2 coaches. 2 cities. 2 systems. Same single problem. Both coaches John Tortorella and Paul Maruice have noticed and utilized the talent of winger Patrik Laine in the same exact way, and that is the power forward department.
Patrik Laine is the second overall pick behind Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL entry draft. Laine has 6 goals and 4 helpers in 16 games with Columbus, which is a pace of 3 goals per 8 game series. Multiply that pace by 10 for an 80 game series, and thats another 30 goal 80 game season for the Finnish forward.
Being compared to Alex Ovechkin is one thing, but being played as him is another. Torotrella and Maurice have both been on record to say he can be a great power forward in the league because of his size. How can teams not seem to notice the talent of Patrick? Tortorella currently has him, under normal circumstances, with Jack Roslovic and Cam Atkinson.
That is a great scoring line for this team, when used correctly. Atkinson helped put pucks in the net with Panarin when he was here. Again, Atkinson is streaking with production with Laine now on his opposite wing.
Cam can do it with help, but does the lines in Columbus need changed?
I'll just look at the top six and explain why after.
Jenner -- Domi -- Laine
Bjorkstrand -- Roslovic -- Atkinson
Getting some grity and aggression will open Laine to not be afraid to get open and let Domi and Jenner battle the front of the net against opposing defensive units and the goalies in the Central, where Laine can release his lethal wrist shot from where he can best execute his slot. Domi and Jenner need to get going to help the team make the postseason. Domi needs to live up to the pressure of being a trade victim again, as rumors have already popped up of another change of scenery out of the Buckeye state. Jenner can also be interchanged with Foligno or Texier who can help be shooters can grow with Laine.
Bjorkstrand also needs to get rolling, and if Laine can score with Atkinson and Roslovic, then so can Bjorky. His new deal starts next season, and his goal scoring has to get rolling now before it is too late.
Laine can be the catalyst for any winger in Columbus, so use him to pump tires and get rolling. Building chemistry will help Tortorella and Kekelainen find the right pieces to keep him in Columbus.
Thoughts on Laine and the coaching of Columbus and Winnipeg with Patty?
More to come...