With a big-money extension on the horizon, Winnipeg Jets' sniper Patrik Laine says he doesn't care when he signs his NHL extension. He's good to do it now or later. But, he says he does want to stay in Winnipeg.
The Jets will have some internal work to do over the next two summers. With names like Blake Wheeler and Brandon Tanev coming up in unrestricted free agency, there is perhaps no bigger a priority than getting restricted free agent and already elite scorer Patrik Laine under contract. After this coming season, he'll be in line for a long-term deal worth somewhere between $9 million and $11 million per season.
Laine, however, says he's in no rush to get a deal done. Speaking to media including Tom Gulliti of NHL.com, the Winnipeg superstar showed he's not at all worried. When asked about his contract situation, he said, "I really don’t care. There’s no rush, really. I can do it next summer or this summer. I don’t mind."
Laine knows he's going to get paid. With 80 goals in just 155 contests, he's outscored players like Jack Eichel who recently re-signed with the Buffalo Sabres for $10 million per season and another season like the last two will make him one of the top goal scorers in the NHL.
When asked about the kind of deal he'd be looking for, Laine added, "It’s always easier if it’s long-term so you don’t have to think about doing a new contract for a while." But, he did make it clear he wants that deal to be in Winnipeg."I’m happy where I’m at. I want to stay there, for sure. That’s something I want to do, and hopefully, they’re thinking the same way."
It is imperative the Jets get Laine signed and it may not matter when they do it. Eligible for an extension now, this might be one of the easier contracts to negotiate. He's shown himself in two seasons to be an elite scorer and if he has another 30-40 goal campaign again, all Winnipeg knows is that he's a proven commodity. It's an easy decision to make.
The downside for the Jets is that Laine's deal may require letting go of another important piece to keep the cap room available. That piece might be a player like defenseman Jacob Trouba.