Thursday, February 11, 2010

Remember Lauri Tukonen?

I still remember buying a Monarchs jersey and contemplating putting Brown or Tukonen on it.  Tukonen seemed like the prototypical power forward: size and scoring touch.  Unfortunately, he didn't develop as quickly once the competition was ramped up and his stock fell pretty quickly.  He's considered a 'has-been prospect' at 23.  

The Kings selected Tukonen with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 Draft.  His performance in the U20 World Junior Championships was outstanding; finishing third in tournament scoring (7GP, 3G, 7A).  He led Finland to a Silver Medal and was recognized on the Tournament All-Star team.

He moved to Manchester the following season; where he had three consecutive 30+ point seasons for the Monarchs.  Tukonen battled injuries in each of his three seasons in North America.  His AHL career numbers are respectable: 185 GP, 36 G, 67 A.  His Kings career consisted of five games.

Hammer gave his player assessment of Lauri during his last season in the Kings organization.
His goal totals have actually decreased, from 14 to 13 to 9. Consistency has been a major issues, and the other parts of his game aren't quite strong enough to make up for a lack of offensive production.
He was dealt to Dallas for Clune prior to the start of the 2008 season.  Five months later, he was dealt to Tampa.  He re-signed with Tampa but battled knee injuries during the preseason.  He was assigned to Lukko Rauma of SM-liliga, where he's currently an assistant captain.  Tukonen is sixth on the team in scoring (43 GP, 7G, 16A).

I still hope we see Lauri Tukonen in the NHL at some point.  His junior linemmates Lauri Korpikoski and Petteri Nokelainen have found homes in the NHL as bottom-6 checking line wingers.  At some point, Tukonen will have to commit to making it to the NHL or playing in Finland.  I sure hope he chooses the NHL.

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