At the IIHF World Championship every year, you will find countless scouts and front office executives from the NHL in attendance to try and get a glimpse of the best international free agents. While hyped draft-eligible players like Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are thrilling the fans with their potential, general managers are trying to find the 24-year old who has been overlooked for too long and deserves a chance at the highest level. One of those this year may be Slovakian forward Robert Lantosi, who Darren Dreger of TSN reports is drawing NHL interest.
Lantosi, 23, certainly wouldn’t have been a total unknown to scouts in the crowd. As an alternate captain of HK Nitra this season in Slovakia he registered 58 points in 56 games, good enough for fifth in the entire league. Lantosi recorded an assist today against the Canadian team, while playing on a line with Winnipeg Jets minor league forward Marko Dano. Dreger does not reveal which teams are interested in Lantosi, but it makes sense that someone would take a chance on the 5’11” winger. Signing him to an entry-level contract represents very little risk, and if he shows the capability to produce offensively in the NHL he could be a cheap upgrade.
- Speaking of the World Championship, a couple of teams have some late additions to the roster. Zach Werenski will join Team USA at the tournament after initially refusing the invitation, while Gabriel Landeskog will join Team Sweden according to Colorado Avalanche teammate Nikita Zadorov. Werenski’s decision to play is particularly interesting, given that he is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer. That contract status was part of the reason he gave for not committing to the tournament in the first place, something many players do because of the chance of injury. Werenski’s change of heart could potentially mean a deal is already worked out, though obviously nothing has been officially announced at this point.
- Lane Lambert has been a fixture next to Barry Trotz for nearly a decade, serving as his assistant and then associate coach in Nashville, Washington and New York. Now perhaps it is time for Lambert to branch out and take on an NHL head coaching position of his own, and John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that the Anaheim Ducks will interview him for their vacancy. The prevailing thought was that the Ducks were just waiting for Dallas Eakins to finish his Calder Cup playoff run with the San Diego Gulls before promoting him, but that speculation may be a bit premature.