Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: C Pascal Laberge

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Let’s take a look at the second-overall selection of the 2014 QMJHL Draft, forward Pascal Laberge!

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Name: Pascal Laberge

Position: Center/Right Wing

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6’1”, 172 lbs

Team/League: Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 28th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 1.5/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Top-Six Center

Draft Range: Late First to Early Second Round

Scouting report

"Pascal Laberge is a tough and spirited two-way forward with a high level of hockey sense. Hunts for turnovers and causes havoc whenever he is on the ice. Uses his size well to shield the puck, exert physical force, and win board battles. Has a good set of goal-scorer’s hands, but tends to use them more to pass than anything. All-in-all, an efficient, yet exciting, two-way forward with potential to develop into a playmaking goal scorer. (Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects 2014)"


Pascal Laberge is a high-energy player whose work ethic and grit could turn him into a playmaking power forward or two-way forward at the professional level. A strong skater with great vision, Laberge is well-suited to play at center, though he has also seen playing time on the wing.

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Laberge is an extremely quick and agile skater which helps him in all situations. He can accelerate past opponents or trick them with quick stop-and-gos to power past them and drive to the net. On the forecheck, he gives the puck-carrier little time to make a decision, always playing a gritty high-pressure game.

Speaking of high pressure, if you have seen Laberge gear down, you have witnessed a very rare event. He has a non-stop motor and battles hard whenever he is on the ice. Despite weighing in at just over 170 pounds, he can win puck battles against bigger opponents thanks to his gritty in-your-face style.

Furthermore, Laberge has terrific offensive skills and great vision. He sees the ice well and can find open passing lanes to send an accurate pass to his teammate. In addition, Laberge possesses a powerful shot arsenal and has a very quick release. He can score using his hard wrist shot as well as strong slap shots and one timers.


Battling hard is extremely important at every level, but a 6-foot-1, 172-pound “power forward” won’t get far playing against men, especially not in the world’s best league. Laberge has good size but needs to add to his frame to stay competitive once he faces stronger opposition.

Laberge’s defensive game has improved but it is still a work in progress. Calling him a two-way forward seems like too much at this point as he needs to work on his overall defensive abilities. Laberge needs to improve his defensive awareness and positioning as well as his decision making, as he likes to over-commit on hits that throw him out of position. Those are all things that can be improved to an acceptable level, though.

Lastly, Laberge needs to use his shot more often and play a little more selfish. He is a great playmaker already but tends to opt for the pass even if he has an open shooting lane. Laberge improved from .19 goals per game to .41 goals per game this season, but he could have scored 30 this year, had he trusted his shot more often.

Final Thoughts

Pascal Laberge is a great all-around forward who plays with a lot of energy. Thanks to his work ethic and style, Laberge is a low-risk pick who will likely play in the NHL one day. The question is what role he will have. He has the potential to be a top-line scorer but could end up being a high-energy bottom-six player if his potential is not reached.

Next: Cameron Morrison: 2016 NHL Draft Profile

If Laberge does fall to the second round (most scouting services have him ranked around No. 25), he could be an outstanding pick for the Vancouver Canucks. His style has been compared to Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn and I certainly like that comparison. Note that this comparison is in style only.

If the Canucks want to go with the best player available for every pick and Laberge is still available at No. 33, they certainly can’t go wrong with him. But, there will obviously be other players available who could turn out as great picks as well.