Patrik Laine, 6-5, 216 pounds
April 19, 1998 (24 years old)
Acquired from Winnipeg for Pierre-Luc Dubois, January 23, 2021
Cap hit: $8.7M through 2025-26
Role: Top line winger
There was little doubt that Patrik Laine and the Blue Jackets would come to terms this summer on a contract extension. Both sides expressed wanting to keep the talented goal scorer in union blue for many years to come. While the four year term might not be as long as many people expected, the cap hit for one of the most pure goal scorers in all of hockey came out very manageable.
Laine’s story is well known by the CBJ faithful – and, generally, hockey fans around the league. He’s a talented guy who hasn’t fully put it all together yet, save a few flashes over his six seasons in the NHL. He has struggled with consistency, but when it works, he is one of the most talented players in hockey; one of the few players in the world who can score his team an easy goal with just a small window of time.
Coming off of a point-per-game season, Laine scored 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games for the Blue Jackets in 2021-22. Most importantly, he showed a more competitive desire. While he will never become a Selke candidate, he worked harder to make a difference at both ends of the ice, and was at his best when he was so engaged. This season, he gets the added benefit of sharing the ice with one of the top playmakers in hockey: Johnny Gaudreau. Should the two find chemistry, I think there’s little doubt that Laine is capable of being a 50 goal scorer in this league.
Three Keys to Success
- Stay healthy. Laine missed time in each of the last three seasons due to injury. Keeping him on the ice for a full 82 games would be fantastic for the Blue Jackets.
- Eliminate turnovers. Now that Gaudreau has arrived (and a handful of talented youngsters); Laine doesn’t have to be “the guy”. He needs to use his linemates better, and not try to beat entire teams with the puck. While it may lead to the odd highlight goal, more often than not it led to a lot of turnovers last season.
- Fire the laser. If Laine is going to be at his absolute best and most productive, it will be a direct result of him shooting the puck. He has an elite weapon, and should use it as often as possible.
2022-23 Expectation: Finnish.
Finnish as in, finish. As mentioned above, Laine no longer has to be the guy to carry the mail for this team every time he’s on the ice. Since he arrived, we’ve seen players get the puck and immediately throw it his way, whether he’s ready or not. But over the past three seasons this roster has turned over and we can now look at this as a skill team. Laine needs to keep it simple, get open, and score goals. That’s it. He doesn’t need to be an elite player defensively (just hold his own), and he definitely doesn’t need to do it all offensively. If he can score 40-50 goals, he will be worth every penny of the contract he just signed – and this team will likely compete for a playoff spot.