Laine signs on the dotted line

Jets' top draft pick puts his John Hancock on a three-year contract... and a lot of hats and jerseys

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Patrik Laine’s signature went on a lot of pieces of paper and a few other items this week.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/07/2016 (2337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Patrik Laine’s signature went on a lot of pieces of paper and a few other items this week.

They all have their own value but an important one will be sent to NHL Central Registry — Laine’s entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

The team announced Sunday afternoon it has a three-year agreement with the second-overall pick of this year’s NHL Draft.

The 18-year-old Finn got the maximum salary allowed under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, US$925,000, which includes the maximum games-played bonuses and a maximum 10 per cent signing bonus.

Which is already spent, the sniper said Sunday.

“I think I’m going give the signing bonus to my parents,” Laine said. “They have helped me so much during the way and made this possible that I’m here. I think I’m going to pay them back.”

Laine’s other contract bonuses have to be factored into his average annual value per NHL rules. The team said those bonuses are US$2.65 million.

A player can only earn a maximum of US$850,000 in “Schedule A” bonuses, which are performance-based, such as goals, assists, points, ice time, plus-minus and all-star game appearances. And he may only top out at US$2 million in “Schedule B” bonuses that are league-related, such as end-of-season trophies and awards and finishing high in league scoring and performance categories.

The accountants will figure out those things each spring. Laine was just happy to have checked off another box.

“It’s quite awesome to sign my first NHL contract,” the winger said. “I’ve always wanted to do that, and now I have done it, so I am proud of myself.”

With a knee injury, Laine is staying off the ice at this development camp.

Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports Patrik Laine pulls on his new jersey after being selected as the second-overall draft pick by the Winnipeg Jets.

He said Sunday he has enjoyed his introduction to Winnipeg in the last week.

“I’m looking forward to getting things started after the World Cup,” he said. “It’s a nice city. I’m going to love being here and making this my new hometown.”

Laine will be headed back to his home in Tampere, Finland early this week.

He said he will not skate for some time but will continue his off-ice training in the weeks leading up to September’s World Cup, when he will play for his country.

“I don’t want to hurt myself and I don’t need much time on the ice,” Laine said. “I just want to work off ice.

“I think the skating will come after that.”

Having played for Finland and winning silver at the world championship in Russia in May — he was named tournament MVP — he had a taste of international competition at a higher level.

‘It’s quite awesome to sign my first NHL contract. I’ve always wanted to do that, and now I have done it, so I am proud of myself’– Patrik Laine

And that’s hardly diminishing the gold medal gained in last winter’s world junior.

The World Cup will be another step up.

“It’s my first huge tournament to play against the best in the world,” Laine said. “It’s just so nice to be there and play with other Finnish guys against the world’s top players. I think it’s going to be a pretty amazing tournament.”

What might have been learned this spring?

“Maybe a little bit how I have to play,” Laine said. “And maybe how I have to handle some situations during the game. I got a lot of information from my teammates and linemates, so it was nice to be there and I’m looking forward to going on.”

Recently, Jets centre Mark Scheifele said Laine was the target of a fair amount of jawing and chirping at the world championship because that’s how good opponents are treated within the games.

Laine said there was no mention of that when he participated in Scheifele’s golf tournament here early last week.

“No, we were focusing on hitting the golf ball far away and not talking about hockey,” Laine said. “I know that guys will talk to me and try to get my off my game. I think that was my problem when I was a junior, that I lost my game when someone talked to me. I think that that’s not a problem anymore. I can play when they try to talk.”

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Patrik Laine signs an autograph for Jackson Kerger, 7, Sunday during the Winnipeg Jets development camp at the MTS Iceplex. The Finn didn’t skate but made a lot of youngsters happy in any case.

Laine said it might take a while for him to digest his fame here, though it has a ways to go to catch up with his celebrity at home.

“Maybe not now,” he said. “Maybe when I go home I’m not going to think about what I’ve done during these past weeks. That’s a hard question. I don’t really know what I’ve done here, signing these autographs and signing contracts and I think it will get much clearer when I go home.”

“I think I will remember this day.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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