Nashville Predators Rookie Camp begins on September 10th, so to help you get ready we'll walk our way through the prospects, from youngest to oldest.
Jani Lajunen, Center - #63
Born: June 16, 1990 From: Helsinki, Finland
Height: 6-1 Weight: 190 Shoots: Left
2010-2011 Team: Espoo (Finland)
Stats: 60 GP, 10G + 12A = 22 Pts, 46 PIM
Drafted: 2008 7th round (201) by Nashville
Follow after the jump for some background!
What you need to know:
Jani Lajunen attends camp for the 3rd time since being drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 Entry Draft. Lajunen completed his 4th season in the SM-liiga (Finland's top league) playing for his hometown Espoo Blues last year scoring 22 points (10g, 12a) in 60 games and establishing himself as a good two-way player. That two-way play caught the attention of the Finnish National Team and earned him a roster spot for the World Championships at the end of the season and despite being put into the lineup to center the fourth line and play defensive hockey, Lajunen surprised many scoring 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games helping Finland to win the gold medal at the event.
A two-way center who also has the ability to play on the wing, Lajunen is a smooth skater with good hockey sense that allows him to read the play ahead of the competition. To go along with a quick shot, Jani has shown good creativity with the puck and can create offense as well.
Arbitrary nickname we'll give him even though he'd probably hate it
"Yanni" - now there's a name to strike terror into the hearts of men!
You've got to like a guy who can pull off the Mike Legg goal:
What's at stake
As a late-round draft pick who just this year signed his entry-level contract, Lajunen doesn't carry massive expectations on his shoulders, and is likely slotted for a bottom-six job in Milwaukee this season, a great way to let him make the adjustment to the North American rink dimensions and playing style. That's not meant as a knock on his abilities, just an observation that Lajunen is more of a depth player within the organization.
So get a good look at him over the next couple weeks, as you're not likely to see Lajunen again in Nashville until next summer.