Patrik Laine doesn’t care about any trade rumors
Patrik Laine could have done one of two things on Monday in regards to the trade rumors surrounding his name and his agent’s claims that it "probably would be mutually beneficial to both the player and the team if [he] is traded.”
He could have poured gasoline into the fire and created even bigger headlines on the Jets first day of on-ice activities.
Or he could have put the lid on the burning trash can, extinguishing the trade rumor flames.
I guess you can say he need neither?
“I’m here, aren’t I?” Laine said on zoom Monday.
“That’s the only thing I’m worried about right now. I’m not in charge of what other people are saying. I don’t worry about that stuff, even Wayne Gretzky got traded. People get traded all the time. It’s part of the game you need to be aware of. Right now I’m just worried about working hard here, being the best player I can be and help these other guys to be at their best.”
With things already tense in Winnipeg as RFA Jack Roslovic remains without a new contract and reportedly has requested a trade, Laine could have made things a whole lot more tense on Monday.
But instead, he kept things light. Professional you can say.
“[The trade is] not something I think about,” Laine said. “I just try to think about what’s going on today. I’m not worried about tomorrow. Right now, I’m here and I’m excited to play. I’m in good shape and I’m going to be a new player this year.”
Laine has been known to be a media darling at times since joining the Jets as an 18-year old. Some of his quotes have been some of the more memorable ones among current Jets.
Unfortunately Monday failed to provide more of those.
From Laine, to head coach Paul Maurice to team captain Blake Wheeler, the focus Monday remained on the hockey side of things as everyone did their best to convince you any trade rumors involving Laine are not, and will not be a distraction to them.
“What gets talked about in the media and what gets talked about in our dressing room are definitely two different things. We need to operate and think about everything that we do is in the best interest of us as a team,” said Wheeler. “Does losing Patrik Laine make us a better team? Probably not.”
“I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it, to be honest with you,” Maurice said. “We have conversations with the player, but I find it’s far more valuable just to watch. When what a player wants intersects with what’s best for the team, then everybody gets what they want and it all falls in line.”
Whether or not Laine truly wants out of Winnipeg or not is something we may never find out. But whether it’s here in Winnipeg, or somewhere else, Laine simply wants to be a better player in the coming season.
“Try to play hard, try to improve every day and hopefully be a better player than I was last year,” he said. “That’s kind of my focus and my motivation for this year.”
Laine skated with Paul Stastny and Kyle Connor on Monday, a dangerous second line for the Jets.
The trade for Stastny was to provide Laine with a player down the middle that can get him the puck and help him continue to grow as one of the league’s elite goal scorers.
But as Laine enters his fifth season in the league, it’s not the offensive side of his game where Laine thinks he can be better.
“I think I can even be better defensively. I took some good steps last year. I think I’ve been kind of improving every year, not as an 18-year old anymore. I can’t go behind that anymore—just try to be even more defensively responsible and just do my job,” said Laine.
“I can’t do anybody else’s job out there. Just worry about my decision and what I can do and what I can do better and hopefully other guys can follow and try to be an example on the ice on how to play.”
For now, the Laine situation and surrounding trade rumors are being sold as a non-distraction, but that doesn’t mean that will stay true throughout the shortened season.