After Auston Matthews at the top of the draft, most scouts have two wingers from Finland. Patrik Laine has started to cement himself as the best Fin in the draft and the #2 overall prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft (depending on who you trust). He possesses an elite-level shot and a large frame, both of which will suit him well as an NHL winger. Laine projects to be a top line offensive threat.
Here is what Director of NHL Scouting Dan Marr had to say:
"Laine is an extremely skilled winger with size, speed, hockey sense and competitiveness. He is a natural scorer who possesses an NHL caliber shot. Laine is a tough competitor to play against and even harder to check, an offensive threat every time he is on the ice."
Laine has performed at a high level on the international stage for Finland in addition to his work in Liiga. He has drawn some rough comparisons to another Finnish player, Aleksander Barkov. While Barkov plays a different position, he came up in Finland with Tappara and went 2nd overall in 2013. Both Laine and Barkov have similar size, but Laine appears to be more of a scorer while the current Florida Panther has a tad more "playmaker" in him.
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Though Auston Matthews would fill a position of need for the Blue Jackets, Patrik Laine also possesses the potential to be an elite talent for a long time in the NHL. Could you imagine a Saad / Laine combo on the top line? Maybe Laine would do well with another Scandinavian feeding him passes - say, Alexander Wennberg? If Columbus somehow ends up with the #2 overall pick, it is going to be very difficult for the front office to pass up on Patrik Laine. There are also rumors that Jarmo Kekalainen wants to make moves, if possible, to draft both Laine and fellow Fin, Jesse Puljujärvi.
Laine in Action