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CBJ Top 25 Under 25: All of the pieces are in place for Patrik Laine to have a career year

The Finnish sniper gets the top spot

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had almost 100 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. Now, after just over a month, it’s time to reveal our highest voted player...

#1: Patrik Laine

Voting

1st out of 40 eligible players
Writer Rank: 1st
Reader Rank: 1st
Highest Placement: 1st (84 votes)
Most Common Placement: 1st (84 votes)
2021 Rank: 2nd

Biography

Birthdate: April 19, 1998
Birthplace: Tampere, Finland
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 210 lbs.
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Acquired: Traded from Winnipeg with Jack Roslovic for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick

2021-22 Season

After an incredibly disappointing, pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, Laine rebounded with 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games, good enough for 38 goals and 82 points over a full season. This is the first time he’s been a point-per-game player, and his 0.46 goals per game was good enough to be third highest in his career. Not only that but he was backchecking, playing physically, and making obvious effort to improve himself.

And he still has another level. He’s scored 44 goals in Winnipeg before, and in a 23-game stretch late in the season last year, he scored 19 goals and 33 points, and had 12 multi-point games. Now, that also means he had only seven goals in the other 33 games, but snipers tend to be streaky, and there’s one factor that may significantly improve Laine’s production.

2022-23 Outlook

I don’t want to overstate things, but Johnny Gaudreau is going to turn Patrik Laine into a scoring god. Gaudreau, who shockingly signed here over the summer, is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, set-up players in the NHL, and Laine is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, pure goal scored in the NHL not named Alex Ovechkin. I love Jakub Voracek, and he played great opposite Laine, but Gaudreau is undoubtably a massive upgrade. With them together, and 50-plus goals, 90-plus points is not out of the question.

Now, there’s still plenty of places where this could go wrong. Injuries, lack of chemistry, in-fighting, etc. But even then, Laine hovered at around a 40-goal pace last year, so a worst-case scenario still has Laine being productive.

Also, the Blue Jackets will visit Laine’s hometown of Tampere, Finland for the NHL’s Global Series for a two-game set against the Colorado Avalanche, so that will be a fun opportunity for Patrik to shine in front of his friends and family.

Highlights

Final Rankings

Thanks to all of you who voted in the Top 25 Under 25 this year! Now that we have the full list, here it is in a convenient list form:

1. Patrick Laine
2. Cole Sillinger
3. Kent Johnson
4. Adam Boqvist
5. David Jiricek
6. Kirill Marchenko
7. Alexandre Texier
8. Yegor Chinakhov
9. Daniil Tarasov
10. Denton Mateychuk
11. Andrew Peeke
12. Nick Blankenburg
13. Corson Ceulemans
14. Jake Bean
15. Emil Bemstrom
16. Luca Del Bel Belluz
17. Dmitri Voronkov
18. Liam Foudy
19. Trey Fix-Wolansky
20. Samuel Knazko
21. Jake Christiansen
22. Stanislav Svozil
23. Jordan Dumais
24. Kirill Dolzhenkov
25. Mikael Pyyhtia