Thursday, December 19, 2019

Patrik Laine Jersey Card

A lot of folks were writing him off last summer, as the sneaky/streaky Patrik Laine had an 18-goal November last year, making him only the 10th player in NHL history to accomplish the feat and the first one since Pavel Bure in 1994. Goal #17 also happened to be his 100th career goal, scored at 20 years and 224 days of age, making him the fourth-youngest in NHL history to accomplish the feat, after Wayne Gretzky (20 years, 40 days), Jimmy Carson (20 years, 116 days), and Brian Bellows (20 years, 179 days). Of course, Gretzky spent his 18-year-old season in the WHA, so you might take his first place with even more awe (as a matter of fact, I seem to recall reading he reached the 200-goal mark in his age 20 season...).

Also, Alex Ovechkin reached the NHL at age 20, so that's the only reason why he's not on that list.

I thought we could look at Laine's output this season, as he stands at 12 goals, 21 assists and 32 points in 32 games ahead of tonight's games, on pace for an 82-point season if he doesn't go through a similar drought as last year after the Holidays. It seems his underlying numbers show his stats are bound to dip like last year, but he is playing with Mark Scheifele this year, so he's going to grab points left and right whether he tries to or not.

This year might be a better indication of who Laine really is: the 44-goal scorer from two years ago -  which was good for second-overall - who could peak at 60 a couple of times, or a perennial 30-goal scorer who may reach 50 once. It took Ovi a while (and a Stanley Cup for some) to get the respect he rightfully deserved as one of the best snipers of all time, so maybe Laine has to keep maturing until he develops a more rounded game that his team can build around. Or maybe he's at the very least a Max Pacioretty-type of player who scores goals and does little else but eat time. There's something to be done with that as well, it's just that high-scoring second-liners make 70-80% of what elite sharpshooters make.

The kid's 21, we won't be able to fully judge him for at least another five years.

Here he is wearing the Winnipeg Jets' white (away) uniform on card #ST-PL from Upper Deck's 2017-18 Black collection and Star Trademarks Relics sub-set:
It features a matching game-worn jersey swatch.

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