It can be easy to forget that Jakub Lauko is all of 19 years old.
After all, the Prague native already has a penchant for making opposing skaters 10 or more years his senior look rather pedestrian out on the ice, especially when he eclipses them in a foot race to a skittering puck.
For a winger that’s logged less than 70 full games over in North America, Lauko is already far past the usual development curve for players his age, especially when operating in the O-zone — where a nifty dangle, lethal snap shot or crafty self-pass stand as just a few of the many tricks he can deploy when skating with the puck on his stick.
On the ice, Lauko stands as one of Boston’s most promising prospects — a self-proclaimed “steal” in the 2018 Draft with both the talent and moxie to make some noise in the pro ranks sooner rather than later.
"The skillset? Top-end speed,” Bruce Cassidy said of Lauko’s profile. “We’ve seen it skating, already at the NHL level. I think the release, his shot, we’ve seen that as well."
Off the ice? Well, the discrepancy between age and talent becomes a bit more evident.
Whereas his interests on the sheet involve lighting the lamp or serving as a fly in the ointment of the opposition, Lauko is more than happy to chat about Game of Thrones in the Bruins' locker room — or just about any media involving the work of J.R.R. Tolkein.
His favorite Game of Thrones character? "Oberyn Martell. That was the best character on all the show. It was my favorite character. He didn’t end up too well. But I love him."
His go-to Lord of the Rings movie/novel? The Fellowship of the Ring.
Lauko even has a quote from the work etched into his left arm, delivered by Gandalf the Grey: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
That passage might have been jotted down close to seven decades ago, but it still rings true for Lauko — a driven, but candid, teenager looking to headline the next wave of Bruins talent breaking into the pro ranks.
"He reminds me a little bit of Marchy (Brad Marchand) when he was younger," Cassidy said. "Just on the puck all the time, second effort, irritating. Good speed, good shot. He’s just got to learn to harness all of that and stay in the moment."
Staying in the moment has been the mantra for Lauko over the years, but the 18-year-old forward couldn't help but squirm around in his seat at the American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018.