Laine, in an Instagram post on Saturday, made sure his last words to the city were ones of gratitude.
“When I got to Winnipeg at 18 years old, I didn’t know what to expect,” Laine wrote. “It became clear very quickly that this city loved hockey more than anything else. I couldn’t have asked for a more loyal, dedicated and passionate fanbase. Thank you to all the Jets fans who took me in and made my family and I feel welcome.”
The Jets selected Laine with the second overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and has scored 140 goals and 250 points in 306 career games. He also made the All-Star Game during his rookie season and also had 16 points in 24 career playoff games.
“Thank you to the entire front office for drafting me in 2016 and giving me the opportunity to live my dream of being an NHL player,” Laine continued. “To my coaches, trainers and the support staff, I appreciate everything you have done for me. Thank you for showing me how to be a professional and helping me succeed on and off the ice. To all my Jets teammates over the past five seasons, it was an honour to play with you.”
Along with teammate Jack Roslovic, Laine now moves on to Columbus, where he will be looking to make the most of his tenure with the Blue Jackets before his contract ends this off-season.
In the blockbuster deal, the Jets received centre Pierre-Luc Dubois, who requested a fresh start and will get that in Winnipeg.