A quick look at Patrik Laine

The Draft Lottery sent the Winnipeg Jets rocketing up to the second overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. This marks the highest selection since the franchised moved to the Central Canada, which also suggest the Jets 2.0 are about to garner their best prospect addition yet.

The general consensus is Patrik Laine will be the best skater available at the second overall pick.

Let’s take a look at what this blue-chip winger has to offer.

Patrik Laine

Size: 6’4, 209 lbs

Position: RW/LW

Shoots: Right

If you had to explain Laine in short, it would goal scorer extraordinaire.

At only 17-years-old, Laine put up 17 goals over 46 games in the men’s pro league, the Finish Liiga. This places Laine sixteenth in the league for goals and sixth in goals per game. Over at the World Junior Championships, the big winger put up a goal per game pace and co-led the tournament with Auston Matthews.

At a 0.75 point per game pace between regulation and playoffs, Laine has out scored his draft peer Jesse Puljujarvi. To compare, the last big player to come from the SM-Liiga was Aleksander Barkov, who scored at a 0.91 point per game pace.

Sources have speculated that, with the Jets recent accumulation of smaller skilled players like Nikolaj Ehlers and Nicolas Petan, the team would be looking to add size with skill at the draft. At 6’4 and over nearly 210 lbs, Laine has size and strength in spades.

This combination of size and goal scoring prowess has elicited high end comparison to a players like Ilya Kovalchuk, although Laine does not have quite the speed that Kovy did at the same age. 

Regardless, the Jets are picking up a dynamic winger who should fit in with the Jets plethora of young skill on the wings like Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, Marko Dano, and Joel Armia.

What some of the scouts are saying:

Matias Strozyk; Elite Prospects 

A natural scorer, Laine’s greatest asset is his intimidating shot. He’s not a speedy skater, but possesses power and a long stride, and protects the puck well with his large frame and longer stick. Overall, skating has been a minor issue through Laine’s development but has improved with some help from his ability to read the game. Laine has the hunger to create chances on his own from the wing and actively looks for and creates opportunities to use his shot. His elite wrist shot is notable for its quick release and his powerful one-timer from the top of the circle is a constant threat on the man-advantage.

Future Considerations

The big forward has some soft hands and a deadly shot that makes him extremely dangerous from the hash marks in. He moves well although it takes him a bit to get going and is offensive minded. Plays physically when needed, but is not a nasty checker or a natural fighter. Is near impossible to contain and can use his impressive frame to power his way through traffic to the net for a scoring chance.

Mike Morreale; NHL.com

A typical power-forward, Laine (6-4, 206) has an intriguing combination of size, skill and strength to complement his soft hands and big shot. Laine has eight goals, 16 points, 136 shots on goal and a plus-2 rating in 24 games for Tappara in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league. He averages 16:25 of ice time and is viewed as a two-way player with great offensive instincts and a nose for the net.

Thomas Roost; CS Service Scout

I was pretty sure about (Matthews) him going first overall for nearly all the season, but now I’m not so sure and think the World Championship in Russia will finally decide this race. This has nothing to do with Matthews’ performances, as he performed very well all season long including the playoffs, but Laine did just explode during the WJC U20 in Finland and now in the Finnish playoffs where he grabbed the MVP award and scored a lot of goals in clutch situations. Personally, I think Laine has the biggest upside in the draft because he is already so effective, although he still has some rough edges in his play and I think he still can improve his skating a bit more than Matthews. If all this happens, I guess Laine has the slightly higher ceiling.

Highlights from The Draft Analyst:

  • Robert Cleave

    I still think the Jets would, if they’d won the whole thing, take Matthews. Multiple potential 1Cs are a hell of a card to hold, and Matthews + 55 could have been a terror for years.

    That noted, Laine is a front line talent that’s smoked a decent men’s league in their post season as a 17 year old. That’s not normal, and presuming he ends up here it’s an exciting prospect. WHCs will certainly be fun to watch with Laine, Matthews, Connor, and Scheifele all trying to prove a point to various people.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    Hard not to get excited about getting (or having the potential to get) the new #1 power forward in the world…unexaggerated… I think I could let Mathew Tkachuk go in this case…

    Ehlers Schiefele Wheeler

    Connor Little Laine

    Will Maurice be able to stand it..?

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    Yep. Laine for sure. There is a clear 1a and 1b in this draft. Laine had a great playoffs, an almost Teemu-esque domination of the Finnish league. Maatta had a great playoffs his draft and M.Finn didn’t, and the analysis seems to have mirrored their careers, ignoring gooning of the most important Penguin.

    I had the other Finnish defenseman ahead of Tkachuk until the FW had 33 pts in 14 playoff games. Puljujarvi looks like a consistant scorer but with the Jets having taken lightweight players with their past picks…

    Colorado is an interesting study. The got a playoff spot run to the end and still managed a top 10 pick. But they kept O’Reilly when they didn’t win a series, and traded him for Grigorenko and Zadorov before just missing the playoffs. They’ve conspired to finish 10th in their conference with this strategy.
    The Wings traded away Kindl and then didn’t give the next potential Grapes a chance on defense. They had two players of the week in the AHL. They are like the Jets liking an inferior goalie.
    …that SJ PP is really good. St Louis has a lot of younger players that beat the Hawks’s veterans. There were some amazing skyscrapers planned before the GD. But art deco materials is tough to get wifi in. The future is (not the worst WMDs) buildings surveilled and whatever materials let in wifi is probably cheapest, with some quantum signatures. That is where the Senators are strong. Any telecom is probably an ethical owner; you don’t want AI but you want the one time pad memory materials, communications, and some pattern recognition (but only to find mild WMDs).
    Someone stole $1M from the UofM by 1935. That and the evil 1930s bankers took a lot of the lustre off of the most Scottish Enlightened of cities in N.America. R+D went up 8x during WWII and U of M missed out as it was held high in the aftermath. But not all R+D is good. I encourage the Jets’s owners to invest in telecom and quantum encryption. It is the real Jets and Bombers that will enforce bad R+D and engineering.
    MLB would have more rundowns if the leading thiefs weren’t allowed to lead off of 1st base. Offsides on the football lines, could be replayed and not affect the play either way if the player isn’t a part of the play. The NFL needs to create more room; the Superbowl punt-every-play best strategy exposed the limits of late 19th century USA property values. Time to line up the secondary on the line or on the sidelines. ALl sports should have the best psychiatrists and technology; it prevents tyrants.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    I am excited about Laine! I keep hearing about his fantastic shot & in highlights, it does seem awesome. What I worry about is the volume vs. shooting percentage. 8 goals on 136 shots in 24 games with Tappara = less than 6% shooting percentage on a little under 6 shots per game. This may be a discrepancy due to how shots on goal are calculated. (blocked etc.)