As mentioned yesterday when he signed his two year deal, there were plenty of twists and turns in this summer’s Laine saga and things had gotten so bad at points that it sure felt like we were never going to see the Finnish sniper in Winnipeg gear ever again. But the deal did get done – somewhat surprisingly before Kyle Connor’s deal which I don’t think hardly anyone saw coming.

But before we move on, some thoughts about the contract, what it means for the immediate future for the Jets and what it could mean in two years time…

That’s almost a perfect contract from the Jets POV.

One thing that stood out to me in the contracts for both Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames was the amount of money they were both being paid in the final year of those three year contracts: $9 million. That’s the amount that both clubs are going to have to submit to their players as qualifying offers to retain their RFA rights when their contracts expire after the 2021-22 season. That kind of money is quite a bit on the high side and as Ryan Pike over at FlamesNation explained, it’s supposed to be a motivator for the clubs to get a deal figured out before a qualifying offer is needed.

It’s a little bit different for Laine who only has a two year deal and while the second year is higher than the first by $1.5 million, if things turn out well and Laine does indeed turn into the player he himself, the Jets and all of us hope and expect – a 40+ goal guy who can play physical when called upon and take over a game at both ends of the ice when needed – then the Jets will have zero issues qualifying him with that $7.5m and will gladly pay more.

Of course, if things don’t get any better then that $7.5m gets a bit tougher to deal with, but it’s a relatively safe bet that Laine won’t have two more seasons like last season was. He’s 21 years old, he’s just now starting to enter his prime years and the best is yet to come.

The contract itself is surprisingly simple in it’s two year structure and there are no known extra clauses in it to make things difficult for the Jets in terms of the salary cap, which begs the question…

Why did this take all summer?

When Laine mentioned a month before camp opening that he didn’t even know if the Jets and his agent Mike Liut had even talked about a deal, how much truth was there to that? If the Jets and/or Liut dragged their feet on this all summer only for it to result in a relatively simple contract that caused Laine to miss camp, that’s a waste of everyone’s time is it not?

Sure, they might have been waiting for the Mitch Marner deal and other players like Brock Boeser, Point and Tkachuk to sign, but as Dave Poulin of TSN pointed out, the Laine deal doesn’t even really compare that much to those other deals.

For weeks we had heard the Jets were around $5.5m or $6m while the Laine camp wanted closer to $7m. It didn’t take much to figure out that you meet in the middle and move on which is what they ended up doing.

What kind of shape will Laine be in?

Laine is set to arrive in Winnipeg on Monday and will likely get in a couple practices in with the Jets before Paul Maurice decides if he gives Patrik the green light to play on Oct 3 in New York. That isn’t ideal, but on the positive side, Laine has been skating with SC Bern in Switzerland so he’s at least been getting work in with a professional hockey club and shouldn’t be too far from game shape.

Also it’s been mentioned by Laine and others that have seen him this summer that he’s worked hard on skating as well as core strength to be a more assertive player on the ice. His lingering injuries from last season have also cleared up and as mentioned he will be coming to Winnipeg highly motivated not only to earn a big payday in two year’s time, but to silence some critics – some of which are within the team itself.

He wants the best? Put him with the best.

There was a bit of a joke floating around Twitter when Laine signed that the Jets likely threw out an ultimatum to both Laine and the other unsigned Restricted Free Agent forward Kyle Connor: Last one to sign has to play on a line with Bryan Little.

Poor Bryan Little, never getting any respect.

That likely didn’t happen, but since Laine has signed and KC isn’t around yet to take his spot beside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, why not put Laine with them? Sure it didn’t exactly work last season, but it feels like some things have potentially changed enough that it’s worth trying again. We already mentioned the Laine motivation, but you have Blake Wheeler acknowledging that maybe he was too overbearing as a captain last season and a team that isn’t facing the same kind of “this is your Cup to earn” pressure that they had last season.

If Paul Maurice is going to be stubborn enough to keep Wheeler and Scheifele together for yet another season, then at least put Patty on that line as well and do it while the season is fresh and attitudes are positive. The last time Laine got ice with 55 and 26, he was in the middle of maybe the worst goal scoring slump of his entire hockey life and the pressure of being on the top line and expecting that to be a cure all probably didn’t help.

Your thoughts…

To close out these initial thoughts and reactions to Laine, let’s get some of your reactions…