Every year, we at In Lou We Trust don't just look at the top prospects. We look at those who are on the fringes too. Those who would get drafted late. Those who aren't at all a guarantee. Those who don't have much written on them. A great example of this kind of prospect is the subject of this profile: TPS winger Teemu Lamsa. Or Teemu Lämsä if you prefer the proper spelling with umlauts.
Who is Teemu Lamsa? (And An Opinion of Sorts)
Lamsa is from Turku, Finland. Therefore, it's no surprise he grew up with the local teams. After spending much of his youth with TuTo, he joined the system of the biggest team in Turku in 2012-13: TPS. The winger was mostly on the U-18 team but did get some games with the U-20 team. Last season, he primarily was a part of the U-20 team with only a few games at the U-18 team and one game with the senior TPS team (he played under eight minutes against HIFK). At the same time, Lamsa has represented the blue and white of Finland abroad. He had a big performance at the World Hockey Challenge, a U-17 tournament, and was a part of the 2014 U-18 team at the U-18 Worlds. Elite Prospects has Lamsa's stats from all competitions:
Lamsa certainly is big at 6'3" and 201 pounds. However, part of the reason why he's considered to be a bigger deal lies with these stats. Sure, it's foolhardy to judge a prospect by only his numbers. At the same time, it's worth considering with some kind of context. For example: his 21 points with the U-20 team ranks him eleventh on his own team. I've tried in vain to see if the Junior A SM-liiga has a stat page like the senior league to get more information like ice time, shots, and other information. Nine goals with a lot of shots endears me more than nine goals with not a lot. Regardless, being eleventh on his own team and not even in the top 100 of scorers in the league of his peers doesn't suggest to me someone who could be prime for the next level. One would expect someone who is to be one of the better scorers in the league, if not his own team. To put it another way, it tells me that he was good at his level but doesn't inspire hope for the future.
As another example, consider his numbers with the Finnish national team. Lamsa put up nothing in the World U-18s except for five shots on net, picked up only one assist at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, and a few more in other U-18 games. In 2012-13, he didn't exactly light it up with the U-17s outside of the World Hockey Challenge. Getting selected and playing at the international level is an honor. Perhaps he wasn't on a top line, but again, if he was a notable player, then there would be some evidence in the production. That he doesn't have that belies that he's not going to command a lot of attention.
Basically, this is a lot to say there's not a lot to get excited about even from the perspective late-round prospect. It's encouraging that he made his SM-liiga debut. He certainly has very good size. That he's played internationally and moved up successfully to new teams from season to season suggests he's got some game. I just question whether he does anything that's really notable. That there isn't much out there about Lamsa is suggestive of that. As always, I stand (and welcome) to be corrected. For what it's worth, Central Scouting Services ranked him 39th among European skaters and that's a drop from 38th from the midterm. Essentially, if a scout saw plenty of the Finnish Junior A league or caught something of note during his performance and liked what he saw, then it's possible that he may be drafted. However, it's not at all a guarantee.
I will leave this on a bit of a higher note. There is some video of Lamsa out there. Here's a promotional video from the Finnish team announcing his selection:
More valuable is that there are a couple highlight videos of the TPS U-20 team out on Youtube that includes Lamsa scoring a goal. The view isn't very good, but it's better than nothing. Here's one of the better ones, where Lamsa puts home a one-timer against Jokipojat's U-20 team from September of last season at about the 1:19 mark:
With so little out there on Lamsa, I'm really hoping that there's someone who has seen him perform and can speak to what he really does and does not do well. Is he a two-way forward after all? Is he someone who's still got a lot of developing to do? Is he someone who's ceiling is in the SM-liiga and nothing more? Will he catch any team's eye in this year's draft? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Teemu Lamsa (or Teemu Lämsä in the comments. Thank you for reading.