Jets Re-Sign Patrick Laine
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets have agreed to a two-year, $13.5-million contract with Patrik Laine. The 21-year-old winger’s annual average value is $6.75 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After months of speculation over Laine’s status with the Jets, his contract situation is finally resolved. The Jets were said to be offering $6.5 million and the Laine camp around $7 million. He reportedly wanted a short-term bridge deal, thus putting him in position for a more lucrative contract while he’s still early in his playing prime.
It’s still a substantial raise for Laine, who’s tallied 30-or-more goals in each of his first three NHL campaigns, including a career-high 44 goals in 2017-18. If not for the decrease in his production last season, he might’ve received more on this contract.
Despite his scoring prowess, Laine’s drawn criticism for his streaky production and indifferent defensive play. He didn’t help matters this summer by appearing lukewarm about his future in Winnipeg and apparent grumbling over his second-line role.
Nevertheless, Laine remains a valuable part of the Jets’ offensive attack. Given his obvious offensive abilities, he should reach the 40-goal mark again.
Laine’s signing brings the number of top unsigned RFAs down to two: teammate Kyle Connor and Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen. With Laine under contract, one wonders how much the Jets will invest in Connor, who’s reportedly interested in a long-term deal. Laine’s deal eats up half of their roughly $15 million in salary-cap space, though they theoretically have more if Dustin Byfuglien ($7.6 million salary-cap hit) remains suspended or decides to retire.