It’s been nearly two full years since Jakub Lauko made things interesting in Boston.
Selected with the No. 77 overall pick in 2018, Lauko used the 2019 preseason to launch himself near the top of the team’s prospect pool with a showing that included one goal and an assist in three games, along with energy on energy. And though a knee injury in 2019-20 and a bizarre 2021 season had essentially put Lauko out of sight and out of mind for the Bruins, the return of rookie camps and a real training camp on deck for the first time since that run has put Lauko back on the map.
And first-year P-Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel has wasted no time in getting the Lauko hype train back on the tracks ahead of a weekend prospects showcase in Buffalo and the opening of Bruins training camp sometime next week.
“When we’re talking about players, one description I always use is, ’Does he get you excited?’ And I think every time he steps on the ice, something happens,” Mougenel said. “He’s had a ton of growth. I think he was a young pro coming into a men’s league, and he’s definitely put the time in [with] his growth as a player and a person.”
In action for all but two of Providence’s 25 games last year, Lauko finished the season as the Baby B’s second-leading scorer, with 19 points. This, of course, while being the team’s youngest full-time player. And it was enough to push his AHL sample up to a certainly respectable line of 10 goals and 28 points in 45 games since 2019.
.@jakub_lauko goes 1-on-1 to talk about his return to @WarriorIceArena and his goals for this week's #NHLBruins Rookie Camp: "It's been a long time with all the COVID stuff...just glad to be here and see guys that I haven't seen in a long time." pic.twitter.com/ZS2nHvvkbJ— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 15, 2021
“We’re very happy with how he’s come along,” Mougenel, who has been with Lauko throughout his professional development as Providence’s assistant coach before his recent promotion, said. “Special kid, tons of energy. Just an exciting kid to be around.”
The Bruins can always use more energy, excitement, and anybody you’d consider special. And the slow build with Lauko, who was considered promising but raw when we last saw him on NHL ice, has been an undeniably real thing.
“We have the ability to have players marinate in the American League and when they’re ready, they seem to go up when their games are tight and good,” Mougenel admitted. “That’s a testament [to] the organization and the competition from within that we have the ability to wait on some players and make sure they’re the best version of themselves. And I think Jakub Lauko is a prime example of that. He could probably go somewhere else and be pushed into [NHL] duty and not be ready.
“I think the one thing he’s done is he’s worked on his game, he feels good about his game, and he understands some of those things that go into being a pro.”
But is that enough to launch him into a contending status this camp?
“I think he’s really gonna push,” said Mougenel. “I think he’s the type of player that Butch Cassidy likes. He’s got some abrasiveness that really kind of showed up last year along with his skill package, so he’s the real deal.”
Now comes showing it, and at a higher level than the last time he turned heads.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.