A Columbus Blue Jackets divorce from Patrik Laine is a much needed step for both sides

Reports on Wednesday night say that Patrik Laine and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a separation.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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Patrik Laine came to Columbus hopeful for a fresh start. He got it. Unfortunately, this team wasn't anywhere near ready for him.

To get the most out of a 6'5" sniper like Laine, you need to surround him with good players. Ideally, players who can retrieve pucks, buy him time and space, then make passes to him so he can fire off his violent one-timer.

In four seasons in Columbus, we never got a chance to see Patrik Laine play meaningful minutes with a skilled center. At least, not one capable enough of providing him with everything that he needed.

We have Adam Fantilli now, and in time, that's exactly the kind of player you want to play with #29. The problem is, it's just too late. And, for some reason, when they were put on the same line, the Jackets wanted to force Laine in as the center, and use Fantilli on the wing.

Make it make sense.

Even without the required talent around him, Laine found a way to settle in nicely with the Blue Jackets. His first season in Columbus (the COVID-shortened 2021 season) saw him play for John Tortorella. I think we all knew John's time in Ohio was coming to an end after that season; but still, he tried to mold Laine into a better two-way player. The results were mixed.

In his first full season with the Jackets, Laine played under a much different coach: Brad Larsen. Lars was beloved by his players, if not entirely respected - but his approach seemed to be the correct one at the time. The Jackets surprised a lot of people that year by finishing right around .500, competing right to the end.

Laine was a big part of that. He scored 26 goals and 56 points in 56 games, playing like the superstar we hoped we were getting; in spite of missing significant time due to injuries. Then, that next summer changed everything. For both Laine and the Blue Jackets.

How did Johnny Gaudreau's signing affect Patrik Laine? Well, not like we expected...