he,s up to #5 on HF... what is your opinion about that D prospect and is future... ??
He's shone in every situation he's been in, it seems that his problems are temper(he takes bad penalties at times) and the ability to stay healthy. Someone once called him a "vicious-hitting Timonen," which is easy to get excited about.
It should be noted that he has the most significant injury concerns of ANY of our prospects....
It's true. Even though last season was a pretty injury free season for him, even the smallest injury seems to turn into a big problem with him. I think had a a bruise or something like that in his knee, but the internal bleeding from it caused a cyst to form there and it had to be surgically removed and after the surgery he got some sort of infection there.
I'm not sure about the bruise, it might have been something else, but it wasn't anything major at least since he played through it from around February to April.
He also had a concussion from a headshot this season, but still, I thought this was a pretty good season for him when it comes to injuries. I think he might have had two shot blocking related injuries as well, but only missed like one or two games for that (the rumor was that he broke/fractured a rib blocking a shot and took another one in the ankle, but I'm not sure about that).
About that temper thing. I don't think that's a problem for him. It might have seemed like that at the latest WJC, but that's the only time it has really happened with him in recent years.
Might have had something to do with the pressure of being one of the leading players on his team and especially the defense and frustration following the teams bad play, but his team played badly in the SM-liiga as well. They lost a few games with huge margins like 10-1, but it was usually Laakso who was the last to quit playing and as much as someone can shine in that situation, Laakso did.
It's in Finnish, but I posted that to point out that even the reporter there thought that he was the best player on his team. In another article/report it was said that he was one of the few people on his team trying that night. That's just an example, though. It wasn't the only case, but probably the clearest case.
Laakso got a lot of ice time in that game (most from his team) after Jere Karalahti got a 10 min misconduct penalty (and the coach benched him after that) and managed to be only -2 in that game (and the second goal scored on him was actually a huge mistake from the goalie who was playing his first SM-liiga game after they pulled the starting goalie).
Laakso had 25 2 min penalties in the sm-liiga this season, which doesn't even land him in the top 30. Not even the top 30 among d-men. And it's not like he played less than those other guys either. He averaged 20 minutes per game. He had two automatic 10 min misconducts, both for checking from behind (usually a 2+10 or 5+20 penalty over here). My point being that I don't see it as a problem. It remains to be seen how this will change in North America, but I'd imagine that the smaller rink might actually even reduce the amount of penalties he takes.
Many HIFK fans loved his play last season, some have even suggested that he has developed past HIFK legend Karalahti (especially now as Karalahti's level of play has taken a bit of a dive), defensively. Offensively he still needs to take a few steps forward to be NHL-caliber in my opinion.
He has shown in the WJCs that he is a good PP player, but in the SM-liiga, after he actually started getting PP time, he didn't get the puck much. Seemed like his teammates didn't trust him enough or were too selfish. It's not like he wasn't open (maybe he could've shouted more to indicate this, I don't know, but it's a fact that he didn't touch the puck much on the PP and I think it frustrated him as it did some of us in the audience as well).
His biggest strengths in my opinion are his positioning and the fact that he hates losing. A lot. Sometimes it can show as frustration, but usually it shows as shot blocking (prevented a few empy netters as well), diving to take the puck away from someone on a breakaway and fierce (maybe a bit too strong a word, but I couldn't think of a better word to describe it) battles along the boards. In less words: the effort he puts into it (still without overdoing it much).
Last edited by Panopticon: 06-07-2007 at 01:47 PM.