While NHL training camps began for every team on Sunday, Monday represented when things really got into swing. In the case of Patrik Laine and the Winnipeg Jets, that meant throwing gas on the fire when it came to trade rumors.
OK, maybe Laine didn’t actively try to make things worse. Instead, he just sort of stared into that fire, letting the trade rumors burn.
Patrik Laine doesn’t exactly kill all Jets trade rumors
If you compiled a “BINGO” card of buzzwords that make fans only feel worse about trade rumors, then Patrik Laine’s early training camp comments would win you some money. When asked about the rumblings, Laine responded: “I’m here, aren’t I?”
It’s never a great sign when a player throws out phrases like “Even Wayne Gretzky got traded.” Gulp.
"I'm here, aren't I? That's the only thing I'm worried about right now. I'm not in charge of what other people are saying."
Patrik Laine addresses the comments made by his agent saying that a trade from the Jets would be mutually beneficial for the player and team. pic.twitter.com/o9iPPBDQZL
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 4, 2021
For those looking for people “saying all the right things” about trade rumors, they’d be better off looking to other Jets staff and players, not Patrik Laine.
No doubt, the Jets are no strangers to Patrik Laine trade rumors, with TSN’s Pierre LeBrun passing along rumblings from Laine’s reps back in October.
At the moment, Laine’s bridge contract carries a $6.75 million cap hit through 2020-21. From there, Laine’s an RFA with arbitration rights. Clearly, this is a complicated situation, and there isn’t an easy solution.
LeBrun dove into trade rumors regarding both Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois for The Athletic today (sub required), solidifying the notion that this is a to be continued situation for both young forwards. As a reminder, LeBrun and others report that the Jets spoke with teams such as the Flyers, Hurricanes, and Blue Jackets regarding Laine.
(A “trade your problems” scenario of Laine and PLD would be fun, but probably just create new messes. Can you imagine how often Laine’s defense [or lack thereof] would drive John Tortorella up the wall? Truthfully, it’s a bit of a pastime to imagine how double-edged sword forwards might frustrate Torts.)
Being that the Laine – Jets trade rumors have lingered for a while, there are deeper breakdowns of the situation. Check out Adam Gretz’s take for PHT from mid-October for more.
Barzal, Ovechkin mini-updates
- Could Mathew Barzal be on the verge of a deal with the Islanders? Because Lou Lamoriello is involved, information isn’t especially easy to come by.
The Athletic’s Arthur Staple passed along the good and the bad (sub required). As Staple notes, it’s promising that the Islanders listed Barzal on their training camp roster. (It even got people excited.) But Barzal hasn’t participated in training camp. (Granted, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Barzal completed his physical. So there’s that.)
If I were Barzal, I’d be mildly troubled by the RFAs who signed largely team-friendly contracts this offseason. Maybe a bridge deal would be wisest for the 23-year-old? We’ll find out … eventually.
- What felt like a lifetime contract for Alex Ovechkin is expiring after this season. For some, that would be a source of anxiety. Ovechkin and the Capitals indicate that there’s no rush for an extension. NBC Sports Washington has more.
Injuries and other NHL training camp tidbits
- More and more, it seems like the Dallas Stars might stumble to at least start 2020-21. It’s already clear that Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop could miss months of the regular season. Now it’s fair to wonder how much training camp time Anton Khudobin and Joe Pavelski will get in:
In the inbox pic.twitter.com/fnP9jEyQlB
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 4, 2021
- While the Bruins aren’t as hampered as the Stars, they’re still in for a tough start. Even beyond shaking off losses of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. Both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak underwent offseason surgeries, and while Pastrnak looks likely to miss the start of the season, Marchand told reporters including Amalie Benjamin that he hopes to be ready for the Bruins’ opener.
- Sounds like 41-year-old Joe Thornton is invigorated by lining up with Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.
“Just being around this useful energy gets me excited, and they’ve got a lot of it here,” Thornton said, via the Canadian Press. “Just soak it all in. I feel like I’m young again, it’s a good feeling to be in.”
- Kasperi Kapanen must wait to get acquainted (re-acquainted?) with the Penguins, as he’s being held up by visa issues.
- Steven Stamkos began as a RW on a line with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. With Nikita Kucherov out long-term, the Lightning must be heartened to learn that Stamkos expects to be ready for the season.
- Looks like so far, so good for Nolan Patrick and the Flyers.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 4, 2021