5 NHL buyout candidates New Jersey Devils should keep an eye on

The NHL buyout window begins two days after the end of the Stanley Cup Final. Some teams could be looking to offload big contracts, and that could give the New Jersey Devils a quick deal for big names.
Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Patrick Laine
Columbus Blue Jackets

This one’s a weird one, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to make major changes this offseason. Jarmo Kekäläinen did a number on this roster, undoing some of the great additions and draft picks he made over the years by signing and trading for players that don’t fit together.

Worst among them is Patrik Laine, who the Blue Jackets traded Pierre Luc-Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets to get. Laine scored 44 goals as a 19-year-old. He looked like he was going to be where Auston Matthews is now. We thought this was a future multi-time 50-goal scorer. He never came close to it again, and now he’s basically a 25-goal scorer. Last season, he played just 18 games and scored six goals. That’s still on pace for less than 30 goals.

Laine is currently in the NHL Player Assistance Program. Maybe that’s what he needs to bounce back. He had a lot of pressure on himself, and he hasn’t been hitting his hype. However, a change of scenery and a team full of stars lets Laine just play his game. 

The Devils have always been a fit for Laine’s talents, but they haven’t been a fit for his price tag. If he’s bought out, the Devils could probably get him for $2 million per season. That is absolutely worth the risk.