Janne Laukkanen was born on March 19, 1970 in Lahti, Finland. He played hockey through his childhood, eventually sighing with the local junior league team in 1989. Scouts noticed his energetic play, and the Quebec Nordiques used their 8th pick in the 1991 Entry Draft to claim the rights to the young defenceman. After several years playing in European leagues, Laukkanen made his North American debut with the Cornwall Aces in 1995.

Laukkanen was called up to the Nordiques during the 1995 season, playing 11 games with the club and scoring his first NHL Goal. He followed the Nordiques on their move to Denver in 1996, playing a few games with the Colorado Avalanche. On January 26, 1996, Colorado traded Laukkanen to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the rights to Brad Larsen.

While in Ottawa, Laukkanen began to shine. He played 76 games for the Senators in his first full season, performing regular defensive and power play duties. He also tallied a career high 18 assists during the '96 season, returning in '97 to amass another 17. During a playoff run in the 2000 season, Ottawa traded Laukkanen along with goalie Ron Tugnutt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goalie Tom Barrasso on that year's trade deadline, March 14, 2000. Laukkanen continued his solid play with his new team, eventually becoming something of a favorite among Pittsburgh fans*.

When Laukkanen returned to the Penguins for the 2002 season, his left hip began to bother him. It was determined to be osteoarthritis in his hip, which became more intense as the season went by. By November, the Penguins management placed him on the disabled list. After some attempts at rehab, there was little improvement in his condition, and it became possible that the arthritis would keep him from playing professional hockey. He then became a salary cap liability, and thus became attractive trade bait. He was eventually traded to the New York Rangers along with Mike Wilson, Dan Lacouture, and Alexei Kovalev in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson, Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner and just under $4 million on February 10, 2003.

The Rangers helped Laukkanen receive an arthroscopic procedure on the hip to repair some damage, and glucosamine to help it heal. The Rangers then placed Laukkanen on the waiver list after further examination of his hip and an attempt to return to the ice, this time with the AHL Hartford Wolfpack. The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed him on March 11, 2003, and he played two games with the team during regular season, and another pair during the 2003 playoffs. The team was impressed with his play, but still concerned that the arthritic hip would cause further difficulty. The team signed him to a one-year contract during the 2003 off-season worth $600,000. However the hip again troubled Laukkanen, and Tampa changed their mind part way through the season, bought out the remainder of the deal, and released him. Tampa would go on to win the Stanley Cup at the conclusion of that season.

* - While doing research for this w/u, I came across a few amateur fan sites dedicated to Laukkanen during his Pittsburgh days. Apparently, Janne made the vicious sport of hockey a little easier on the eyes for some fans.

NHL Statistics

           GP  G  A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG GTG 
94-95 Que  11  0  3   3  +3   4  12  0.0   0   2   0   0   0   0
95-96 Col   3  1  0   1 -10   4   2  5.0   1   0   0   0   0   0
      Ott  20  0  2   2   0  14  31  0.0   0   0   0   0   0   0
96-97 Ott  76  3 18  21 -14  76 109  2.8   2   7   0   1   0   0
97-98 Ott  60  4 17  21 -15  64  69  5.8   2   6   0   1   2   0
98-99 Ott  50  1 11  12  18  40  46  2.2   0   1   0   0   0   0
99-00 Ott  60  1 11  12  14  55  62  1.6   0   0   0   1   0   0
      Pit  11  1  7   8   3  12  19  5.3   1   3   0   0   0   0
00-01 Pit  50  3 17  20   9  34  58  5.2   0   3   0   1   0   0
01-02 Pit  47  6  7  13 -18  28  66  9.1   3   4   0   1   1   0
02-03 Pit  17  1  6   7  -3   8  10 10.0   0   2   0   0   0   0
      Tam   2  1  0   1   1   0   2 50.0   0   0   0   0   0   0

Total     407 22 99 121  -3 335 488  4.5   9  28   0   5   3  0

Olympic Statistics

       Team     GP  G  A PTS PIM
1992   Finland   8  0  1   1   6
1994*  Finland   8  0  2   2  12
1998*  Finland   6  0  0   0   4
* - Finland won a Bronze Medal at these Olympic Games.


Resources:
http://www.espn.com/
http://www.joyofhockey.com/
http://www.sptimes.com/

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