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Tappara's Laine hopes to return from injury soon

by Mike G. Morreale

Right wing Patrik Laine, an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's September players to watch list, was back on the ice Monday for the first time since sustaining a shoulder injury earlier this month.

Laine, a 6-foot-4, 206-pound forward with Tappara in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, which will be held at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

"He was back on the ice for the first time [Monday] and is optimistic and hopeful to be able to play next week," said Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting.

Laine played three shifts before injuring his shoulder in the first period of a league game against Karpat on Oct. 8.

Laine has four goals, six points and a plus-3 rating in 10 games this season. He has averaged 15:16 of ice time.

"Laine is a sniper," Stubb said. "His combination of size, skills, strength, soft hands and sharp shots make him a very effective power wing. He has matured both on and off the ice and is a player with great offensive instincts and a nose for the net."

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