Laine accepts $7.5 million qualifying offer with Blue Jackets

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Patrik Laine accepted the qualifying offer for $7.5 million from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

“Last season was a tough one, but I’ve put it in the past and am looking forward to getting back to Columbus and helping this team move forward,” Laine said. “I’ve had a good summer training and I’m excited about what’s ahead for me personally and for our team.”

The forward can become a restricted free agent at the end of this season. He scored 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 46 games for the Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets last season, including 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) after he was traded to Columbus on Jan. 23. 

“At just 23 years of age, Patrik has established himself as one of the premier goal scorers in the National Hockey League,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “There is no doubt that he had a difficult season in 2020-21, as a lot of players did, but we are confident that he will bounce back this season. He is a special talent, has a passion for the game and will be an important part of our organization as we move forward.”

Selected by Winnipeg with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Laine has scored 271 points (150 goals, 121 assists) in 351 regular-season games with the Blue Jackets and Jets and 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games. 

Laine scored at least 28 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons, including a career-high 44 in 2017-18 to finish second behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (49). He ranks 11th in goals since entering the NHL in 2016-17, when he was runner-up for the Calder Trophy, given to the top rookie in the NHL, to Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Forwards Boone Jenner and Eric Robinson each signed a contract extension with the Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

Jenner signed a four-year, $15 million extension ($3.75 million AAV) that begins in 2022-23. He scored 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 41 games last season. A second-round pick (No. 37) in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Blue Jackets, Jenner has scored 240 points (121 goals, 119 assists) in 530 regular-season games and 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 37 playoff games.

“We are very pleased to have come to terms with Boone, who has been an integral part of our team for the past eight seasons, on this extension,” Kekalainen said. “From the day he was drafted in 2011, Boone has been a consummate professional with his work ethic, character and leadership. He is an important part of our hockey club and ensuring he remains a Blue Jacket for years to come was a priority for us this summer.”

Robinson signed a two-year, $3.2 million extension ($1.6 million AAV) that begins in 2022-23. He scored 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 56 games last season and has scored 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 120 regular-season games and one goal in 10 playoff games, all with the Columbus.

“Eric has provided size, speed and competitiveness to our lineup since making his NHL debut in 2018,” Kekalainen said. “He is a young player that has steadily improved each year. We believe he has just begun to realize his potential and as he continues to improve will have a significant impact on our hockey club moving forward.”

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