Patrik Laine will only be happy this season if the Winnipeg Jets qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "It doesn't matter if I'm going to score 50 goals, if the team is not going to make the playoffs and I score 50 goals, I'm not happy," the right wing said at the opening of training camp Friday. "If I'm going to score 10 goals and the team makes the playoffs, of course I will be excited. I'll be thrilled. That's what I think." Laine had 64 points (36 goals, 28 assists) in 73 games as a rookie last season. He finished second to Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews in scoring among rookies and in voting for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL rookie of the year. However, the Jets missed the playoffs, finishing seven points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card from the Western Conference. The 19-year-old said his second NHL season undoubtedly will bring more attention from opponents. "I guess everybody knows me and what I can do," Laine said. "I just need to be better. The opponents will be next to me always and during the power play they will kind of be standing next to me kind of like they do with Ovi (Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin). So I will need to find more space and try to do some new tricks on the ice so I can get that space and maybe a couple of goals." Center Mark Scheifele does not believe such attention will deter Laine. "It's just what you have to deal with when you're as good as he is," Scheifele said. "I think he's a guy who's handled it really well. He handled it last year and he's a legend over in Finland so he dealt with it playing [professionally] over there. "I think we have a good support system around him to help him through those times, but he's got a good head on his shoulders, and I think that extra attention and extra pressure is just going to help him thrive and be extra motivated to do as well as he can." Laine did not fade offensively when opponents focused on him more as last season went on. He scored 21 goals in 41 games in the first half, and 15 goals in 32 games in the second half, when he missed nine games (eight because of a concussion, one with an illness).
Laine: Only reaching playoffs will make me happy
NHL.com | Sep 16