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This enigma prospect will attempt to cipher right into a full-time NHL participant for the Edmonton Oilers in 2023-24

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2023-24 Edmonton Oilers Prospects

#2 Raphael Lavoie

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(#11 in 2022)

Raphael Lavoie was born in Chambly, Quebec September 25th, 2000. The younger proper winger stands 6’4 and has crammed out considerably during the last couple seasons, now weighing in at 216 kilos.

Lavoie was scoring star within the Quebec Main league, with back-to-back-to-back 30+ aim seasons in Halifax (in addition to a short stint in Chicoutimi on the finish of 2019-20). The objectives elevated in every season, from 30 to 32 to 38 in his last yr in The Q. All that bolded and punctuated by a spectacular run to the Memorial Cup in 2019 as the large winger went 23-20-32 in 23 post-season matchups for the Mooseheads. Sadly, his last yr in junior was prematurely ended by COVID.

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Lavoie was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers within the 2nd Spherical (38th total) within the 2019 NHL Entry Draft after his afore-mentioned breakout junior season. And like in The Q, Lavoie has progressed in every of his three years with the Condors. After beginning 2020-21 in Sweden, Lavoie returned to North America for a 5-5-10 run in 19 video games in Bakersfield. Lavoie managed to maintain his tempo of manufacturing in 2021-22, going 13-13-26 in 56 video games, plus 1-3-4 in 6 post-season video games.

However lest this come off as clean crusing for the large prospect, Lavoie’s time in professional has been a collection of studying experiences. That 2021-22 marketing campaign began with 0 objectives in his first 18 video games. And it resulted in an damage that stored him out of Oilers camp the next autumn and delayed the beginning of his AHL season, too. Each of these issues got here with severe penalties by way of his growth. A few of that studying additionally got here within the type of some robust love, mid-season final yr. Beginning late as a result of damage, he had a depressing first two months. However to his credit score, appeared to finally get the message. Lavoie ended up with 25 objectives and 20 helpers for 45 factors in 61 video games. And he was sizzling down the stretch. 21 of these got here within the final 43 video games.

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The factors solely inform a part of the story. Raphael Lavoie additionally began to develop into extra reliable with out the puck. And whereas nobody expects him to be the subsequent Bob Gainey, Lavoie found that with higher defensive intuition and a more durable forecheck additionally comes extra offensive alternative.

When Raphael Lavoie is “proper” he’s utilizing his dimension to drive the online. And he possesses a harmful first-shot mentality.

Here’s what another hockey watchers need to say about him…

-Elite Prospects: “A big and expert participant. His launch stands out which may be very correct and permits him to be a succesful scorer. Reads the sport pretty effectively and is nice at distributing the puck”.

-From Dobber Prospects: “Huge aim scoring winger that has the power to take over video games when he needs to. Consistency is a priority at this level, however the instruments are there for him to be a high six winger”.

-Sports activities Forecaster: “Owns great dimension, energy and skating potential and a strong shot. Lacks consistency in a serious means and wishes to enhance his play within the defensive zone vastly”.

-Chris Peters (ESPN): Has proven his potential to cumbersome his solution to offence and play a robust, aggressive offensive recreation”.

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-Final Phrase on Sports activities: “An intriguing mixture of dimension, velocity, energy and talent”.

Truthful or not, Lavoie has developed a little bit of a status as an enigma as a prospect. He would appear to have all of the instruments on the planet. However as described, his path has been removed from clean. And now, his present contract standing has additionally contributed to a few of these questions.

Various eyes blinked this summer time when Lavoie signed a 1-year, two-way contract extension value $874,125. That was the membership’s qualifying provide. Various individuals (me included) thought it could have been in his and the group’s finest pursuits to acknowledge the membership’s cap struggles. Signal a league-minimum contract as a substitute, with slightly extra dough if he results in the AHL. It might have, in any case, made it simpler for Ken Holland to suit him into the lineup.

Do I fault the child for betting on himself? In fact not. {And professional} hockey careers will be cruelly quick. It’s tough guilty gamers for taking a paycheck the place they will discover it. However however, Lavoie is simply 22. Did his agent not see the cap complication that everybody noticed? Or did they as a substitute see a lineup that was going to be tough to crack and felt waivers (he’s NOT exempt) often is the ticket to a greater shot in one other group?

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The chilly, exhausting details are that the Oilers are in a scenario the place they may probably solely carry a 21-man roster to start out the season. If Lavoie comes into camp this fall and shoots the lights out like Dylan Holloway did final yr, then I can see him making the group. But when he’s “simply o.okay.”, will not be on the PP or PK, and never faceoff man both, then does an skilled, better-rounded veteran beat him out? Very doable, sure.

Lastly, a notice if equity that I’ve utilized to different Oilers prospects as effectively. A major chunk of Lavoie’s growth has been throughout COVID. That was not of his making, and I give him full marks for soldiering by means of it.

PROJECTION for 2023-24:

-Except one thing offers on the cap facet of issues, I see it as an extended shot for Lavoie to crack the NHL roster out of camp. That can imply waivers, though I’m not in any respect certain he would get claimed. And if not, he would proceed to work on his recreation in AHL Bakersfield as an early candidate to be re-called.

The Cult of Hockey prospect rankings are complied based mostly on a poll by David Staples, Bruce McCurdy, Hockey Corridor of Fame Edmonton Journal author Jim Matheson, Ira Cooper and yours actually.

Now on Threads @kleavins. Additionally, discover me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and Mastodon at [email protected]

Not too long ago, at The Cult…

LEAVINS: If the Oilers finest gamers are higher than the opposite man’s finest gamers

McCURDY: Talent on the wings fills the Oilers prospect ranks

STAPLES: Can Stuart Skinner keep away from the sophomore stoop

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