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Photo Credit: © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pilots Logbook 2018-19: Patrik Laine

It was a bizarre year for Patrik Laine who went from smashing records to smashing sticks. After a historic performance in St. Louis with five goals, Laine fell into the worst slump of his career as he finished the season with career low numbers in nearly every category. With his status as an RFA this summer, how much is his recent performance going to hinder his new contract? That’s the big question looming over Laine this summer as the Jets are still trying to figure out what type of player Laine will become.

Patrik Laine
29 – Right Wing
6’5″ / 206 lbs / Age: 21

The Numbers

PATRIK LAINE 2018-19 REGULAR SEASON STATS
Season GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA ATOI BLK HIT TK GV
2018-19 82 30 20 50 -24 42 245 12.2 470 17:14 44 70 28 48
Career 237 110 74 184 -9 92 690 15.9 1296 17:11 120 224 100 154
PATRIK LAINE 2018-19 REGULAR SEASON ADVANCED STATS (5V5)
Cors Cors Cors Cors Fenw Fenw Fenw Fenw PDO PDO PDO PDO PDO Zone Zone
Season GP TOI CF CA CF% CF% rel FF FA FF% FF% rel oiGF oiSH% oiGA oiSV% PDO oZS% dZS%
2018-19 82 1124.6 1014 1182 46.2 -3.5 767 900 46.0 -3.6 50 9.1 69 89.8 98.9 60.0 40.0
Career 237 3334.3 3094 3307 48.3 -1.9 2340 2493 48.4 -2.0 183 11.1 177 90.5 101.6 57.6 42.4

Contract Status

Laine is an RFA this summer coming off his entry level contract. One year ago, it seemed that the sky was the limit for Laine, as he was coming off a 44 goal sophomore season but things changed rather quickly with his recent slump and career low numbers. As far as his new contract is concerned, nobody can quite agree what it might look like. Some people are throwing out the $10 million figure as a potential number, while others are putting Laine closer to the $8 million range. The other intriguing aspect is the term of the new deal. With Matthews recently signing a five year deal, will Laine follow suit and become a UFA quicker than previously thought? That’s definitely an something to look for as terms get negotiated this summer.

Player’s Season in Review

As mentioned above, this was a wild season for Patrik Laine. He started slowly, which isn’t unusual for him, as he only scored 3 goals in his first 12 games. All it took to remedy the slump was a trip back home as Laine netted a hat-trick against the Panthers in Finland. He followed that up with one of the greatest calendar months in the history of the NHL with 18 goals in the month of November. This was capped off with a marvellous night against the Blues where he pocketed five goals.

That was part one of the season. Part two followed shortly after and that is where things took a turn for the worse. Laine hit a slump, and he hit it hard. It essentially lasted the rest of the season as Laine only scored nine goals in the 57 games from December to April. It was easily the worst slump of his career and he couldn’t seem to catch a break no matter how hard he tried.

The rest of Laine’s game suffered along with his goal scoring as he finished with a career low 20 assists. This partly had to do with his linemates, as he got moved around the lineup to try and solve his goal scoring woes. The one positive aspect of the boxscore stats is that Laine finished with a new career high in shots with 245. That means the opportunities were still there, he just wasn’t able to convert at historic levels like his first two seasons. His shooting percentage this year was still an impressive 12.2%, although it pales in comparison when looking at his rookie year (17.6%) or his sophomore year (18.3%).

When looking at the advanced stats, Laine’s season doesn’t get any better. He finished the year with the worst xGoals% on the Jets with 41.8% according to moneypuck.com. Naturalstattrick has him as the second worst Jet in CF% with 45%. The shot charts once again back up these numbers as the Jets struggled to create dangerous offense with Laine on the ice.

One would hope that if Laine wasn’t creating offense, then he was at least playing well defensively. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth as Winnipeg gave up far too many dangerous chances with Laine on the ice.

The shot charts aren’t kind to Laine, and neither is the WOWY as you can see. Nearly every player enjoyed more success playing away from Laine than playing with him as a linemate.

So does this mean that Laine’s season was truly terrible? Well, not exactly, as there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, Laine got a much tougher deployment than some of the other young players on the roster. There’s a strong case to be made that Laine was not being used to his full potential in regards to his linemates. He was consistently paired with Bryan Little even though the numbers reflect he’s much better when playing with nearly everyone else. Rather than reiterate everything, just read this excellent piece from John about Laine’s deployment.

As far as the eyetest goes, Laine seemed to reach another level in his game without the puck. He was able to win more battles as the season progressed and showed some improvement in his own end as well as through the neutral zone. Although he still isn’t able to drive a line, his all around game seemed to get better throughout the season. When he was engaged during important games, he was playing some excellent hockey despite not being able to find the back of the net.

The Playoffs

PATRIK LAINE 2019 PLAYOFF STATS
Season GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA ATOI BLK HIT TK GV
2018-19 6 3 1 4 2 0 18 16.7 36 17:58 1 14 5 3
Career 23 8 8 16 4 4 74 10.8 161 17:50 12 41 11 9
PATRIK LAINE 2019 PLAYOFF ADVANCED STATS (ALL SITUATIONS)
Cors Cors Cors Cors Fenw Fenw Fenw Fenw PDO PDO PDO PDO PDO Zone Zone
Season GP TOI CF CA CF% CF% rel FF FA FF% FF% rel oiGF oiSH% oiGA oiSV% PDO oZS% dZS%
2018-19 6 107.8 115 86 57.2 11.0 90 71 55.9 10.0 6 10.0 1 98.0 108.0 73.7 26.3
Career 23 410.2 494 353 58.3 9.6 375 263 58.8 9.9 29 11.5 12 93.5 105.0 72.8 27.2

Things were trending upwards for Laine as the season came to a close in April. It could be argued that he was playing his best hockey down the stretch even though he still couldn’t find the back of the net. That all changed in the playoffs as Laine notched goals in the first three games against the Blues. He look exceptionally dangerous and was providing some of the best chances for Winnipeg throughout the series. His motivation has high and his intensity was strong as he was truly one of the best Jets during the series.

What We Said A Year Ago

“There was some concern that Laine wouldn’t be able to continue his torrid scoring pace and shooting percentage after last season, but Laine proved all the doubters wrong by lighting the lamp again and again. Laine was at his best near the beginning of March as he scored a mind-boggling 16 goals in only 12 games including a stretch of three games where he scored eight goals.”

Pilot’s Logbook 17-18: Patrik Laine

Future Outlook

While nobody knows how the contract negotiation will play out, one thing is for certain. The Jets are going to lock up Laine for as long as possible. Despite the slump this season, it seems that Laine is capable of growing into a complete player. The best case scenario is that Laine begins to dominate possession as he learns to drive a line by himself. If that doesn’t happen next year, the Jets should look to play him with someone other than Little to see if that helps the consistency. Although some fans don’t want to admit it, the future is still extremely bright for Laine who scored 110 NHL goals before turning 21. Although expectations might be lessened next season, that might be the best thing for Laine who has been under the microscope since entering the league in 2016.

FINAL GRADE: B-

  • The Jets should try and lock him up for 8 years at $8 mil per. Look what he has done in 3 years and he’s only 21. He’s only going to continue to get better and hopefully he will get a chance to play with Roslovic and Ehlers.