The Winnipeg Jets can thank their own St. Patrik for their success this
season and potentially for years to come.
Patrik Laine was the consolation prize in the 2016 NHL draft behind
generational talent Auston Matthews. But he has been a cause for celebration in
Winnipeg as a franchise-changing superstar at age 19.
Mathieu Perreault saw the power Alex Ovechkin had to alter the direction of
the Washington Capitals and turn them into a perennial playoff team and Stanley
Cup contender. When Laine arrived from Finland Wholesale
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things in Winnipeg.
”The organization wasn’t having a whole lot of success, and then they get
Ovi as a young kid and he starts scoring goals, and all of a sudden the team
starts winning,” Perreault said.
”They became a very dominant team for many years. So you kind of sense that
here, where the team’s been struggling for many years, not making the playoffs.
And then you get this young kid coming in and scoring goals for your team and
helps your team win games. I think coming up in Winnipeg we’ll have a dominant
team for many years.”
That’s because Laine is already a dominant player. With 16 goals and eight
assists in his past 14 games, Laine has the longest point streak by a teenager
and already passed Wayne Gretzky for the most goals by a player before turning
The best part for the Jets? Laine is just getting started.
”It’s really impressive when you factor in he’s still learning the game,”
coach Paul Maurice said. ”His scoring has taken off of
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game. … He’s an impressive young man at 19. At any age, those numbers would be
elite. But at 19, that’s pretty exciting because there’s lot of room as he
physically matures, for his game to change and become a power forward and a
big, strong man who can score off the rush. Take pucks to the net. There are
lots of places Patty is going to improve over the years.”
Laine is drawing comparisons to Ovechkin for his shot, which teammates and
opposing goaltenders say is even more deceptive than the Russian 600-goal
scorer ‘s blast. Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who has taken Ovechkin
shots in practice for years Uchenna
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angle of where the puck is going.
”He shoots it, he pulls it in a little bit weird – long stick – and makes it
really hard for us to read,” Grubauer said.
As much as Laine looked up to Ovechkin as a kid, the respect is now mutual.
When Ovechkin scored twice Monday to reach 600 and get to 42 this season, Laine
answered with his 41st and showed he has what it takes to go goal-for-goal with
”He’s a great talent and still young and still can produce lots of dangerous
(chances),” Ovechkin said.
Laine said it has always been a goal to win the Maurice ”Rocket” Richard
Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, and he’s in the race to do that.
Entering Saturday, he’s one behind Ovechkin and one ahead of Pittsburgh
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
”It’s always been one of my dreams to win it Lorenzo
Carter Jersey Elite ,” Laine said. ”It’s good motivation for
Laine is also motivated by trying to help set the Jets up for the playoffs
and make a long run this spring. Winnipeg has been banged up and secondary
scoring has been hot and cold, but Laine’s scoring pace has his teammates
believing anything is possible.
”You give him one opportunity and it’s in the back of the net,” Perreault
said. ”Right now every shot it seems goes in. It helps us win games when he
scores like that. It’s been fun to see.”
Maurice doesn’t know what he sees as Laine’s ceiling, but doesn’t think it
matters. As Laine’s game rounds out, he’ll face different kinds of defensive
challenges, and then it’ll be up to him to prove he can sustain scoring the way Ovechkin has over the
”The overall game Patty will play will become far more important than
whether it’s 40, 50 or whatever that number (of goals) ends up being,” Maurice
”At some point Adidas
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night. Maybe not at 19, but when that happens, he’ll be playing against the `A’
group. It’s not as easy to keep scoring like Ovechkin has when you move up the
lineup and you play more minutes and you play against the other teams’
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