The shockwaves have passed through Winnipeg now after Sportsnet's Chris Johntson airing and article of his time with Patrik Laine in Finland aired yesterday. If you have not read it take a look here: Laine's Comments
Those shockwaves have likely knocked Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff off his dock and into the water and for many Jets fans that's what they want- something to wake up the GM and remind him he's still got work to do before the season starts. Training camps open in 30 days.
I'm sure if Johnston had gone around to the other RFAs without a contract you know the other huge names like Marner, Rantanen Tkachuk, Connor, Provorov, and Konecny, there might be similar comments but right now we just have Laine's, so what do they mean?
First, Laine has always had a confident and direct side to his nature. He also possesses some mischievous nature too and all of those attributes come across in this interview. The critical issue is how to interpret his comments and not be too bleak.
Second, it would seem that Johnson had a great opportunity to set context but once he likely knew already where he could take this narrative and when there. The question he needed to ask was, "when did you last have contact with the Jets and how were things left?" Any solid and inquisitive journalist would probably want to know that important piece of information but they aren't all equal now are they? In this case I appreciate Johnston going to Finland and speaking with Laine as opposed to being in Toronto when he magically knew the issue in the Jets locker room in Vancouver that fateful day when Evander Kane's track suit was allegedly thrown in the shower.
Before looking at some of the comments from Laine I want to put this tweet into play it shows how Laine is answering questions and his mannerisms.
Tony's point here how Laine is presenting his answer. Direct and without humour.
Speaking of humour what is this statement from the article?
Time, money and circumstance are all working against the Jets. And because they are in possession of not one, but two — Kyle Connor being the other — high-scoring, unsigned RFAs wingers, teams still in need of scoring should be circling the Jets contemplating an offer sheet.
The Jets have the cap space to sign both right now and could move a player out to make more if needed but they don't need it. Laine is not Stone or Kucherov or P. Kane or Marner for that matter he is however an elite goal scoring talent who has put 40 up in a season before age 20 and that should not go without compensation. If an offer sheet was coming there would have to be a team with A LOT of cap space or the ability to make some quickly so that pretty much rules out that scenario.
When Laine said, “Well I’ve got nothing bad to say about Winnipeg, you know?," Laine told Johnston. "It’s been good so far. But you never know."
there sure leaves a lot to interpretation. Thats fine, if he's smart he knows this business has some change in it that happens quickly. I also appreciate what TSN 1290's Jim Toth said on Twitter yesterday that "Laine has a number in mind". There might be an understanding from Laine and his agent Mike Liut about where that is and should the Jets not want to be there they are open to moving.
Standing by your worth is never a bad idea but your valuation has to be in reality and there are some cold hard realities in the NHL. Wingers get paid less than centres, UFAs will earn more than RFAs except for the rarest of exceptions, and consistency matters. That's why the Stones and Kanes and Kucherovs make what they do and what guarantee is it that Laine will reach their level of play?
The take away here is a young man wants to seen as valuable, wants to be paid for his results, and probably has a bit to prove. I don't think Laine is great at posturing but he is good a creating intrigue and he's done that with his words more than a few times in the past and this is nothing different. Where the Jets should take notice is that interaction can mean a lot to some people and showing you care while negotiating is not a sign of weakness it's a showing of respect. Respect is a two-way street.
That's the other part of negotiating, as soon as you lose the courtesy and the graciousness of working together, the respect, then things can go south rather quickly. That's the danger here and Laine may have just simply reminded Chevy and the Jets that he has expectations around the process and they aren't unreasonable.
There's also another side to this scenario too, and we have not heard from it yet and perhaps when Kevin Cheveldayoff gets back from his cottage we'll get an update and one that provides some more context to something that currently appears to only come from one side.