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2021 Player Review: Unsigned Patrik Laine packs superstar potential

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The Blue Jackets acquired a pure goal scorer they surely need. Now they need to lock him up and realize and see that consistency.

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

We reviewed Jack Roslovic last week, a player some might have considered as an extra throw-in to the Pierre-Luc Dubois-for-Patrik Laine deal last season. Instead, he was a huge surprise and among the lone bright spots for Columbus. Fortunately.

Now we turn our attention to that other key member of that trade in Laine. While it's not fun to lose a two-way center in Dubois, considering the circumstances, the trade felt like a win for Columbus given that they were acquiring a pure superstar goal scorer who entered the 2021 season with 138 career goals since his rookie campaign in 2016-17.

Laine for Dubois seemed like a potential win-win for both clubs, as rare as that is, and considering the circumstances that went into having to deal Dubois.

Laine averaged 34.5 goals between 16-17 and 19-20, notching 44 goals — a career high — in 17-18 and scoring at least 30 in a season on three separate occasions.

He just missed that mark in 19-20 when he still scored 28, and then with the pandemic-shortened season this past year, he played in 46 games (45 for Columbus) out of 56, putting up 12 goals. Funny, he still scored two goals in a three-point effort for the Winnipeg Jets in his one and only game with them this season prior to the trade. Laine missed time with an upper-body injury plus the mandatory seven day quarantine following the trade to Columbus.

2021 Stats

Games Played: 46
Goals: 12
Assists: 12
Points: 24
PIM: 25
5v5 CF%: 41.7
5v5 FF%: 41.8

Contract Status

Laine is an RFA so a new contract is among the priorities. I do wonder if he skates for the club in 2021-22. In my assumption he does under a short-term or bridge deal. But in Aaron Portzline’s mailbag column in The Athletic (Blue Jackets mailbag, part 1: John Davidson’s impact on Seth Jones’ contract, plus Patrik Laine’s status) from May 21, his answer to the question of ‘Will Laine be a Blue Jacket in 2021-22?’ was “no.”

There’s lots to be decided this summer, Laine’s contract among them. A new head coach could be a huge influence in Laine’s desire to stay, factoring into the long-term direction of the team as well. Of course, it might not really be up to Laine if the club opts to move him with so many aspects for the Blue Jackets organization on the ice up in the air.

High Point

Laine had four two-goal games on the season including his aforementioned lone game as a member of the Jets Jan. 14 against the Calgary Flames. He had one against the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 7, one against the Chicago Blackhawks — a three point effort — Feb. 23, and then one against the Hawks April 12.

Laine lit the Blackhawks up as a whole with eight points, six goals in six games versus Chicago this past season. Point in case was this beautiful end-to-end effort with the burst of speed and through traffic to finish. He even falls and lands pretty gracefully on the end of that goal.

Low Point

Though we know Laine is one of the very best goal-scorers in the entire NHL, he did battle through lulls in which he didn’t record a point for stretches of seven games, and then a career-high eight games later in the season. In the middle of those stretches, and on the day he eventually broke the seven-game drought versus Florida with a goal and an assist, he admitted his confidence was low.

I’m sure a trade to a new team and city in the middle of a pandemic certainly didn’t help. We’ll see how things play out this summer for his next contract and how things might pan out next season with Columbus. Assuming he’s still in Columbus.

Laine also drew the ire of John Tortorella early into the player’s arrival to Columbus when he “mouthed off” to an assistant coach in a game against the Hurricanes and Laine was benched for the final 26:19, a game Columbus would still win.

Report Card

Poll

How would you grade Patrik Laine’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    B
    (15 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (84 votes)
  • 38%
    D
    (102 votes)
  • 21%
    F
    (58 votes)
265 votes total Vote Now