Whether it’s a five-goal game or fortnight, Patrik Laine has mesmerized the Winnipeg Jets and fantasy owners alike over the course of his first three NHL seasons. He’s got a wicked release and has the ability to score goals like very few others, yet he seems to struggle with other aspects of the game. A disappointing 30-goal and 50-point campaign left fantasy owners wondering what to expect in 2019/20.
Laine was selected second overall by the Jets in the 2016 NHL entry draft as a lean 6-5 right-winger that could score. At the time the pick was a no brainer and it would still be difficult to select many guys drafted behind him, given what we know three years later. An argument could be made for Matthew Tkachuk but even he probably gives you pause and makes you think, at least in real-world NHL versus fantasy.
Laine is an RFA for cap leaguers. He’s a tricky one to figure out on both term and amount at this stage. Some of it may depend on how the contracts play out with other top end RFA’s like Mitch Marner and Braydon Point. Or fellow finisher, Brock Boeser.
There has been some talk about Laine being traded or possibly given an offer sheet from another team, but we’re almost into September and neither has happened yet. This writer is expecting Laine to remain a Jet and sign somewhere between seven and eight million per year with term between six and eight years. 40-goal scorers just don’t come around that often and the Jets have to try and make this work, even if it appears they are overpaying on the front end.
So, where do we go with a 44-goal 70-point sophomore season followed by the dismal 50-point campaign we saw last year?
As noted earlier, Laine is a goal scorer so let's start with shots and shooting percentage. He loves to shoot and fantasy owners love shooters, or at least they ought to. Laine played the full 82 games for both of the past two seasons and put up an average of 243 shots. His shooting percentage was down almost six percent from 2017/18 where he converted 18.3%. In his rookie season, Laine converted at a rate of 17.6%. Laine’s ability to score is elite so a high career shooting percentage should be expected. We can predict closer to 18 percent next year than the 12 percent we saw last season. He seems to be settling into the 245 shot range wh