Prized draft prospect Laine wins Finnish playoff MVP


As we draw closer to the draft, there’s only one player that’s come close to challenging Auston Matthews as the No. 1 overall pick — Finnish forward Patrik Laine.

On Tuesday, Laine crept up on Matthews even more.

The 18-year-old capped off a banner SM-liiga campaign by helping Tappara capture the Finnish league title, on the strength of 10 goals and 15 points in 18 games. Laine was awarded the Jarri Kurri trophy as the league’s playoff MVP.

At 6-foot-4, 209 pounds and armed with a dynamic shot, Laine’s had scouts drooling for quite some time. After a scintillating World Juniors — in which he helped Finland capture gold with 13 points in seven games — Laine went on to have a terrific SM-liiga regular season, posting 33 points in 46 games.

Of course, I could write and write and write about Laine’s exploits. Or I could post a video:

Laine is expected to be selected to Team Finland for the upcoming World Hockey Championships in Russia.