. Only Columbus captain Boone Jenner has scored more goals for the franchise during that four-season span.

The 26-year-old has also shown the ability to dish the puck during his time with the team. He recorded back-to-back 30 assist seasons before the 2023-24 campaign. Laine ranks fourth on the team in assists over the last four seasons. Only Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, and Jack Roslovic have surpassed him in this regard.

Overall, Laine is not an elite offensive force. That said, he provides solid and consistent secondary scoring when he is on the ice. You certainly want more out of a player making nearly $9 million. But at 26 years old, there is time for the former second-overall pick to get things back on track.

Why Blue Jackets want a trade

On one hand, the Blue Jackets trading Patrik Laine may be a bit out of left field. After all, he is 26 years old and he is one of the team's best players. One could argue that having him around could be beneficial for the younger players coming through the ranks in Columbus.

However, it's certainly understandable why Columbus is open to a trade. They hoped he would serve as a compliment to marquee free-agent signing Johnny Gaudreau when they signed him to his extension. But that simply hasn't worked out. Laine's struggles with injury, combined with the less-than-ideal production, have fueled their desire to move on.

Furthermore, head coach Pascal Vincent seemingly did not get on with Laine. In fact, the first-year Columbus coach made the Tampere native a healthy scratch back in November. The relationship has gone cold on both ends, so a fresh start is best for all involved.

Laine is certainly going to be hard to move. Though he has potential, there are a lot of concerns as well. Furthermore, the $8.7 million cap hit is going to limit his market. Rebuilding teams could certainly take that salary on, but it still needs to be worth their while.

In any event, the Blue Jackets and Laine are likely headed for a divorce this summer. It'll certainly be interesting to see which teams bid for his services. And it'll be interesting to see how the former second-overall pick fits in with his new team.