Winnipeg Jets fans might be in a hurry to lock up Patrick Laine to a massive extension, but Laine himself is not.
The Finnish winger, who officially became eligible to sign an extension on July 1, has made it clear he wants to stay in Winnipeg but said Thursday “there’s no rush” to put pen to paper as the two sides have plenty of time to work something out.
“It’s not something we need to hurry because I still have a contract,” Laine, who has one year remaining on his entry-level deal, said during the European Player Media Tour via NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “But obviously that’s something I want to do at some point and they want to do. But there’s no rush.”
“I really don’t care,” Laine said. “There’s no rush, really. I can do it next summer or this summer. I don’t mind.”
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has been busy this off-season working out new deals with a long list of RFAs, including goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and forward Adam Lowry, and he’s not done — defenceman Josh Morrissey will likely be next, as the RFA is still without a contract for the 2018-19 campaign.
Per Gulitti, Laine said there was “nothing major” in terms of contract negotiations at the moment and while he didn’t discuss any further details he did specify he’s eyeing a long-term deal.
“It’s always easier if it’s long term so you don’t have to think about doing a new contract for a while, and I’m happy where I’m at,” Laine said. “I want to stay there for sure. That’s something I want to do and hopefully they’re thinking the same way.”
Through two seasons so far in the NHL, Laine has lived up to the expectations that have come with being selected No. 2 overall in 2016. The 20-year-old registered a team-high 44 goals last season, good for second in the league behind Alex Ovechkin, while adding 26 assists to reach the 70-point plateau. He also tallied five goals and 12 points in 17 playoff games during the Jets’ exciting run to the Western Conference Final.