Laine is heating up.
With five goals and eight assists for 13 points in his last nine games, Patrik Laine is enjoying his best stretch of the season. Over the last three games, he's recorded two goals and four assists, helping the Blue Jackets to a 2-0-1 record over that stretch.
Laine's talent is undeniable and it makes you wonder how he can go nine games without scoring a goal, as he did before recording a hat trick against the Red Wings on Jan. 14, and if he'll be able to produce a 40-goal season as a Blue Jacket.
Throughout his career, one knock on Laine has been his inconsistency in the goal-scoring department, something I highlighted in a piece I wrote over the summer.
Right now, none of that matters, as he's playing his best hockey of the season, which is huge for a team that can use as many bright spots as they can get, as they currently sit at the bottom of the NHL's standings.
With that being said, this nine-game stretch for Laine should be his standard of play, especially at an $8.7M cap hit. Not only is he putting the puck in the back of the net, but he's also making plays for his teammates, which is an aspect of his game that has been overlooked.
Now, if he can produce at a rate similar to this one over the rest of his career, not only will that $8.7M cap hit look like a bargain, but he could go down as one of the greatest players in franchise history. Maybe this play is a sign of things to come. Maybe not for this season, but next year, when the Blue Jackets will hopefully be healthier and be able to make a run at a playoff spot.
It's no coincidence that this stretch of play has also produced some victories for the Blue Jackets. When your best and most talented players play up to their standard, it's easier to win games.