Raphael Lavoie, Right Wing
6″4′, 200lbs, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Future Considerations #11
Corey Pronman of TheAthletic.com #18
Big, strong, fast and tough. Those are some of the things you will see when looking at Raphael Lavoie‘s scouting reports and they are not wrong. Lavoie looks like a monster on the ice and has a very quick stride, not only for his size either, he is fast when compared to NHL players and has a fairly accurate wrist shot with a quick release.
Transitioning from Victor Söderström’s tape to Raphael Lavoie’s tape was hard, Söderström was like sipping on a smooth whiskey with two perfect ice cubes. Watching Lavoie’s tape was the last pint of a pitcher where the beer was starting to get warm.
It’s clear that Lavoie has great speed, that was something amazing to see and the size really ticks all the boxes that would have an early 2000’s general nanager salivating. But there was a lot to dislike in his game too, I’ll save that for a few paragraphs down.
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Let’s talk about the positives in his game, he is tough and willing to stand up for himself or his teammates. He can fight, even as a 16-year-old in the QMJHL he was dropping the gloves to stand up for his team’s captain.
Lavoie has the ability to drive by defenders with his combination of speed and size, leaning on defencemen while he pumps his feet to get to the net for a quick move to his forehand followed by a flick of the wrist and the puck would be in the top right corner.
It’s his move.
He can play on the penalty kill as well, this is where he was found to be taking faceoffs, normally on the right size as his right-handedness would benefit him while he muscles the draw into the corner for his defenceman to clear the puck. He was very good at blocking shots and can easily out-muscle any player on the boards.
His passing is average to below average, many of his passes were too hard for the receiver to handle or was caught up in his skates as they were moving up the ice. When receiving passes, Lavoie does show an impressive ability to take passes from all areas with ease, whether that be kicking it up to himself or using his long reach to snag a bad pass.
Lavoie does show that he can get to the slot with ease at the QMJHL level, his toe drag move seems to be one of his other go to moves, moving in on the right-wing and creating space for himself in a one on one situation and firing a hard wrist shot that finds its way through many goaltenders. He plays the left wing side of the power play for the Mooseheads and benefited from Filip Zadina being on the other side of the man advantage unit last season.
A lot of his goals come from driving through defenders with their feet caught in quicksand while he splits a pair and goes from the back hand to the forehand to the top right corner, as I previously mentioned, he likes that move and is damn good at it.
It’s his move.
Lavoie does struggle with consistency, he has games where he is absent from sight and there were a few time where I had to fast forward a bit just to make sure he was in that game. He lacks some quick decision-making ability and coming off of the Söderström tapes, it was very clear to see the difference when I began diving into Lavoie.
He plays on one of the better teams in the QMJHL in the Halifax Mooseheads (34-11-3), he has become a leader on that team due to his tough style of hockey. He also loves to shoot the puck with 156 shots on goal in only 47 games this season.
When watching the tape I couldn’t help but think of Jake Virtanen, a fast skater with size who can dominate weaker defenders in a Major Junior league, there were even some bad things that popped up in both Lavoie and Virtanen’s game. There is just that one thing that is missing from their game, that quick trigger passing and the ability to think the play out before it even happens.
All and all I was curious about the big winger before going in-depth into him but now that I have done that I don’t think there is a place for Lavoie on this team, I could be wrong but I don’t know if he will be much more than a good third line scorer. With the right team he could find his way into a top six but as the Canucks have Kole Lind, Brock Boeser and Virtanen in their pipeline I wouldn’t wasted a first round pick on Lavoie.
He’s still got plenty of potential! The size and speed are both very impressive, it’s a pass for me though, one good move can work in Junior but can it really translate to NHL success?