Back in February, I wrote about how the Blue Jackets must do whatever it takes to sign Patrik Laine to a long-term contract. My opinion has not changed. Not only did he bounce back from last season, he became a point per game player for the first time in his career. His improvement wasn’t limited to the scoresheet either. He could be seen backchecking, throwing a hit along the boards, and improving his positioning away from the puck. The most encouraging thing I saw from Laine this season was his will to improve. He’s putting in the work to become the best player he can be.
Games Played: 56
5v5 CF%: 45.80
5v5 FF%: 44.40
An RFA this summer, Laine will either need to sign an extension with the Blue Jackets, accept his qualifying offer, or go to arbitration. The Jackets would much prefer Laine sign a long-term extension and the player has also expressed that desire. Patrik is not one to mince words or lie through his teeth, so don’t be surprised if an extension is signed sooner rather than later. There’s a decent chance a new Laine contract would have the largest dollar amount in franchise history.
In a 23 game stretch from January 27th to March 19th, Laine scored 19 goals and notched 14 assists. That same stretch included 5 multi-goal games and 12 multi-point games. Goal scorers are notorious for scoring in bunches and going through cold snaps, but one can’t help but wonder what the production of a more consistent Patrik Laine would be.
Patrik Laine ends a close game with this @SamuelAdamsBeer OT winner! pic.twitter.com/b2ZlUMYoPO— NHL (@NHL) February 23, 2022
After returning from injury and the mourning of the death of his father, Laine struggled to get going. In the 12 games following his return, he only managed 5 points. After a strong start, many fans wondered if the Laine from the previous season had returned. Thankfully, he found his game and proved the naysayers wrong.
I’m going to give Patrik an A-, and here’s why. He had a fantastic season and deserves a ton of credit after enduring a catastrophic 2020-21 season. The minus in the grade is an acknowledgement that he hasn’t reached the top of his game. He took a huge step forward this year and has game changing skill, but his full season consistency needs to be better if he wants to be considered a truly elite player in the NHL. I don’t see why he can’t be a 100 point player and I hope he reaches that milestone in a Columbus sweater.
How would you grade Patrik Laine’s 2021-22 season?
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