In many preseason standings predictions, such as this highly-debated one from USA Today, the Winnipeg Jets have free fallen all the way out of a playoff spot. Two unsigned top-6 forwards, two departing top-4 defensemen and another top-4 d-man contemplating retirement will do that.
Those preseason point projections might start to swing the other way, as the Jets were finally able to take care of business with Patrik Laine on Friday. The Jets finally agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million contract with the goal-scoring winger. A cap hit of $6.75 million per season seems like a reasonable risk for salary cap leaguers.
It’s zero surprise that the contract is a bridge deal, as projections for Laine seem to be all over the map. You might already know that Laine scored 18 of his 30 goals last season in November alone, while he scored just nine in 58 games after that, including one in his last 19 games. Which Laine will fantasy owners receive over the coming season – the one who pushed for 50 goals in 2017-18, or the one that completely dried up on fantasy owners during their league’s playoffs last season? When this contract expires in two years, we’ll have a better idea of what kind of player Laine is, and he’ll be paid accordingly. Then again, maybe we still won’t know then either.
Whether you target Laine may depend on which league format you use. For example, Laine has an ADP of 40 in Yahoo leagues, but an ADP of 103 in ESPN leagues. I don’t think I’d sleep easy picking Laine at his Yahoo ADP, since his floor is too low from what I’d expect at that spot. However, I’d grab Laine at his ESPN ADP and run to the bank. You don’t usually find 40-goal scorers at pick 100. In fact, the still-unsigned Kyle Connor has an ESPN ADP of 94.5 – higher than Laine’s. As gun-shy as owners might be on Laine, only five players have scored more goals than him over the past three seasons.
The focus for the Jets now turns to signing Connor to a contract, while the team hopes that Dustin Byfuglien will decide to give it a go for at least another season. According to Ken W