No. T-11: Tanner Laczynski
2020-21 League/Team(s): Flyers/Phantoms
2020-21 Statistics: 6 G, 4 A, 10 P in 19 G
Acquired In: 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 169th overall
Ranking in Spring 2020 25 Under 25: 18
How did Laczynski’s 2020-21 hockey season go? Is his stock trending up or down from where it was entering the year?
The former collegiate star at Ohio State broke through to the NHL last season for a five-game cup of coffee after being a sixth-round pick way back in 2016. Laczynski didn’t register a point in any of those five games, but held his own as a bottom six lineup piece and was able to product 10 points in 14 games with the Phantoms in the AHL as well during 2020-21.
Given that Laczynski was already an older prospect at 23 last season, and having four years of NCAA experience, it was nice to see him break through to the NHL quickly. Helping matters is a solid all-around game that sees Laczynski do just about everything well while failing to possess any standout traits.
He won’t blow you away, but he’s a good skater with decent hands and has a high hockey IQ. While his ceiling isn’t necessarily that high, his floor is high and you know what you’re getting when he’s on the ice. He projects as as a bit of an AHL/NHL tweener, but he’s produced everywhere he’s been and showed he belonged during his NHL stint last year.
What are we expecting from Laczynski this season? What should we be looking for from him?
Laczynski faces a tough battle for playing time at the NHL level with the Flyers brining in Nate Thompson and Derick Brassard to an already crowded forward group. While both veterans are more of less penciled in for the time being, both could easily be pushed for a spot by Laczynski — or even Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who did not have a strong 2020-21 season.
Making matters tougher is his recovery from hip surgery, which was successful but carried a long recovery timeline. During development camp Laczynski talked about how he felt good and confident following the surgery, but it’s something to note as he battles for an NHL job here in the next few weeks.
That could result in more seasoning for him in Lehigh Valley, though his long NCAA career and showing last season with 10 points in 14 games that he might be grown out of the league. If he’s down with the Phantoms, we’ll be looking for him to continue to hone his 200-foot game and gain more experience in all situations. If he’s up with the Flyers it’ll be the result of a strong camp and proving that he belongs over a veteran or a guy like Aube-Kubel.
Laczynski can certainly slide into the lineup in a fourth line role where he uses his skating ability to be a hound on the forecheck and defensively responsible enough to be deployed on the defensive end as he was most of the time last year in his NHL action. The coaching staff trusted him in that role and resulted in 63% of his shifts starting in the defensive zone — which could help separate him from guys like Wade Allison or NAK that don’t carry as strong of two-way games.
The former Buckeye has some skill to his game, too, and would provide a bit more juice in the bottom six — especially on the fourth line — on the offensive end if given ample opportunity.
How does Laczynski fit into the Flyers’ long-term plans? Where does he stand in the Flyers’ organizational depth?
He fills a potentially valuable role as a prospect who doesn’t have a ton of holes in his game and is NHL-ready right now. Much of that is due to his age and development curve, but he’s an experienced player who’s played against tough competition and has an NHL body to go with it.
We haven’t seen him given a long enough look to see if he’s going to be able to score at the NHL level, but he was able to generate chances last season in five games and results will come if you’re on the plus side of the chance battle. He doesn’t have the offensive upside of an Allison or Bobby Brink or those guys, but he could stick as a useful piece in the bottom six and give the Flyers a versatile player that can slide up and down the lineup as needed.
What do we think Laczynski’s ultimate NHL upside is, and how likely is it that he gets to something approaching that?
While he piled up points at Ohio State and had a strong showing with the Phantoms, his offensive upside remains a bit limited in terms of projecting his NHL production but he’s a solid all-around player who the Flyers should be able to plug and play in the lineup on any given night and not live to totally regret it.
His ceiling isn’t as high as some of the other prospects in the system, but he also has a high floor. If he never becomes more than a bottom six player, that’s a good outcome for a sixth-round pick. And if he proves he can slide up in the lineup a bit as needed then the Flyers will have found themselves a version of Michael Raffl, who was a productive and useful player during his time with the club.
Penalty kill help:
In his own words:
Development Camp Video:— LehighValleyPhantoms (@LVPhantoms) August 31, 2021
Tanner Laczynski talks about his recovery from surgery and his success in his rookie season with the Phantoms. pic.twitter.com/XHaLkfbQpF
Recovery from surgery:
Tanner Laczynski, who had hip surgery in April. Looks good and should compete in camp for a bottom-six job. pic.twitter.com/5z5auO9rNm— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 30, 2021
How We Voted: Tanner Laczynski
How We Voted: No. 11
|Bobby Brink||Tyson Foerster||Ronnie Attard||Zayde Wisdom||Tanner Laczynski||Samuel Ersson||Connor Bunnaman||Elliot Desnoyers||Emil Andrae||Tanner Laczynski|
Previously in Flyers Summer 2021 Top 25 Under 25:
- No. T-24: Ivan Fedotov
- No. T-24: German Rubtsov
- No. 23: Jay O’Brien
- No. 22: David Kase
- No. 21: Linus “The Hog” Hogberg
- No. 20: Isaac Ratcliffe
- No. 19: Ronnie Attard
- No. 18: Connor Bunnaman
- No. 17: Noah Cates
- No. 16: Elliot Desnoyers
- No. 15: Emil Andrae
- No. 14: Samu Tuomaala
- No. 13: Zayde Wisdom
- No. T-11: Samuel Ersson