The Columbus Blue Jackets must extend Patrik Lanie

There have been players like this in Columbus before. Rick Nash, Sergei Fedorov and a few others. For the Blue Jackets organization there has never been a player on the same level as Patrik Laine. While he was unhappy in Winnipeg, Laine is said to be happy these days in Columbus his numbers dictate that is true. A pending restricted free agent (RFA) at the conclusion of this season, the Blue Jackets would be wise in entering contract negotiations now.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 23: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates with the puck during the first period of a game against the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena on January 23, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

While Patrik Laine did miss several weeks due to an injury upon returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup, Laine did not and has not missed a beat. In 29 games played, Laine has 16 goals, 15 assists and 31 points.

Blue Jackets captain Boon Jenner has played in all 48 games this season and has 20 goals, 17 assists and 37 points. In 19 fewer games played Laine has only six fewer points than the team leader Jenner.

It is simple, the Columbus Blue Jackets are a much better team when Patrik Laine’s skates hit the ice. Laine is a feared sniper who can carry a teams offense. When the team signed defensemen Zach Werenski to a massive extension this past summer it began to show that they are willing to sign young talent and keep them.

When the team allowed Artemi Panarin to walk as a free agent, fans were outraged, disappointed and frustrated that yet another star player was leaving Columbus. With plenty of salary cap space, the Blue Jackets must and I mean must sign Laine to a contract extension of 8-10 years as he has not entered his prime years yet.

There is no fair trade value in the NHL, the Blue Jackets would not be able to trade Patrik Laine and get a player back with the same caliber offensive skill set. The organization would be wise to build the offense around Laine. Blue Jackets fans need to keep in mind next season there is a high likelihood Kent Johnson will be in the starting lineup. Johnson projects as a top line center. Having Johnson feed the puck to Laine could be a lethal  combination for the Blue Jackets top line.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 27: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates with the puck as Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers defends during the first period of a game at Nationwide Arena on January 27, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen recently went on a nation radio show and said the team wants to keep Laine long-term. In my opinion Kekalainen would not say that if he did not think a deal could be made.

The bottom line is that by keeping Patrik Laine, the Blue Jackets rebuild will not take as long. By trading him it would set the rebuild back.

The Detroit Lions lockup two players to contract extensions

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a reception during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Los Angeles 10-13. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions made two investments. One is a done deal, the other could come as early as today. Yesterday the Lions signed left tackle Taylor Decker to a four year deal that is valued at $85 million with $37.5 million in guarantees. Now comes word wide receiver Kenny Golladay is close to signing an extension as well.

Taylor Decker, who was a first round draft pick for the Detroit Lions in 2016, has appeared in 55 games over four seasons with the Lions. Decker’s play has become more consistent since entering the NFL, has earned the pay raise. Decker is also a vocal leader for the Lions football team.

A third round draft pick out of Northern Illinois in 2017, Kenny Golladay plays like a first round draft pick. The gifted young receiver has been valuable as a big play weapon for the Lions offense,  Golladay led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns, ranked third with 18.3 yards per reception and seventh with 1,190 receiving yards in 2019.

Kenny also was tied in league lead with five touchdown’s of a least 25 yards. In early August Golladay made it clear he wants to be in Detroit, “I want to be here, Really, I’m just going to let my agent, and (the) front office take care of that. I’m pretty sure something will get done.” Golladay told reporters.

The ink had barely dried on the Taylor Decker’s contract extension, now reports are Kenny Golladay is about to sign one. Perhaps a joint  announcement will be coming soon. Either way this is good news for the Detroit Lions.

To lockup two players that have proven worth and have both gotten better year in and year out this is the right move for Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn to take.

Both players and teammates will not have this hanging over them and the team when the season kicks off September 15 against the Chicago Bears. So the focus will be on games and game prep.

The Detroit Tigers sign general manager Al Avila to an extension

Embed from Getty Images In perhaps the bottoming out season of a rebuild, and in a season in which wins have been mission impossible, the Detroit Tigers gave a new contract to general manager Al Avila. Needless to say reaction has been mixed around the Motor City.

Deep into a rebuilding hole in which there is no turning around, Al Avila signed a new deal. The deal is one that team president and CEO Christopher Ilitch had presented to him this spring.

Al Avila is currently in his fourth season as the main architect of Tigers baseball. When he took over in August of 2016, the Tigers were an old ball team with a very bad minor league farm system. The rebuild was well overdue.

Through trades and good drafting the Detroit Tigers now have a top 10 minor league, and in a relatively short amount of time. That is the good news. Avila has made some questionable choices in free agency. Some have hurt the team by being unable to flip those free agents for prospects because of poor performances.

“We are right in the middle of it,” Avila said of the Detroit rebuild. “It’s a tough time. You start it, you start moving along, there’s a fast pace to it and at the end, when really, quite frankly, you start seeing it come together and then you can see the light.”

The stockpile of prospects alone does not guarantee success. Yet, teams that are winning now after a prolonged rebuild understand the value of collecting young talent. If a team collects enough good talent, the odds are good they will find a few players to build around.

The real reason Christopher Ilitch gave an extension to the Tigers general manager is it would be pointless to switch in the middle of a rebuild. Avila should be able to see it through. Now he gets his chance.

Unhappy fans need to understand the Detroit Tigers underwent into a full-scale rebuild. This is what it looks like. Fans also need to understand the Tigers have amassed some very good prospects under Avila’s watch. Other top baseball executives have commented on what the Tigers have in their minor leagues. Some have even asked for a trade or two.

There has been enough progress made that it warranted the extension. Now armed with three players (Shane Greene, Matthew Boyd and Nicholas Castellanos) being made available for the trade deadline. Al Avila and the Detroit Tigers could get a very nice haul of prospects.