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01-03-2012, 08:47 AM
Don't waste my time
VanIslander's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Antti Laaksonen

Has good speed, skill and versatility. Can score in streaks and is a solid player in the defensive zone. Kills penalties with aplomb.

The defensive-minded Finn is a Triple Silver Club member: at the 2006 Olympics, 2004 World Cup and 2001 World Championships, the latter tourney at which he scored 2 goals and 6 points with 8 PIM in 9 games. He was North American trained, spending four full years at the U. Of Denver where he got a degree and was an NCAA 2nd team all-star, won the Calder Cup in the AHL, and after his NHL years returned to his homeland to captain the basement-dwelling Lukko to the playoffs before retiring.

I remember him for his great checking work in the NHL. He was in conversations online a few times for Selke consideration midseason, and in arguments for why the Selke is wrongheaded in recognizing those who can also score over the more defensively-minded guys like him. He actually averaged 30 points a season, 16 minutes a game, for the solid 5-year block he played in the NHL:

2000-01 27 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 12 16 28 (16:27)
2001-02 28 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 16 17 33 (16:20)
2002-03 29 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 15 16 31 (15:55)
2003-04 30 Minnesota Wild NHL 77 12 14 26 (16:03)
2005-06 32 Colorado Avalanche NHL 81 16 18 34 (16:00)

If he had left college to turn pro earlier, if he had been given a chance in the big league earlier, had he played for a Stanley Cup contender instead of an already-defensive-minded expansion franchise, he might have demonstrated himself capable of fulfilling a Bottom-6 and penalty killing role on the MLD level. Liked the guy, respected the guy's game and think him capable of greatness.

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