After weeks of drama, Patrik Laine has finally re-signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets announced that they had signed Laine to a two-year contract worth $6.75 million annually.
TSN’s Darren Dreger was first to report the deal.
#NHLJets have agreed to terms with forward Patrik Laine on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $6.75 million.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) September 27, 2019
According to Elliotte Friedman, who spoke on WGR550 on Thursday, Laine was asking the Jets for close to $7 million AAV over two years, while Winnipeg were firm on wanting to stay close to a $6 million AAV. The breakdown of the deal will see Laine paid $6 million in the first year of the contract, and $7.5 million in year two.
Structure on Laine deal –
Year 1: $6 million
Year 2: $7.5 million
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 27, 2019
Laine’s 2018-19 season was the worst performance of his three-year career in the NHL. He scored 30 goals, and tallied 20 assists in 82 games, with 19 of those goals coming in a 12-game span during November. He cooled off during the back-half of the season, scoring just nine in 58 games. That 30-goal total paled in comparison to his 44 goals in 2017-18 and 36 in 2016-17.
Frustration over his 2018-19 performance likely fed into the stalemate over contract negotiations. In recent weeks, Laine spoke candidly to Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti as part of their NHL special. In that issue, Laine was reported as having criticized the Jets and his linemate, Bryan Little.
“When I’m negotiating a new contract, I always want to know who I’ll be playing with,” Laine told Iltalehti. “With my merits, I would play with the best elsewhere. Everybody who understands something about hockey knows that.”
He added, “There are the top lines and then there has been our line. I’ll play with whomever I’m told to.”
“Sometimes those things are misunderstood. I knew right away he wants to play with the best players,” he said. “I feel like I know him well enough to know what he’s trying to say and where he’s coming from. The fact that he texted me confirmed what kind of guy he is; he’s a great guy.”
While negotiations were ongoing, Laine has been training with SC Bern in Switzerland. He will now report to the Jets for the remained of the preseason and training camp.
His signing leaves just Jets forward Kyle Connor, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen and Dallas Stars defenceman Julius Honka as the remaining restricted free agents requiring contracts for the 2019-20 season.
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