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Anytime a young prospect is playing in a top men’s league and succeeding as a teenager, scouts immediately take notice. Jakub Lauko broke in with Czech Extraliga team Pirati Chomutov at just 16 years old, and played 28 games in 2016-17. This year he put up some production as a 17-year-old despite playing very limited minutes. Lauko scored three goals and six assists for nine points in 42 games. He added two goals and an assist in six games during the relegation playoffs.
Lauko has plenty of international experience. He played for the Czechs at the 2016-17 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring four goals and three assists for seven points in five games. He helped the Czech team to a silver medal at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament, putting up four goals in five games. Lauko was mainly given a fourth line role at this year’s IIHF World Juniors, putting up just one goal in six games. He was much more noticeable when playing against his own age group. Lauko had three goals and three assists for six points in seven games at the IIHF Under-18 Championship.
Jakub Lauko Scouting Report
Center/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 28th, 2000 — Praha, Czech Republic
Height 6’1″ — Weight 172 lbs [183 cm/78 kg]
Lauko is already a strong skater, but there are some areas that could be even better with a little bit of work. He has a strong first step and gets up to top speed quickly. Once he is started though, his strides are a little bit short and choppy. While he has good top end speed, a longer, more powerful stride could make it great. It would also help him to be more powerful, fighting through checks along the boards and getting to the front of the net. A bit more core strength would improve his balance and help him to become a true power forward at the next level. He has very good agility and can weave through traffic, with and without the puck. A little bit better edgework would make his cuts even sharper.
Lauko has a good release on his wrist shot and it is strong, but needs to be more accurate. He misses the net too often from further out. Lauko could also stand to use that shot a bit more, as he prefers to pass and waits a little too much for the perfect opportunity. Most of his goals come from using his size in tight to the net. He is good at tip-ins and banging in rebounds. As he gets stronger, he should be an effective net-front presence at the next level.
Lauko uses his size well to protect the puck down below the faceoff dots. He keeps his body between defenders and the puck and works the cycle game. He makes safe plays here, moving the puck to the open man, and keeping things going around the outside. Lauko is not the type to try and be too creative with his stickhandling but can cut to the net if he sees an opportunity. That said, his stickhandling and puck control are strong, to the point where he can sometimes afford to take a few more chances than he does. His passing and vision are good. He keeps his feet moving, both with and without the puck, and this high work ethic creates pressure on the forecheck. Lauko causes opposing defencemen to turn the puck over. He also is quick to pounce on loose pucks.
Lauko is a strong defensive player. He brings his high compete level to the defensive end, working on the boards, and supporting the defence down low. His big frame and long stick help him to cut down passing lanes and keep opponents to the outside. He needs a bit more strength to defend bigger forwards in the cycle game, but he works hard and his positioning is strong. That strength should come in time, and its common for teenagers to need to add that to their frame. Lauko’s game is similar to Reilly Smith, but this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.
Projection and Comparison
Lauko projects as a potential two-way player in a team’s middle six. He may never have the high-end offence to anchor a top line, but can play against the other team’s best unit and provide some secondary scoring. He has the versatility to play both centre and wing, though his pro future looks to be on the wing. Lauko’s game is reminiscent of
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Lauko that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 14: Jakub Lauko #13 of the Czech Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the USA Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 14, 2018, in Plymouth, Michigan. The Czech Republic defeated the USA Nationals 6-2. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)