Author of the article:

Bruce McCurdy Edmonton Journal

Publishing date:

Nov 05, 2020 5 minute read

Raphael Lavoie of the Edmonton Oilers crashes the crease of goaltender Artyom Zagidulin during the Young Guns Battle of Alberta game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, at the Centrium in Red Deer.
Raphael Lavoie of the Edmonton Oilers crashes the crease of goaltender Artyom Zagidulin throughout the Young Guns Fight of Alberta game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer. Photo by Ashli Barrett/ Postmedia

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With the prolonged pause in North American Edmonton Oilers have strongly pursued alternate prepare for their leading prospects to establish their skills overseas.

One early recipient of this policy is forward possibility Raphael Lavoie, who is getting his first taste of the professional video game after his extremely effective junior profession concerned an early conclusion last March. The Oilers’ second round draft choice in 2019 at #38 overall, the 6′ 4, 205 pound Lavoie was a man amongst kids in his fourth and final season in the QMJHL, where he scored 38-44-82 in 55 video games split in between Halifax and Chicoutimi while pounding 310 shots on goal. In developing himself as a volume shooter, Lavoie soared up the Cult of Hockey possibility rankings from #14 in his Draft year to a provisional # 4 in2020 At that time we wrote:

  • Expectations for 2020-21: Work his method into the professional ranks by very first earning an area with the Condors, then taking a function for himself. While Lavoie projects as a leading six key in the long term, he may well require his rookie year to make the modification, so don’t be too alarmed if the preliminary point totals are underwhelming. An output of 0.5 points per video game would be a great target.

With the Condors’ season having been grounded, Lavoie has actually instead made his professional debut on the unfamiliar broad ice of Sweden. After a short trial with Rogle BK of the SHL, he wound up finalizing with Vasby IK HK of the Swedish second department, Hockey Allsvenskan. That’s the same loop where fellow Oilers’ prospects Evan Bouchard and William Lagesson have actually been plying their trade.

To this point Vasby has actually been the worst team in the loop, presently sitting 14 th and last with a 2-8-1 record and a dreadful -24 objective differential based upon 20 objectives for, 44 versus. Ugh.

The bright side is that Lavoie, their youngest gamer who turned 20 just as the season got underway, is leading the team in goals and points with 6-2-8 through 11 GP. No longer a male amongst kids, Lavoie has looked very much in his component as a guy among guys.

Granted Hockey Allsvenskan is a cut below the AHL in quality, but it is still a tougher league than QMJHL. NHL point equivalencies recommend it’s about 20%tougher to score in the Swedish pro league.

Not that it’s been that hard for Lavoie to score, judging by his 6 objectives in his last 8 video games. It took him up until Video game 4 to find the variety, but he did so in significant fashion, scoring the tying and winning goals in a 3rd period comeback that saw Vasby notch their first win of the season, 3-1. [video highlights]

He followed up with another brace a couple of days later on a set of snipes from the left circle:

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Lavoie’s newest goal began Nov 01, when he cashed this rebound from close quarters to tie the score in a late-game 6-on-5.

3 goals tidying up the trash along the edge of the blue paint, three lasers the high circles. One questions how many of those might beat an NHL goalie, but there can be no doubt of their prospect’s “shoot first, ask questions later” bent. Through 11 video games his 40 shots on net lead Vasby by a wide margin and rank amongst the league leaders, as do his 6 objectives. He has been involved in numerous scoring chances in each and every single game to date.

He’s definitely getting the chance to play. His 17: 04 ATOi ranks 2nd among Vasby forwards and 32 nd league large. First-line minutes.

I had a chance to review Lavoie’s shifts in several recent games, and came away with the following observations:

  • he stands out for his size alone, amongst the greatest players on his group. When he submits he’s going to be a large guy.
  • the best shooter has actually been lining up on the left side for the a lot of part where he opens on the forehand for a fast release. He has potted 5 of his six tallies from that side of the ice.
  • he has a bit of a lumbering stride, but like numerous huge males, covers more ice than his stride rate may suggest. Something that impressed this observer is that his feet are usually in movement, not a lot of loafing and not a great deal of gliding, either. He’s not, however, not extremely agile, affecting his capability to include more active skaters in open ice.
  • while his first option is to shoot the puck when in variety, he can make a good pass in shift and normally delivers the puck on target. He also made a couple of nifty passes inside the slot to colleagues in much better position to shoot.
  • he’s not overly physical however will finish his check when appropriate. At his size even a light hit has a fair chance of putting his opponent on the seat of his trousers.
  • he made some strong rushes through the neutral zone and is not shy about assaulting the defence. A number of times he blew right through for a breakaway just to be foiled in each case by an excellent save.
  • he also had some good internet drives from inside the zone, working off the boards or out of the corner and taking the puck difficult to the web.
  • I especially liked one transition play where a challenger stepped up to intercept an inbound pass, just to have Lavoie prepare for the move, lift the defender’s stick with his own, play the puck in his skates and kick it as much as himself with the protector in his wake.
  • defensively he seems reasonably diligent, particularly inside the blueline be it securing the point or getting the puck up and out. He did get beat on a couple of plays where he was deep in the zone and had valuable little assistance from his own d-men. Did I discuss Vasby is a bad group?

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