On Friday afternoon it was announced that the Jets and Laine have agreed upon a two-year deal worth $6.75 million annually. After a long stand off between the restricted free agent and the organization, the deal was struck midday Friday. He will earn $6 million in year one of the contract and $7.5 million in year two, which means his qualifying offer following the 2020-21 season will begin at $7.5 million annually.
Laine, 21, has scored at least 30 goals in each of his three seasons in the NHL, most notably 44 in 2017-18, where he helped lead the Jets to the Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. 2018-19 was trying season for the Finnish star, where he amassed 18 goals in the month of November, but totalled just 30 goals and 50 points by season’s end.
With Laine now locked up on a bridge deal for two more seasons, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Jets front office can turn their attention solely to fellow RFA Kyle Connor, who is also in need of a new deal. Connor, 22, had 34 goals and 66 points for Winnipeg in 2018-19. Now having $14.859 million in cap space ($7.6 million is allotted to Dustin Byfuglien’s contract), the Jets have excess of $7 million for Connor.
The Jets travel to Minnesota for their final preseason tune up on Sunday afternoon, in preparation for opening night of the 2019-20 season in New York against Jacob Trouba, Brendan Lemieux and the Rangers. Puck drop is set for 1:00 PM central on Sunday from Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.