The Hockey Winnipeg Jets and right winger Patrik Laine have agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million contract, the team announced.
Laine, who was a restricted free agent, was on pace for superstardom and a huge payday after two seasons in the league. But last season raised some questions.
The 21-year-old had 36 goals and 64 points in his rookie season and 44 goals and 70 points in 2017-18. Last season, he finished with 30 goals and 50 points but had only nine goals after Dec. 1 and didn’t have more than four goals in any month other than November.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Sabres have returned top prospect Dylan Cozens to his Canadian junior team.
The rookie first-round draft pick was assigned to Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League on Thursday after the 18-year-old center had zero points in three preseason games with Buffalo.
Cozens was selected with the seventh overall pick in the draft in June, becoming the first player from Canada’s Yukon Territory to be chosen in the first round. He scored 34 goals and had a Lethbridge-leading 84 points in 68 games last year.
The Hockey Sabres close the preseason at Hockey Pittsburgh on Saturday before returning to open the regular season there next Thursday.
The Colorado Avalanche signed top line winger Mikko Rantanen to a six-year, $55.5 million deal Saturday, taking another big-name restricted free agent off the board.
Rantanen’s deal runs through the 2024-25 season and carries an average annual value of $9.25 million, though the salaries per year fluctuate — including $12 million in each of the first two years and $6 million in the final year.
The Finn is coming off a career season in which he set new highs in goals (31), assists (56) and points (87) on Colorado’s ultra-productive top line alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.
The deal also means that Colorado has Rantanen and MacKinnon signed for a combined $15.55 million against the salary cap for the next four seasons, which amounts to 19% of the current cap, a bargain for two elite offensive talents.
The deal was announced one day after Patrik Laine ended his contract stalemate with the Winnipeg Jets with a two-year bridge deal for $13.5 million total. Rantanen had been training in Switzerland with Laine, his good friend. Once Laine signed, the two players flew back to Helsinki together, and Rantanen’s deal got done shortly after.
Other notable restricted free agents who also inked their deals during training camp: Toronto’s Mitch Marner (six years, $65.3 million), Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point (three years, $20.25 million), Boston’s Charlie McAvoy (three years, $14.7 million), Vancouver’s Brock Boeser (three years, $17.625 million) and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk (three years, $21 million).
Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor and Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi remain the only two restricted free agents who have yet to sign deals.
Rantanen was Colorado’s first-round pick (No. 10 overall) in 2015.
Colorado opens its season Thursday, hosting the Hockey Calgary Flames.
His first three seasons also saw his plus-minus go from plus-seven to plus-eight to minus-24, and his Corsi percentage go from 48.7 to 50.2 to 46.2.
Adding up his three seasons, however, Laine is only 21 points behind the man taken ahead of him in the 2016 draft, Auston Matthews, who signed a five-year, $58 million contract in February.