The Winnipeg Jets have signed forward Patrik Laine to a two-year deal, coming up with a compromise that pays out $13.5 million. Laine will earn $6 million this season and $7.5 million in 2020-2021, while the Jets will be dinged a cap hit of $6.75 million each season.
The deal is right in line with the bridge deals signed by Tampa’s Brayden Point and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk earlier this week. Both of those contracts were for three years.
Negotiations between Laine and Winnipeg were reportedly on the difficult side, so it makes sense that this sort of contract was in the works. The 21-year-old was reportedly looking for upwards of $7 million a season, with the Jets sticking near $6 million.
The contract, such as it is, puts Laine in the driver’s seat and allows him to show Winnipeg that he’s worth any pay raise down the road. When this deal runs out, the Jets will have to submit a qualifying offer to the tune of nearly $7.5 million (10 percent above the final year as per the CBA) in order to open up negotiations.
How this will end remains to be seen, but Laine’s comments through a Finnish publication probably didn’t endear him to the process. His perceived frustration as to his role on the team led to mixed emotions among the fanbase, although the forward did call Bryan Little to apologize.
It’s all water under the bridge – for the next while, at least.
And that’s merciful for the Jets, who’re still dealing with the future of Dustin Byfuglien. The defenceman is reportedly considering retirement. The club suspended him for cap purposes last week, a move intended to free up room to get a deal done for Kyle Connor.
Laine had his least productive season to date last time out, scoring just 30 goals and adding 20 assists for a career-low 50 points in 82 games. The Jets are hoping for more production this season and the next, which will obviously set the bar – and the market value – going forward.
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