Forward Patrik Laine has 66 points on the year for the Winnipeg Jets — and 24 of those have come in the last 14 games.
As the Winnipeg Jets prepare to advance to the postseason for the first time since the team’s 2014-15 campaign, 19-year-old forward Patrik Laine is advancing the throttle.
The Jets knew they had something special in Laine when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NHL entry draft, after which point he set about breaking franchise rookie records with gusto.
On Feb. 21, 2017, Laine entered the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise record books when he bested Ilya Kovalchuk’s mark for most goals in a single season by a rookie with his 30th of the season.
In the 2017-18 campaign, the teenager has been keeping it up. On Thursday, Laine made history yet again when he set a new record for the longest point streak in NHL history by a teenager — 14 games:
In those 14 outings, Laine put together 24 points: 16 goals and eight assists. In so doing, he usurped the teenager point streak title from Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, who, at 18 years old, earned a point in 13 straight back in the 2013-14 season.
Laine is also a member of the league’s 2017-18 40-goal club, whose membership is extremely exclusive — joining the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin.
Laine has four hat tricks under his belt, with his latest coming on March 6 against the New York Rangers (with the 3-0 outcome the result entirely of Laine’s efforts). He is only the third teenager ever to net four three-goal games.
To put Laine’s accomplishment in perspective with his age, his favorite player growing up was Ovechkin — who is 13 years older than him.
Laine’s success is his to own, of course, but there’s no question that he’s been the beneficiary of some recent line switches by Jets coach Paul Maurice. Now playing on Winnipeg’s second line, centered by trade deadline acquisition Paul Stastny with Nikolaj Ehlers bolstering the right side, Laine has thrown it into overdrive at the perfect time as the Jets prepare for the playoffs.
After 71 games, the Jets hover in second place in the Central Division with 94 points, 10 points behind the Nashville Predators.
In a perfect world, the Jets would love to find a way to catch the Preds, who became the league’s first team to clinch a playoff spot on March 16. If the Jets remain in second place in the Central, they’ll land the Minnesota Wild (41-24-7, 89 points) in the first round of the playoffs.
A much better proposition would be to square off against the Dallas Stars (38-26-8, 84 points), who are in the midst of a four-game skid.
Regardless of which first-round opponent Winnipeg draws, however, the Jets have reason to believe they can soar into the conference final — thanks largely to Laine.
With Laine’s 20th birthday approaching, he’ll soon leave the ranks of the league’s teenagers — coveted records in hand. But many more of the league’s top marks will be in Laine’s reach as he continues his ascendant career.