Examining Patrik Laine's Potential Contract Extension With The Columbus Blue Jackets

By Coby Maeir on May 10, 2022 at 10:15 am
Patrik Laine
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Restricted free agent.

That is what Jackets forward Patrik Laine is at this current juncture. However, both Blue Jackets management and Laine have expressed that they want Laine to remain a Jacket.

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic offered some great insight into the potential size of Laine's next contract with Columbus. 

"If he signs an extension with the Blue Jackets," Portzline wrote about Laine. "It’ll likely be the largest contract in franchise history."

In terms of average annual value (AAV), that would surpass Zach Werenski's $9,583,333 AAV that kicks in this upcoming season. However, Werenski's contract is six years, two short of the eight-year maximum term, so in theory, Laine could have a lower AAV but a larger total value if the contract is longer than six years.

$10MM+ Comparables

There are just three wingers in the NHL with cap hits exceeding $10MM: Artemi Panarin at $11,642,857, Mitch Marner at $10,903,000, and Patrick Kane at $10,500,000. The best comp in terms of the time of signing would be Marner, as he signed that extension directly after his entry-level contract (ELC) expired in the summer of 2019. Panarin signed as an unrestricted free agent (UFA) that same summer, which was his first possible summer as a UFA. For Patrick Kane, his situation was a little different, because his "bridge" contract bought out his first year as a UFA, and he signed his 8x$10.5MM extension in the summer of 2014 when he had one year left on that "bridge" deal. 

Let's take a look at the above players' final season before they signed their respective contracts, and compare them with Laine in the 2021-22 season.

  • Panarin (2018-19): Regular Season: 79 GP, 28 G, 59 A, 87 P. Playoffs: 10 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 11 P 
  • Marner (2018-19): Regular Season: 82 GP, 26 G, 68 A, 94 P. Playoffs: 7 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 P
  • Kane (2013-14): Regular Season: 69 GP, 29 G, 40 A, 69 P. Playoffs: 19 GP, 8 G, 12 A, 20 P 
  • Laine (2021-22): Regular Season: 56 GP, 26 G, 30 A, 56 P. Playoffs: N/A.

Laine is a prolific goal-scorer, and he had the highest goals/game average among the players I just listed, so he has an argument to be paid like them. 

$9MM-$10MM Comps

If Laine's next deal does not eclipse eight figures, there are many other wingers to compare him with. There are seven wingers in the NHL that have cap hits between $9MM and $10MM: Mark Stone, Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Jamie Benn at $9,500,000, Mikko Rantanen at $9,250,000, and Kirill Kaprizov and Jeff Skinner at $9,000,000. 

Stone signed his extension the same day Vegas acquired him from Ottawa, the February before his first UFA summer. Ovechkin and Skinner both signed in the summer as UFAs, and Kucherov signed his before the final year of his "bridge" deal. Benn, like Kane, declined to hit the open market and signed before the last season of his "bridge deal that already bought out a UFA year, and Rantanen and Kaprizov both signed in the summer as RFAs.

Let's see those players' stats the season before signing their extensions and see how Laine compares. Caveat: Mark Stone signed mid-season so I'll put his stats up until the date he signed.

  • Ovechkin (2021): Regular Season: 45 GP, 24 G, 18 A, 42 P. Playoffs: 5 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 P
  • Stone (2018-19): Regular Season: 59 GP, 28 G, 34 A, 62 P. Playoffs: N/A
  • Kucherov (2017-18): Regular Season: 80 GP, 39 G, 61 A, 100 P. Playoffs: 17 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 P
  • Benn (2015-16): Regular Season: 82 GP, 41 G, 48 A, 89 P. Playoffs: 13 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 P
  • Rantanen (2018-19): Regular Season: 74 GP, 31 G, 56 A, 87 P. Playoffs: 12 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 P
  • Kaprizov (2021): Regular Season: 55 GP, 27 G, 24 A, 51 P. Playoffs: 7 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P
  • Skinner (2018-19): Regular Season: 82 GP, 40 G, 23 A, 63 P. Playoffs: N/A
  • Laine (2021-22): Regular Season: 56 GP, 26 G, 30 A, 56 P. Playoffs: N/A.

Given all of those numbers and factors, I'd guess that Laine's extension with Columbus comes in at around a $9,650,000 cap hit for eight years.

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