When one thinks of an NHL defenseman a big man comes to mind.
Not by any means is that a prerequisite for success (just ask Kimmo Timonen or Sharks’ Dan Boyle), but it certainly is a good starting point for shaping a dominant NHL defenseman (see Chris Pronger or Bruins’ Zdeno Chara).
Flyers prospect Oliver Lauridsen is just that.
He has the framework at 6-foot-6 and 220-pounds and was selected by the Flyers in the seventh round (196th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from St. Cloud University in central Minnesota.
“He’s a good looking prospect right now,” said Flyers’ Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor. “I think somewhere down the road we expect him to hopefully see some games here. I think time is on his side and we’re more than willing to be patient.”
Lauridsen was signed to an entry-level contract by the Flyers on Mar. 15, 2011 and spent his first season as a professional hockey player with the club’s AHL affiliate in Adirondack the following season where he posted seven points (4G-3A) in 65 games coming off a three-year career with the Huskies at St. Cloud.
“That’s a big jump for Oliver because normally it’s a big jump from college to pro and in Oliver’s case you have to add a little bit on to that because he hasn’t played a lot of North American hockey compared to other kids,” added Pryor.
During his stay at St. Cloud, Lauridsen posted seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points and 143 PIM in 108 games played.
Flyers management agrees it’s not so much the raw skills and great size he possesses that will come to determine his capabilities, rather its hours logged on the ice and game action he sees from here on out.
“Defensemen tend to take a little bit longer than other players, but one thing Oliver has going for him is that he’s got great strides, obviously his size is something you can’t teach [but] his work ethic and his attitude - he’s got all of those things going for him,” said Pryor.
Given the work ethic he has shown during his short time as a pro, ice time is something he’s practically assured to see plenty of.
Added Pryor: “He just needs to play. He works his tail off day-in and day-out, he’s only going to get better and those guys that are 6-6 are going to get a chance to play because of those attributes.”
A native of Gentofte, Denmark, Lauridsen has represented Denmark four times during the World Junior championships – twice at the U-18 level and twice at U-20.
After representing the Flyers top minor league affiliate this past season, the time could soon come where he represents the Orange & Black on the blueline and that could come as soon as the 2012-13 season.