Lassi inks in Ottawa

Good news for the Kelowna Rockets in their hope of retaining defenceman Lassi Thomson next season.

The Finnish product signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators Monday.

The deal comes less than a month after the Senators used the 19th overall pick to grab the Rockets defenceman in the NHL draft.

Reports out of Finland have indicated Thomson would forgo another year in the Western Hockey League to play with his hometown team in the Finnish Hockey League.

Thomson is under contract with Ilves.

Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton has been cautiously optimistic Thomson could return to the Rockets.

However, a lot of that, he said, hinged on whether he signs with the Senators.

"If Ottawa signs him, they're going to have a say in where he goes," added Hamilton.

In 63 games with the Rockets last season, Thomson scored 17 goals and 24 assists, tops among rookie defencemen.

His 17 goals were third best among all WHL redarguards.

"Lassi has great offensive instincts and an NHL-calibre shot," said Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion in a news release.

"He also brings a high compete level - he's always moving his feet and driving the pace of play. We came away from development camp in Ottawa very impressed and feel that he is going to be an important piece of our team's future."

Thomson will suit up with Finland at the 2019 World Junior Showcase later this month in Plymouth, Mich.

The event features teams from Finland, Canada, the US and Sweden as they tune-up their rosters for the World Junior Championships.

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