The 20-year-old will be going back to the Czech Republic to play for HC Energie Karlovy Vary, with the Bruins’ permission.
Per the loose Google Translate translation, negotiations between Lauko and Karlovy Vary have been ongoing since July.
The Bruins reportedly put tight conditions on the loan, with the assumption here being that Lauko will report to Providence when (if) the AHL season resumes.
However, it’s a big “if.” The status of the AHL season remains murky, especially given the lack of progress the United States has made fighting COVID-19.
A bubble set-up won’t work for an entire season, though Dan Shulman outlined an interesting proposal for us a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Karlovy Vary has games on the schedule as soon as tomorrow, with others scheduled for August 20, August 27, and into the first few weeks of September. They’re currently playing in the Generali Ceska Cup, a tournament that features teams from Czechia’s top two professional leagues.
For the Bruins and Lauko, it seems like a no-brainer: let the kid go overseas and get some guaranteed ice time against decent competition, rather than sitting idly by, waiting for the AHL season to resume.
As I said above, it’s not a guarantee, but my guess would be one of the conditions of the loan is that the Bruins can terminate it at any time, whether that’s at the start of the 2020-2021 AHL season or next season’s NHL training camp.
If Lauko doesn’t make the Bruins next season, it’ll be interesting to see what the team does with him: do they have him report to the AHL (if it happens), or do they let him play out the balance of the season in Europe?
Karlovy Vary is located in western Czechia, about 2 hours from Lauko’s hometown of Prague. Longtime NHL regular Tomas Vokoun is from Karlovy Vary.
Lauko had 5 goals and 4 assists in 22 games for Providence last season. He checked in at #7 on our list of Top 10 Prospects earlier this summer.
(Thanks to eagle-eyed commenter savebyryder for pointing out the EliteProspects Tweet!)