If I am the Winnipeg Jets or one of their fans, I can not be very happy with the latest round of comments from star forward Patrik Laine.
Laine, arguably Winnipeg's best young star, is coming off a season in which he struggled considerably, a season where many questions about his relationship with the organization began to bubble to the surface. To be clear neither Laine or the Jets have ever gone on the record to acknowledged any type of rift between the two sides, but both Laine's play on the ice as well as Winnipeg's obvious frustration with the player have hinted at the fact that there may be some issues behind the scenes.
That has been compounded by the fact that Laine, currently a restricted free agent, does not yet have a contract for the upcoming 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season. Not only does Laine not have a deal at this time but it also sounds like there has been very little progress in that regard since the Jets made their exit from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs after a quick loss in the first round. Laine admitted this week that the talks between his representatives and the Jets have been non-existent all summer long, again more fuel to add to the fire for those who believe that this relationship has begun to sour.
Laine did tell Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston that he fully expects he will be playing "somewhere" come the 2019 - 2020 regular season, but somewhere is certainly not a ringing endorsement for the Winnipeg Jets.
"Well you never know. It’s still business, you’ve got to be prepared for anything," Laine said as per Johnston "But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything."
Again clearly not a ringing endorsement when it comes to his future in Winnipeg. That was something that Johnston himself picked up on and as a result he asked him a rather blunt follow up question. Laine was asked point blank if he wanted to return to Winnipeg for another season, and again Laine's response was very open ended.
"Well I’ve got nothing bad to say about Winnipeg, you know? It’s been good so far. But you never know, so that’s kind of my comments."
No one is about to admit it publicly, but it certainly sounds like the relationship between Laine and the Jets has gone south in a hurry.