As NHL training camps approach, restricted free agent forward Patrik Laine is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to his future with the Winnipeg Jets.
The 21-year-old Finnish sniper claims contract talks have not progressed with the team that drafted him second overall in 2016. While he remains without a new deal, Laine seems to be ready for anything next season — whether that means remaining with Winnipeg or not.
“Well you never know. It’s still business, you’ve got to be prepared for anything,” Laine told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston in an interview Friday. “But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything.”
Laine is coming off his least productive year on the scoresheet (30 goals, 20 assists) after an uncharacteristic dry spell to start the 2018-19 season, as well as some inconsistent scoring throughout. However, he’s confident that he’ll be playing next season, wherever that is.
“I’m not stressed. I’m not worried about that at all,” he said. “I know that I’ve done my job as well as I can over these three years. So I know I’m going to play somewhere next year.”
As a restricted free agent, the Jets have the right to match any deal from any other NHL club.
Over Laine’s three seasons with the Jets, the winger has 110 goals and 184 points in 237 games.
After making the playoffs the past two seasons, including a 2018 appearance that saw the team reach the Western Conference final, the Jets have lost some key players as the team tried to clear up room under the league’s salary cap.
Defencemen Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot, as well as winger Brandon Tanev all departed Winnipeg this off-season and RFA forward Kyle Connor also remains unsigned.
But it’s not all bad news for the Jets, as Laine still remains positive about his time with Winnipeg.
“I’ve got nothing bad to say about Winnipeg, you know? It’s been good so far. But you never know.”