There are times when Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine can fill a reporter’s notebook almost to the same extent he fills an opponent’s net. During a videoconference call on Friday, when Laine spoke to reporters from his hometown of Tampere, Finland, there were flashes of “the unfiltered Finn.”
The 22-year-old star forward, who says he has mostly been hanging out and watching a lot of movies and TV shows during the coronavirus pandemic, offered up a brutally honest self-assessment of what he is expecting when training camp eventually begins.
“If I look at myself and think about myself, my game is probably going to look terrible because I haven’t skated for two months,” he said.
But Laine is confident he can regain his form in time for what he expects will be a good playoff run, with everybody rested and hopefully healthy, in part because he was having what he considered to be a pretty good season when NHL play was paused on March 12.
“I took some big steps this year. Especially my all-around game. (It was the) first time in my career I have more assists than goals, so hopefully that’s not gonna happen again,” Laine joked with reporters.
The second overall pick of the 2016 entry draft was almost a lock for his fourth consecutive season of 30 or more goals to begin his NHL career, sitting on 28 to go along with 35 assists for 63 points in 68 games.
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Laine’s previous best assist total was 28 during his rookie season. But first and foremost, he’s a shooter, and being relied upon as a producer is among the goals he has set for himself in the years to come.
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