Jets' Laine: 'I took a big step' toward becoming more consistent this year
"I was really happy with the way that I was able to play and not just the points and the goals," Laine said to Sportsnet's Sean Reynolds. "I think this year I took a big step towards a really consistent player. I was able to close the gap between a good and a bad night. I think that was the biggest thing for me."
He jokingly added: "It's always nice to reach that 30-goal mark and I wasn't quite there yet this year. It was actually the first year ever that I had more assists than goals so that's kind of embarrassing for me ... but maybe that's who I am in the future."
Consistency has plagued Laine early in his career, often scoring goals in bunches while going on long cold streaks. In 2018-19, Laine scored a solid 30 goals - but 18 of them came in November alone.
The former second overall pick changed things up during the 2019-20 season. At the time of the season's pause, he was averaging career highs in time on ice (19:25), assists (35), and hits (97). Even with the improvements to his 200-foot game, Laine was still on pace to pot an impressive 34 goals.
The Finnish winger attributed a lot of his growth and success this season to the two-year bridge deal he signed last summer. He believes the short contract has ultimately helped him improve his game.
"It obviously adds a little bit more pressure on me for the upcoming couple of seasons that I gotta play well. But that's just another challenge, and I like challenges," Laine said.
"Right now, I'm not really thinking about a new deal. Just try to work on my game and it'll come at some point. When you play well and you're proving to everyone that you're worth the big bucks, so that's kind of my focus right now - that I want to play well and I want to help the team to win."