Keith Tkachuk. Tony Amonte. Scott Lachance. Wouldn’t the Edmonton Oilers love to have the next Boston University stand-out turned NHL star in Daniel LaCouture? Realistically, however, the Oil should be thinking more along the lines of Shawn McEachern, Mike Sullivan and Scott Young, also former Terriers but not as high-profiled as those previously mentioned. Either way, 20 year old LaCouture will have ample opportunities to prove he was worth giving up Polish speedster Mariusz Czerkawski to the Islanders.
The Natick, Massachusetts native started his hockey career with the Detroit Junior Whalers, where he was first noticed by scouts. LaCouture joined Team East for the 1995 US Olympic Festival where he gave a stellar performance, impressing the hockey scene with his two goals and dominant presence. Dan saw his stock rise up to the paramount year, 1996, in which he was drafted 29th overall by the New York Islanders at the Entry Draft and then joined the powerhouse BU hockey team as a freshman. The Isles didn’t see the left wing fitting into their system, already laden with young talent, and dealt him to the Oilers for the unhappy Czerkawski. GM Glen Sather obviously saw some value in Dan when he immediately signed him to a multi-year contract.
LaCouture split last season between the Terriers and Team USA. He helped each to second place– BU lost to North Dakota University in the NCAA finals and USA lost to Canada in the World Junior Championship finals. Dan played a key role for each team, providing strength, skill and size. At 6-3, 210 lbs. Dan has Edmonton management drooling over the power forward he could turn into. He plays with grit and determination and is a well-conditioned athlete who should have little trouble playing 82 games a season.
While he won’t be able to make up for Czerkawski’s point production(26 g, 47 pts) right away, LaCouture has shown that he does have a knack for scoring. Dan possesses a natural goal-scoring ability and he picked up an impressive 13 goals, 25 points as a rookie for Boston University last year. His all-around offensive package is complete with his excellent shot, sound playmaking and decent hockey sense. His two-way game needs some work but that will come with experience.
The Edmonton Oilers and their fans alike are excited to have such potential in prospect Daniel LaCouture. He’s on track for a successful pro hockey career and should be able to make the Islanders regret giving up on him and the Oilers glad they gave him a chance.