Ever since he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft, Tanner Laczynski has been a name to keep an eye on.
Laczynski, now 21, is going back to the Ohio State University Buckeyes for his junior year. Since playing for Ohio State, Laczynski has been a force, scoring 32 points in 34 games played during his freshman year, and 47 points -- 17 goals and 30 assists -- while appearing in 41 games in his sophomore year, a total of 79 points in 75 career games at the college level.
The 6’1", 190-pound center from Shorewood, Il. was an impact player for Ohio State all season as he led the Buckeyes. He was the team's best player, scoring 17 goals and adding 30 assists, tied for 11th in all of NCAA in total points. He was the team’s best player, as he even helped his them reach the Frozen Four before losing to the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) Bulldogs who would go on to win the Frozen Four NCAA championship.
His remarkable season didn’t go unrecognized as Laczynski was named a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award. Despite not being named a finalist, it was still great recognition for an underrated talent. He was also named as a second-team West All-American, and was even named a finalist for Big Ten Player of the Year.
Once a prospect that flew under the radar, Laczynski has turned heads and should be on the radar now.
"The 2016 sixth-round pick has turned heads at Ohio State and was in the Hobey Baker conversation last season," NBC Sports Philadelphia's Tom Dougherty wrote in August. "Perhaps he's not so much 'under the radar.' He's on it now. That could turn into a problem when trying to sign him, but it appears like Laczynski could be on his way from a late-round pick to a legitimate NHL prospect."
If he keeps this up, Laczynski might be signed sooner rather than later and could potentially be set to fill in the role of being a center for the Flyers’ bottom six lines.
As to when the young Ohio State star might be up in the pro’s, it may still be a couple years. The reason he might not be up before his college career is over is because he has some work to do. Laczynski is one of those guys who may not have one standout quality, but just seems like a complete player. With his forechecking ability and high hockey IQ, he’s got a good shot to be a very good bottom-six player. The main thing keeping him from the NHL is his lack of speed and a complete offensive upside keep him from being a top-six center.
Laczynski is still young, however he has time to shape his game into more of an offensive role that he may be looking for. As he continues to work on his game, the hard work could pay off with a contract in Philadelphia, which would signify that he factors into the Flyers future.