Meet the Seattle Kraken: Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon

In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive on each player. This installment of the series focuses on defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, who the Kraken selected from the Boston Bruins.

Jeremy Lauzon

Age: 24
Position: Defense
2020-21 Team: Boston Bruins
2020-21 Season: Lauzon cracked the Bruins roster full-time this past season, seeing solely NHL ice for the first time in his career. He averaged 18:43 time on ice and saw decent penalty killing time. In 41 games, he scored a goal and eight points while collecting 40 penalty minutes (PIMs), 10 of which came from two fights. He went pointless in seven playoff games. 
Type of Acquisition: The Seattle Kraken selected Lauzon during the expansion draft. 

Lauzon’s Pre-Kraken Career

Lauzon spent the entirety of his junior hockey career playing for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. He scored 20 goals and 52 points, to go with 152 PIMs, in 115 games over his first two seasons. Following the 2014-15 season, his second, he was drafted 52nd overall by the Bruins.

His final two QMJHL seasons saw continued offensive growth and gritty play, finishing those two seasons with 15 goals, 78 points and 130 PIMs over 85 games. Playing in 22 playoff games, he scored six goals and 22 points.

(Credit: Jean Lapointe / Ryoun-Noranda Huskies)

During the 2015-16 QMJHL playoffs, he suffered a skate laceration to his neck. He only played in nine games that postseason, scoring a goal and eight points as the Huskies won the President’s Cup as QMJHL champions. However, his offensive prowess never left Quebec. 

Lauzon spent the 2017-18 season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Providence Bruins, and scored a goal and seven points in 52 games. He split time over the next two seasons between Providence and Boston, tallying two goals and 20 points in 74 AHL games over that span.

In 76 NHL games, Lauzon has scored three goals, 11 points and 71 PIMs, and has not scored in 13 playoff games over two playoff berths. His ice time hovered around the 15:30 mark during his two partial NHL seasons, before increasing to 18:43 this past season. He had a 45.5 Corsi for percentage (CF%) while starting 64.8% of his shifts in the defensive zone. 

Lauzon’s Kraken Expectations

Part of Lauzon’s drop in offensive production can be attributed to his lack of power play time. Over his 76 NHL games, he has spent under five total minutes on the power play. While he spent over 125 minutes killing penalties this past season, it’s hard to see him edging out Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol’s other, more established options. 

He would need a lot to go right during training camp, and a lot to go wrong for some of his potential teammates, for him to make the opening night roster, let alone start the season in the NHL. It could be beneficial for him to receive decent ice time in the AHL and really work to find that offensive touch he enjoyed in junior hockey at the professional level. 

If Lauzon were to make the roster, it would likely be as the sixth/seventh-defenseman. He could see some penalty killing time, but given that role, isn’t likely find a surge in offensive production. Especially if the team is already struggling to score as a whole.

Seattle Kraken expansion draftee, defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, is taking his physicality to Emerald City

However, he will bring grit to the lineup, as he’s willing to throw his body around and is willing to fight. Given that the Kraken have a plethora of players who’ll enjoy playing a physical game, having someone also willing to back up that physical play wouldn’t hurt.

Was Selecting Lauzon a Hit or a Miss?

Kraken general manager Ron Francis passed on selecting players such as forwards Cameron Hughes and Jack Studnicka to select Lauzon. Considering how defensively-heavy the Kraken expansion drafted, it may not be the best selection for both the player and the team. 

The Kraken needed offensive firepower, and Lauzon lost his scoring touch once he turned pro. A player like the 24-year-old Hughes, who had a breakout AHL season with 21 points in 25 games this past season. Even 22-year-old Studnicka, who scored 49 points in 60 games during the 2019-20 season before splitting time between the NHL and AHL this past season.

Jeremy Lauzon, Ryan Callahan
Former Boston Bruins’ defenseman Jeremy Lauzon defends against former Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward Ryan Callahan (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

One can’t assume either Hughes or Studnicka would make the opening night roster, but those are pieces that the Kraken can grow and build around. Both players play center and wing, which generally fits the mold for forwards drafted by Francis. 

If Francis had his heart set on selecting a defenseman, Connor Clifton has established himself as a defensive defenseman and will likely be finding a home on the Bruins blue line. He also is on a good, inexpensive contract. Of all the players the Bruins could’ve lost, Lauzon probably stings the least

Given the context of how Francis drafted, this selection makes sense. However, when looking at the team’s needs and other options available, it looks to be more of a miss. Could Lauzon make the team out of camp? Well, he made the Bruins over veterans and prospects last season, so there may be a better chance than anticipated.

If in the long run, his offense doesn’t prevail and he can successfully reinvent his game to becoming a bottom-pair, penalty killing defenseman, then selecting him could turn into a hit. However, that would likely require more time in the AHL to have the opportunity to really develop that change.

Nonetheless, the Kraken would enjoy reaping the benefits of Lauzon proving this article wrong. 

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