Patrik Laine Enters Player Assistance Program

It's been a troubling season for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine; he has now entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and will be away from the club for an undetermined amount of time while he receives the care he needs.  

The Blue Jackets say he will return to the club when cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.

“Patrik has our complete support, and our sole concern is his well-being,” said General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen.  “Out of respect for Patrik, we will have no further comment.”

Laine himself did have his own comment later in the day, explaining that he’d be taking this time to focus on his mental health::

Laine hasn't played since suffering a fractured clavicle on Dec. 14th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It appeared he might be close to re-joining the squad, as he travelled with them for the start of their current road trip, but apparently suffered a "setback" according to head coach Pascal Vincent, and left the club late last week.

Laine got off to a rough start to the season, and at one point in November was even healthy scratched by head coach Pascal Vincent, which, after the fact, Laine called "embarrassing." 

The 25-year-old is the former 2nd overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft (2016) and is coming off a pair of strong, though injury-riddled seasons for the Jackets, with back-to-back 20+ goal efforts while averaging nearly a point-per-game over that stretch. 

This season, in just 18 games, he has six goals and nine points with a plus/minus of -10. 

Laine has missed 89 games due to personal matters or injury since coming to Columbus exactly three years ago. 

Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports