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Jackets, Yegor Chinakhov reach 2-year deal; Patrik Laine trade looms

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Yegor Chinakhov to a two-year, $4.2 million contract extension on Friday.

The contract runs through the 2025-26 NHL season.

Chinakhov, 23, has 56 points (27 goals, 29 assists) in 145 career games with the Blue Jackets. He was the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

“Yegor is an outstanding young player who has shown steady improvement over his first three seasons with the organization,” general manager Don Waddell said in a news release. “We believe he has a chance to be a very good player for us and are excited about his continued growth as a Blue Jacket.”

In the 2023-24 season, Chinakhov was limited to 53 games due to injuries but still tallied 29 points on 16 goals and 13 assists — all career highs. He added three game-winning goals.

The signing comes as Waddell, the general manager in Columbus for less than a month, begins to navigate trade possibilities for winger Patrik Laine.

Laine, 26, has been in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program since Jan. 28 and has communicated with Waddell his desire for a trade through his agent, Andy Scott.

Waddell said the sides are cooperative.

“We’re all playing nice in the sandbox,” Waddell said Thursday, per NHL.com. “And until we get to the point where decisions have to be made, maybe there’s not something out there that makes sense for us, and then we have to cross that bridge. Right now, (Laine and his agent) expressed their view and we’ve said that we will certainly look at all our options.”

But Waddell said he won’t make a trade for trade’s sake.

“If the options are limited or there’s no options that make any sense, then we’ll have to deal with that,” Waddell said.

Columbus acquired Laine in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 23, 2021, and he signed a four-year, $34.8 million contract on July 22, 2022.

In 174 games with the Blue Jackets, Laine has 138 points (64 goals, 74 assists) and a minus-58 rating. He was limited to 18 games and nine points last season.

–Field Level Media

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