Could the Florida Panthers have Patrik Laine playing with best buddy Sasha Barkov in the near future?
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet floated the idea of the Panthers having interest in bringing the talented winger south in his latest ‘31 Thoughts’ column.
There is an obvious connection between Laine and the Panthers (it is his close relationship to the Florida captain) and with the Blue Jackets apparently in rebuild mode, perhaps a deal could be made.
Laine is a restricted free agent who has arbitration rights and is a couple years away from unrestricted free agency. But if he is not interested in a long-term relationship with the Blue Jackets, Columbus may be seriously thinking about the haul it could get for trading him.
Although Laine is coming off an unremarkable season (12 goals, 24 points in 46 games) with Columbus — he was traded from Winnipeg just after the 2021 season started for Pierre-Luc Dubois — there is no denying his offensive prowess.
Before this season, Laine had 140 goals since his rookie season in 2016-17. He would be another offensive weapon the Panthers could unleash.
Florida is very interested in Laine as it was when he was available when the season started.
Winnipeg made the best deal it could at the time in getting Dubois and the Panthers are not believed to have been a serious contender for him in January.
The Panthers could be now.
Barkov and Laine are very close friends who hang out together during the offseason and co-host a charity golf tournament in Finland. Word is, Barkov would love to have Laine in Florida and the feeling is mutual.
Laine and the Panthers is definitely something to keep an eye on this offseason.
— Quick personal note: I have family in town this week so the FHN Daily is a bit more sporadic as I take a few days off enjoying their company and taking a few days to recharge the batteries.
But I will have a number of stories this week and the Daily will be more structured again next week.
We will also open up the June Mailbag next week so be on the lookout for that.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
There is not a whole lot going on in PantherLand these days, but there was some news on Tuesday morning.
Lucas Wallmark, who played in just four games after being reacquired by the Panthers at the trade deadline, will not be back with Florida next season after he signed a one-year deal with Moscow CSKA. (FHN)
AROUND THE NHL
The Golden Knights looked pretty good in their series-opening win against the Islanders. If Vegas keeps this up, it will be playing for the Cup — again. (VHN)
— The Isles were ‘Thunderstruck’ in Game 2 at Tampa. (NYIHN)
— Jaromir Jagr says the stars of the New York Rangers are going to like playing for Gerard Gallant. (NY Post)
— Wondering why Turk did not end up Detroit? You’re not alone. (DHN)
— If Seth Jones wants to play for the Avs, they need to chase him. (CHN)
— Could the Flyers be in the running for Dougie Hamilton? (PHN)
— Kirk Muller is back behind the bench and it’s in Calgary. (TSN)
The first day of Dolphins minicamp was not kind to Tua. But, it’s just minicamp, right? (Miami Herald)
— Ron Culp, the longtime athletic trainer for the Miami Heat, died at the age of 75. He will be missed. (MH)
— Can the Marlins build on their recent homestand success? (MH)
— Will the Dolphins pay Xavien Howard what he wants? (Sentinel)