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New York Islanders RFA Target Patrik Laine Won’t Commit To Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 20: Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets warms up prior to Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild on April 20, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Patrik Laine
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 20: Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets warms up prior to Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild on April 20, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Patrik Laine
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In an interview with Sportsnet, Patrik Laine wouldn’t commit to Winnipeg. Does that leave the door open for a team like the New York Islanders?

It’s been dead quiet in the NHL right now, particularly with the New York Islanders, but Patrik Laine continues to feed the NHL offseason with some juice. At least enough juice to get us through August.

Laine, along with teammate Kyle Connor, Mitch Marner, and Brayden Point are just some of the high profile RFA’s without contracts. Of the big four, Laine seems the most likely not to be with his current team when the season starts.

In an interview with Sportsnet, he talked about his current contract situation with the Winnipeg Jets and honestly, he wasn’t too convincing that he is going to sign there.

https://twitter.com/Sportsnet/status/1162526459090653185

That doesn’t sound like someone who wants to stay with Winnipeg. Do you hope it’s Winnipeg? Followed up by an elongated pause is enough to make the skin crawl for any Jets fan in Western Canada.

Laine is coming off the worst year of his career, in which he put up 50 points (20 lower than the prior-year). Keep in mind, Laine still popped in 30 goals in a “bad year” and he was playing in his age 20 season.

While I’m not really a fan of offer sheets I am a fan of trading for RFA’s and this is someone I would 100 percent look into trading for. Laine, despite his flaws, is the goal scorer the Islanders are lacking.

The biggest critique of Patrik Laine is that he doesn’t play any defense. While that’s been true so far in his NHL tenure, remember that Barry Trotz was able to mold Alex Ovechkin into a competent defender.

He may never be elite in his own end but if anyone can make him better it’s Trotz. I don’t care if he’s lazy, or if he is “just a goal scorer” the Islanders aren’t really in a position where they can get picky with top-six help.

The Package

It might seem like a lot, but the first-round pick is going to be pretty standard. The Rangers just had to do it in order to land Jacob Trouba from Winnipeg in June so that’ll likely be the starting off point.

As of right now, the Jets have Neal Pionk as their second pairing defenseman. Having Mayfield, who is a stay at home defender that could work nicely on the second pair for a $1.45 million cap hit over the next four years is rather valuable.

Giving up a top-five prospect in your system like Kieffer Bellows hurts but if you are getting Laine who is the same age and more established I think you have to suck it up and do it. The Isles would still have Oliver Wahlstrom and Simon Holmstrom on the wing in their prospect pool.

The Contract

After completing the trade to acquire his rights, the Islanders should look to give him a long-term deal. No, this isn’t going to be one of those Lou Lamoriello bridge deals. We’re talking eight-years $64 million ($8 million AAV) That should be more than fair.

By adding Patrik Laine, you’re getting someone who has averaged 37 goals per year since entering the league. Having him locked up at $8 million through his age 28 season is 100 percent worth it.

You might have to shuffle things around in order to make this fit for this year and beyond but Laine is the type of player you can do that for.

Projected Lineup

Lee – Barzal – Eberle

Bailey – Nelson – Laine

Kuhnhackl – Beauvillier – Dal Colle

Martin – Cizikas – Komarov

Pelech – Pulock

Toews – Dobson

Leddy – Boychuk

Varlamov/Greiss

Now that’s more like it for a top-six. The trade opens up a spot for Noah Dobson in the lineup while adding someone who you can pencil in for 30+ goals every year. That third line is a tad weak but other than that you’re looking pretty solid from top to bottom.

Next. Beau will audition for center role

With Laine not committing to Winnipeg, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would be wise to get an enticing trade package and focus on building around Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele.

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