Anaheim Ducks Should be All In on Patrik Laine

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 18: Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets during a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 18: Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets during a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
WINNIPEG, MB – APRIL 10: Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates after scoring a first period goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on April 10, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Patrick Laine was one of the most gawked over prospects in recent memory, drawing comparisons to Selanne, and Alexander Ovechkin as the next big thing as a goal scorer. it ultimately led to him becoming the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 entry draft, to the Winnipeg Jets, the same franchise where Teemu Selanne began his NHL career (although Selanne was drafted 10th overall as opposed to 2nd overall like Laine). Laine was living up to the hype out of the gate, managing to put up a 36 goal season in his rookie year, keeping pace with Auston Matthews (who will forever be linked to him as the player taken 1st overall in the same draft year) finishing with 64 points a mere 5 points fewer than Matthews (despite playing 9 fewer games). Laine was considered the next big thing in Winnipeg and was drawing more comparisons to Selanne by the game, with a buttery smooth shot and soft hands to go with it Laine was mentioned several times as a “surefire future 50 goal scorer” by more than one analyst.

The next season was even better for Laine as he increased both his goals and points, potting 44 goals and 70 points and following it up with 12 points in the playoffs. Laine then entered the 2018-19 season and things got a bit strange, Laine began going weeks at a time disappearing, his minutes began to shrink and he was even moved off the top power-play unit, a head-scratching move for one of the best shooters in the game, but at the same time the Winnipeg Jets were stacked at forward with several high impact players so it’s understandable that Laine during an inconsistent season, with the Jets having Stanley Cup aspirations, wasn’t given the keys to the franchise. Laine still finished with 30 goals, but only 50 points during an up-and-down season for the forward who just turned 21 less than 2 months ago.

Laine finds himself a pending restricted free agent, Winnipeg doesn’t seem to be willing to back up the Brinks truck to him just yet, and there have been reports recently that Laine may not exactly want to be in Winnipeg long term. So we have a young goal scorer who had meteoric expectations for the Winnipeg Jets following a strong rookie campaign leading to the player not quite living up to expectations (sound familiar?) add in the fact that the Jets are in a position where they have probably the most roster holes in the entire league to fill this off-season and the Ducks could have the chance to make lightning strike twice.

The cost to acquire Patrik Laine would be very substantial and he does require a new contract but for a potential 50 goal scorer with three 30 goal campaigns by his 21st birthday and you’re looking at a trade that you should be all-in on. (The Ducks would also probably have some interest in Jacob Trouba a fellow Jet who’s future is in limbo and requires a contract but as much as I’d love for a blockbuster trade resulting in the Ducks acquiring both Trouba and Laine for a jaw-dropping return likely involving first-round picks, prospects, and roster players, I don’t live that far into fantasy land)

One thing to remember is that Laine is an RFA, meaning if he and the Jets don’t agree to a new contract by July 1st Laine is open to offer-sheets, the compensation for which is outlined in this tweet.

While it’s possible that someone goes all out and offers Laine an offer of over 10.5 Million a season, I think it’s unlikely and it’s more likely that if it got to an offer sheet the highest he’d fall into would be the next tier above which is $8,454,872-$10,568,589 a season and requires compensation of 2 1st round picks, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick. A hefty price for certain and one that I think will lead to teams being wary of giving enough to hit that tier.

The ideal outcome, if an extension is not likely to come, would be for the Jets to trade him before July 1st, and the team acquiring him to sign him before free agency opens. The Jets get influence in the return at that point. Were the Ducks able to offer a significant package of cost-controlled players and a couple of picks I think it’s entirely possible for a deal to get done.

Something like this offer would be a good starting point and might be able to be massaged into something workable.

The Jets get two effective players back as well as a 1st round pick this season (they don’t currently have one) as well as a 2nd round pick next season. Max Jones is an intriguing prospect who has shown flashes of brilliance for the Ducks, and Ritchie is on a value contract for the next two years, which is invaluable to a team like the Jets who have so many holes to fill and a lot of decision making to make.

While it’s certainly a long shot and would be highly out of character for Murray to make such a huge trade, it’s one that I would love to see. What do you guys think, would you like to see Patrik Laine wearing the black, gold and orange? How about Jacob Trouba? Would you like to see my proposal to get both big fishes out of Winnipeg? Let me know below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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