The Winnipeg Jets will enter the 2016-17 season in a good position to bounce back from a disappointing 2015-16 campaign. You can expect Patrik Laine will be afforded every opportunity to contribute to the club out of the gate, too.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice is prepared to weather any growing pains that may accompany Laine in his transition to the National Hockey League as he expects the 18-year-old to push for a roster spot.
“He’s certainly going to be given the opportunity to excel right out of the gate,” Maurice told NHL.com.
“Patrik is going to be able to do all those things he’s always been able to do. How long it takes him to do it, I don’t know, but he’s going to get a chance to play.
“He fits in to what we’re trying to do as a hockey team, so you’ll live with some mistakes that are youth-generated, but he’s a very special talent and I would not be surprised if he comes in and is able to finish and put up numbers.”
The 2016 No. 2 overall pick underwent knee surgery in June and held out of Jets development camp, but he’s healthy and currently training in preparation for a role with Team Finland the World Cup of Hockey in September.
Laine will join an already impressive cast of young talent in Winnipeg that features Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nicolas Petan, and Jacob Trouba. With veterans Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, Drew Stafford, and Blake Wheeler all coming off strong seasons, the Jets are in good shape.
The Jets finished last in the Central Division in 2015-16 with a 35-39-8 record following a 99-point finish in the previous season, which landed a Winnipeg NHL team its first playoff appearance since 1996.
Laine’s arrival should help ease the disappointment of last season.