When the Bruins drafted Matt Lashoff in the first round of 2005, they believed they were landing an offensive-minded NHL defenseman. Seven years later, Lashoff is no longer in the league.
Lashoff is playing for Switzerland’s Zurich Lions. Lashoff is teammates with former Boston College captain Ryan Shannon, who is also kicking off his first season in Zurich.
Unlike their former NHL colleagues, Lashoff and Shannon are already in action. They both appeared in a preseason game on Tuesday.
“It’s different. It’s tough to compare,” Shannon said of the Swiss game. “Players, for the most part, are in incredible shape. They take care of themselves. They’re very fast, very skilled. They play the game at a really fast level. The ice is bigger. It seems like the game slows down a little bit. There’s more playmaking involved.”
Lashoff projected to have the necessary skills to become an NHL regular. Lashoff was comfortable skating the puck out of danger. Lashoff had good vision and soft hands. But like many young defensemen, Lashoff struggled when he made mistakes. He didn’t have the confidence to dig himself out of trouble. As a result, the game slipped away from him even more.
By 2009, Lashoff didn’t figure in the Bruins’ plans. On March 4, 2009, the Bruins traded Lashoff and Martins Karsums to Tampa Bay for Mark Recchi and a 2010 second-round pick. Recchi was a critical piece in the Bruins’ Cup run in 2010-11. Lashoff couldn’t gain traction in Tampa nor in Toronto, his next stop.
There will be more on hockey in Switzerland in Sunday’s Globe.