For a team that entered last season with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Jets have looked like anything but contenders this offseason. Particularly due to their personnel disputes with some of their marquee players. However, at least one of those stalemates has come to an end as Winnipeg and 21-year-old RFA Patrik Laine have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million contract.
2 years at $6.75 aav for Laine. Announcement soon. https://t.co/gwWN9rO7gD
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 27, 2019
Laine, the former second overall pick, burst onto the scene his rookie year with the Jets, notching 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games in 2016-17. He followed that up with 44 goals and 70 points in 2017-18. However, despite playing a full 82 game slate last season, Laine managed just 50 points. A career-low. In addition, for those who value plus/minus, Laine dropped to -24 in 2018-19.
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Much like Charlie McAvoy in Boston and Matthew Tkachuk in Calgary, Laine’s contract amounts to a bridge deal with each of the three player’s salaries coming at $7 million and under per season. McAvoy and Tkachuk are already well on their way to a big raise in their third NHL contracts.
For the Jets, they still have $14.85 million in cap space available, however, they still are at an impasse with fellow RFA Kyle Connor who is entering his fourth year with the team and is coming off back-to-back 30-goal campaigns.
In addition, the Jets are still dealing with the absence of Dustin Byfuglien who is currently suspended with his hockey future still up in the air. The good news, outside of locking up one of your best players for the next couple years, is that this may accelerate negotiations with Connor with less than a week to go until puck drop on the 2019-20 season.