Kukla's Korner

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The Weakness In Patrik Laine’s Game

from Travis Yost of TSN,

In most cases, the changes in the market would have expedited the signings in Winnipeg. Other marquee wingers signing for deals relatively similar in size (save Marner) would naturally help narrow the gap for both the team and player when it comes to expectations. While I think that may be true in the case of Connor, I think the opposite is true for Laine.

Why? The answer has a lot to do with how forwards are historically priced in contract negotiations. It has been proven out over the years that contracts for established players are relatively predictable, and a lot of that is because scoring rates tend to drive contracts. That’s especially true for high-end goal scorers, of which Laine has relatively few peers. Over the last two seasons, Laine’s 74 goals in all situations and 1.6 goals per-60 minutes trump the entire RFA class. (His 119 points and 2.6 points per-60 minutes are in the middle of the pack.)

But the knock on Laine has rarely been about scoring. He is recognized as one of the league’s best shooters – a ridiculous combination of velocity, accuracy and consistency that few other forwards around the league can replicate. The concerns have always centred on what his play looks like when he doesn’t have the puck, both in the offensive zone and when defending the run of play.

This is where Winnipeg is going to dig in. Because the numbers absolutely meet the eye test on Laine – an elite offensive talent who gives an awful lot back defensively and, because of that, the value he has added to Winnipeg over the years has been marginalized.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrik+laine


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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