WINNIPEG - Bryan Little hasn't even met him yet, but the very idea of centering a line with Patrik Laine is enough to put a smile on his face.
"I've watched him quite a bit at the World Cup and all throughout the summer," Little said. "He's a special player and that would be a pretty fun guy to have on my wing. … But I know that once camp rolls around, everything can get shifted and once the season starts, (the coaches) can play with the combinations all year."
The team hasn't run lines yet - we'll get our first glimpse tomorrow at MTS Iceplex - but with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers likely to start as the top line, it seems reasonable to assume Laine will get a shot alongside a skilled veteran, like Little.
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Laine is due to arrive in Winnipeg soon after he and Team Finland were eliminated Thursday at the World Cup of Hockey. He had 10 shots on goal in three games, and was Finland's most dangerous forward all tournament.
"We'll see what happens," Little said, "but I'm definitely excited to get a chance to play with him."
Both Laine and Little are in Group 1, along with fellow forwards Drew Stafford, Shawn Matthias, Nic Petan, Joel Armia, Kyle Connor, Jordy Stallard, Michael Spacek, Mathieu Perreault and Alexander Burmistrov.
Group 1 will take to the ice tomorrow at 8:00am.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com