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NHL Rumours: Big Decision Looms for Columbus Blue Jackets Winger

Patrik Laine contract

We may be deeper into the offseason, but we have plenty of NHL rumours to go around. A total of 24 players filed for salary arbitration last week, but teams likely don’t want to go that round. However, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine wasn’t one of those players. The Jackets are still working on a Patrik Laine contract as a deadline looms.

NHL Rumours

Patrik Laine Contract Talks Ongoing

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic looked into the critical week for Laine and Columbus in a recent article. The Blue Jackets did extend a qualifying offer of $7.5 million to the Finnish winger. However, he has yet to sign that offer. Laine has until 5 p.m. Friday to sign the qualifying offer.

The contract would be for one year at $7.5 million. He would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season if he does accept the qualifying offer.

The negotiations seems to be slow, but there isn’t a hostility between the two sides. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the two sides have been in communication for quite a while.

“We’ll keep talking,” Kekalainen said. “It’s not like we haven’t been negotiating in good faith. We have been, the whole time. At some point, it’ll be decision time.”

The Blue Jackets did make an offer to still UFA Nazem Kadri, but that offer was pulled when Johnny Gaudreau signed his big-money contract to move to the Ohio capital.

What it Means

If Laine does sign with the Jackets, that means Kekalainen will have to clear out some salary cap space. That could be around $5-6 million that needs to be moved off the books to make Laine’s deal fit.

The two sides will have until Dec. 1 to get a contract done if Laine doesn’t except his qualifying offer. If a deal isn’t done by December, the forward won’t be eligible to play this season. He could accept the offer, but still work on a longer term extension. That extension could only be signed after the new year.


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