When a players says, “I love it here. I want to stay here for sure”, it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s keen on moving or planning to ask for a trade. That’s what Patrik Laine told the media when asked about his less-than stellar run with the Columbus Blue Jackets since his arrival, but also his potential future with the organization.
With news that John Tortorella is leaving the team and will be looking for another club to coach in the offseason, some might suggest Laine’s messaging has a lot to do with the fact Torts won’t be behind the Blue Jackets bench next season. But, Laine also said, “It’s not the system’s fault. It’s just my fault. I don’t think it matters who is behind the bench, I still have to go out there and do what I do, and I couldn’t do that this year. I’ll do that next year.”
Patrik Laine made it clear that he wants to stay in Columbus. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/vq5wLbEeqj— BarDown (@BarDown) May 10, 2021
Laine talked about finally getting to see fans in the stands, that he loves the team and he knows he can be better. He’s asked the organization to let him stick around a bit longer after the season to work with a strength and conditioning coach and it appears he’s taking his run with the hockey club seriously.
Laine noted it was tough to see Tortorella leave and says the coach has done some incredible work with this team. “I think it was a tough year for everybody, for him as well,” Laine said. When asked how they got along and would describe their relationship, “I think it was pretty good,” Laine responded. “We had some long talks about the way I need to play… I definitely saw that if you’re not playing well you’re not playing.”
Laine is an RFA with this season coming to a close and will need a new contract. There’s been talk about what an extension might look like and if it’s a one-year deal or a longer-term contract.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen says with two more years of team control, it’s “self-explanatory” Patrik Laine will be key part of the Blue Jackets future. When asked about Laine’s season, the GM was aware that things didn’t go the way anyone would have liked but added, “I am pretty sure that nobody is more disappointed in Patrik Laine’s year than Patrik himself.” Kekalianen is fully expecting Laine to bounce back and noted that he’s only 23 years old.
There has also been talk that Kekalainen is planning big things for Laine and that the GM will try his best to acquire a top-level center in the offseason to try and help his winger.