2013 Year in Review: Oliver Lauridsen

Image courtesy of Rant Sports

It’s hard to give an overall review of a player that wasn’t expected to play for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2013 season, but Oliver Lauridsen played respectively considering the situation he was put in this year. With the experience he gained this season, Lauridsen’s review for next year could be even more positive if the Flyers bring him back.

Due to the overwhelming number of injuries on Philadelphia’s blue line this season, Lauridsen saw time at the NHL level. Being the first defenseman picked in the seventh round or later by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Entry Draft to actually play for the Orange and Black since David Printz, Lauridsen’s play improved steadily throughout the campaign.

In 15 games this season with Philly, Lauridsen had two goals and one helper, as well as 34 PIMs and an even plus/minus rating. With two game-winning goals, three games with over 19 minutes of TOI, and 10 PIMs coming in a pair of fights against two well-known fighters, Lauridsen’s 2013 totals are more positive than negative.

After he took six PIMs in his first two NHL games, Lauridsen avoided the sin bin over the next four contests, while compiling an assist and a minus-2 rating. The blue liner also posted five shots on net in those four tilts, as the Flyers were 2-2-0 in the four-game span.

Lauridsen went on to produce 18 PIMs over the next five games, as he took part in scraps with Patrick Kaleta and David Clarkson. After he was handled by the much smaller, but more experienced Kaleta, Lauridsen held his own against Clarkson.

Thanks to hockeyfightsdotcom

Thanks to hockeyfightsdotcom

The blue liner from Denmark also saw over 13 minutes TOI in four of the five games and was one second shy of 20:00 TOI in the Flyers’ 4-2 victory against the New York Rangers on April 16th.

The final three games of the 2013 regular season saw what Lauridsen could bring to the table for the Orange and Black next season. In the Flyers’ 5-2 decision over the Boston Bruins on April 23rd, Lauridsen was plus-3 with 19:05 TOI, as he also potted his first goal in the NHL. Although the play was rather lucky, the tally was awarded to Lauridsen and was the game-winner.

Thanks to NHLVideo

Two days later, Lauridsen actually deserved his game-winning goal, as his blast from the point beat Kevin Poulin late in the third period to hand the Flyers a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. He also finished plus-1 and saw 20:14 TOI in a game where he was named the first star, as the Orange and Black ended the Islanders’ 11-game point streak.

Thanks to NHLVideo

In the Flyers’ season finale, Lauridsen saw 15:02 TOI and 10 PIMs for a misconduct. The huge defenseman took part in a scrum in front of the players’ benches. Philly went on to win the affair 2-1 over the Ottawa Senators due to the play of Steve Mason.

A huge issue with the Flyers this season was their inability to exit their own zone without problems. Lauridsen won’t solve that problem for Philly’s blue line, but he does have the build of a productive third-pairing d-man; he’s big, owns a mean streak, and can let go of a gigantic slap shot when needed. He became a more reliable defenseman as the year went on, as his issues with undisciplined play decreased and his time on the ice increased. Lauridsen can also be called upon to drop the gloves for his squad.

He won’t be on the first or second pairing for the Flyers if everybody is healthy, but, as this year showed, several defenseman can go down. Lauridsen wouldn’t be a bad option as a sixth or seventh defenseman for the 2013-2014 season. It will be a crowded blue line for Philly next year, but Lauridsen is an inexpensive option for Paul Holmgren, who might be looking to shed some room to stay under the salary cap.