It may be that the Winnipeg Jets are losing faith in one of their top stars.
Some very surprising news emerged from the Winnipeg Jets morning skate on Saturday when Winnipeg Jets reporter Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun reported that star forward Patrik Laine was looking at a serious demotion in the line up. Billeck reported that Jets head coach Paul Maurice had hinted at the fact that Laine could be demoted all the way down to the team's fourth line for their Saturday match up against the Toronto Maple Leafs, an indication that Maurice was either unhappy or confident in Laine's play at 5 on 5.
There has been good reason for Maurice to be critical of his young star as Laine has largely failed to produce at 5 on 5 and in fact has a plus minus rating of -3 thus far this season. In spite of the fact that Laine is given significant time on the organizations top power play unit he also currently has just 3 goals and 2 assists for a total of 5 points in his first 11 games of the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season. Those numbers aren't terrible but you expect more of a proven goal scorer who gets so many quality minutes in your offense, and it's clear this is a message from the Jets.
Although it still has not been made official the latest report from Billeck has indicated that Laine was still on the Jets fourth line during the Jets' pre-game line rushes, and that has to be an indication that he will in fact fall all the way down to the fourth line on the organizations depth chart. Now I highly doubt that he will remain there for an extended period of time, and according to Billeck it looks like he will continue to get all of his power play minutes, but this is definitely a concern for Laine, the Jets, and their fan base.