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Lauko Setting His Sights On September Camp

The ambitious winger hopes to build off his impressive first year in North America

by Michael Tolvo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - Jakub Lauko is nothing if not honest.

After concluding his first NHL training camp, the 2018 third-round selection made it clear his goal was to play in Providence right away. Instead, Lauko's first season in North America was spent with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL.

"I hated it the first month," Lauko said frankly when asked about if he was happy to spend the year in Quebec. "At the end of the season you just look at it with two trophies, it was the right choice after, and I think I changed a lot as a player. Improved my English too, and I think I'm different player after the season, different person and just happy that I made the choice."

While the initial disappointment of not making either the Boston or Providence Bruins stung for the ambitious winger, he made the most of his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"It was a really big experience," said Lauko, who notched 41 points in 44 regular season games (21-20=41). "The whole season throughout regular season and playoffs and especially in Memorial Cup. It's a hell of a ride for us and I really enjoyed it [a lot] and happy to have two trophies over my head after the season."

Lauko's Huskies won the President's Cup as the best team in the QMJHL, and later went on to win the Memorial Cup as the best team among all Canadian junior hockey teams. Lauko led the Memorial Cup tournament in scoring (2-6=8).

"You saw Lauko in the Memorial Cup," said Bruins Assistant GM, Scott Bradley. "Very happy with his progress. I don't know if he's ahead of schedule, but we're excited."

Playing juniors also presented Lauko with a higher level of competition.

"The league I was playing in [in Europe] was kind of experienced league," said Lauko. "Not as fast as in the [QMJHL] and it helped me together better. Like I said before, I'm happy that I made a choice to go there and I have improved."

While many European players have reputation as merely skilled players, the Czech-born Lauko showed he likes to play with an edge.

"I changed a bit because I was just playing in Europe the whole time," said Lauko. "Now I spent a season in North Americn so that changed me in some point of the game. It's hard to describe. I'm just trying to hit the net harder and not afraid to go for some scrums and fight and stuff like that. I just change a bit and I think it's better for me."

Video: Lauko speaks following Day 2 of Development Camp

While the 19-year-old has an abundance of confidence, he also understands the importance of staying humble as he tries to fight for a roster spot.

"I will just arrive here humble and prepared," said Lauko. "I will try to fight for a spot here. If it will not go well, just keep working and try to fight for a spot during the season and next seasons."

Player Development Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner is looking forward to seeing Lauko's improvements come September.

"We will see in the fall," said Langenbrunner. "I think he came in last year and had a good training camp, he did a real good job of coming over to North America and adjusting a little bit. It was a little bit of a challenge early on. Tough going into Northern Quebec learning English and French at the same time to a degree. So, it was tough living wise for him early on, but his game continued to grow and he played his best hockey at the end of the year and that's what we were hoping for. We will see when September and October comes with him."

Video: BOS@WSH: Lauko exits penalty box, finishes breakaway

When Lauko does arrive in September, it will be another opportunity for him to learn from some of the most accomplished Czech players in the world: David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

"I was always looking up to them," said Lauko. "And after I was drafted by Boston I watched them even closer. It's just nice to have. I can say, Czech and Slovakia colony here in Boston because a lot of guys [from there] have been drafted and are prospects. It's just nice to be here and watch and hear the Czech language too."

One thing is for certain. A Czech colony in Boston is a place Jakub Lauko would not hate, not even for the first month.

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