Nashville Predators sign Jani Lajunen to entry-level contract

Jani Lajunen, left, should look a little less like a human billboard once he comes to play in North America. via www.tappara.fi

From the Preds:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2008 draft pick Jani Lajunen (JAH-nee LA-hoo-nehn) to a three-year entry-level contract.

Lajunen, 19 (6/16/90), spent his first full season in the Finnish Elite League with Espoo in 2009-10, tying for the team lead in plus/minus rating (+4) and posting 15 points (5g-9a) in 46 games. The 6-1, 184-pound two-way center also participated in his second consecutive World Junior Championship tournament in 2010, tying for third on Team Finland in points (1g-5a-6pts) and tying for second on the team in assists.

The Helsinki native was Nashville's sixth choice, 201st overall (seventh round), in 2008 Entry Draft.

Lajunen had to be signed by June 1 or the Preds would have lost his draft rights. Last month, Hockey's Future offered this assessment:

Lajunen has a good skill set and offensive instincts. Very quick for his size, Lajunen is very good at anticipating plays and can get the puck to teammates very effectively.

Projects as a third liner with some offensive upside.

Here's some video of him scoring a go-to-the-net goal for Espoo in 2008:


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