COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are willing to meet Patrik Laine's trade request but not at the expense of the organization, president of hockey operations and general manager Don Waddell said Thursday.

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

Laine has reportedly requested a fresh start after four difficult seasons with the Blue Jackets since being acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 23, 2021.

The 26-year-old forward has been in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program since Jan. 28, and Waddell has not talked with him but has held discussions with Laine's agent, Andy Scott.

"We're all playing nice in the sandbox," Waddell. "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."

Laine has 138 points (64 goals, 74 assists) in 174 games with the Blue Jackets. He had nine points (six goals, three assists) in 18 games this season and was limited by injuries before entering the program.

The No. 2 pick by Winnipeg in the 2016 NHL Draft, Laine scored 36 goals as a rookie in 2016-17, followed by 44 and 30 in the next two seasons before seeing his numbers decline over the past four seasons.

An obstacle to a trade could be his contract, which carries an NHL cap hit of $8.7 million for each of the next two seasons. Waddell wants the Blue Jackets to avoid retaining salary.

"You know, our hope is that we wouldn't have to hold money," he said. "We want to make a hockey trade if we can and certainly exhaust every opportunity and every team that potentially has interest."

Waddell, who was hired May 28 to replace Jarmo Kekalainen as GM and took over John Davidson's role as president of hockey operations, also addressed the firing of first-year coach Pascal Vincent after Columbus went 27-43-12 and finished last in the Eastern Conference.

He said he has 12 candidates in mind, but there is no timetable to hire one. Columbus is the only team in the NHL without a coach.

"We're not going to interview 12 people," Waddell said. "Once we get to a point that we're all comfortable of interviewing, then we'll start interviewing, whether it be three or four people at the end. But right now, we've got a little window here to make sure we get this right."

Vincent was named coach four days before the start of training camp after Mike Babcock was fired after a report surfaced that he asked players to share photos from their personal mobile devices. The new coach will be the fourth since Brad Larsen was fired in April 2023; Columbus has finished no higher than sixth in its division each of the past five seasons and has not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2019-20.

Waddell said a veteran coach is a requirement.

"I just think talking with everybody here and kind of getting my finger on the pulse the last three weeks that we need someone who's been in this chair before that has coached at the NHL level," Waddell said.

The Blue Jackets have the fourth pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, which will be June 28-29 in Las Vegas and Waddell said the Blue Jackets are listening to offers.

"There's chatter going on but I expect that to really pick up next week," he said. "We're open (to discussions). If we're going to keep the pick, we're going to get a great player and if we trade a pick, it's going to be a great deal for us.

"When you have the fourth pick in the draft, you've got to get it right."

Waddell also said the Blue Jackets could be active in free agency, which begins July 1, but not to expect a blockbuster signing.

"Bottom six forwards, maybe a defenseman," he said. "So, I don't look at it being that we're going to get a major game-changer during free agency but I think there's some things we'd like to add for sure."

On Friday, the Blue Jackets signed forward Yegor Chinakhov to a two-year, $4.2 million contract ($2.1 million average annual value). The 23-year-old could have become a restricted free agent on July 1. He had 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 53 games this season and has 56 points (27 goals, 29 assists) in 145 games.