Hailey asks the Laine question as well:
"honest opinion on laine’s production and future? some people truly believe we can build around him and others seem disappointed in him thus far so i’d love to hear your take. also, can elvis realistically rebound from his struggles or did we give the wrong goalie an extension?"
I mentioned the Elvis situation on the last page, and I think he can come back a lot stronger next year. He just needs to settle down and not try to do too much.
As for Laine, it’s a simple answer: I think we have to temper our expectations and realize that he’s probably nothing more than a top-six goal scorer. I’m careful to even say first line here, because I’m not sure that his game is built for that kind of play. I don’t see any reason to trade him at this point, because I think he’s doing exactly what they wanted him to do when they acquired him.
He was drafted second overall for his ability to shoot and score from long distance, as well as the secondary ability to pass and create plays. I think the hope for the Jets was that, they would be able to round out his overall game and make him an above replacement-level player. He has improved, but I don’t think he’s ever going to become a dominant power forward or top line winger.
If you look at his season overall, he’s actually been really good. He has 16 goals and 35 points through 42 games, which puts him at a 68 point pace. His career high is 70 points, and he’s basically right there. The main difference here is that he’s scoring fewer goals. Which is completely fine; we all know how hot he can get, and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he can do that and double his total by season’s end. He’s capable.
The encouraging thing for me is that, even though the team is well out of the race, he’s still visibly working and trying to make a difference. In the last two games, I would argue that his effort has been amongst the best on the team, and the game results show that. For these reasons, the only way I can fathom the team trading him, is if someone wants to make a stupid offer that they can’t refuse.
It’s not easy to find a rhythm when you get hurt in the first game of the season. Then come back and quickly get injured again. But Patrik has stuck with it and is scoring at a rate you hope to see from top line players. This guy is never going to become the dominant two-way presence that we had in Pierre-Luc Dubois, or an elite play driver like Artemi Panarin – but that’s okay.
He just needs to be Patty Laine. 15-18 minutes a night, lots of power-play time, score 30-40 goals and 60-70 points. Improving the team around him probably inflates his numbers a little bit, which may happen in another year or two. He isn’t drastically overpaid or anything like that, we just can’t expect him to single-handedly carry our offense or dive in front of slap shots. That’s not his game.
Overall, I loved these questions! This was a fun article to write, and we will certainly be doing this again in the near future. If you have any feedback or have a question for our next AMA, feel free to reach out to us via our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook).