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Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #1: Raphael Lavoie

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Bruce Curlock
9 months ago
It’s taken time, but Raphael Lavoie the #1 prospect in the Edmonton Oilers organization.
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: September 25, 2000
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019
Height: 6’4″ / 193 cm
Weight: 216 lbs / 98 kg
Ranking last year: #6
In many respects, the World Juniors in the season of 2019-20 should have been a forewarning of Lavoie’s development path. He started on the first line of a loaded Team Canada and slowly worked his way down to the fourth line only to suddenly find his game and be involved in the gold medal-winning goal. With Raphael Lavoie, as with many prospects, the path is not always straightforward. However, it appears that the path is now clear and Lavoie is likely headed straight for Edmonton.
Lavoie headed down this path two seasons ago when he had a tremendous 20-game stretch in the middle of the season that showed his capability. However, he tailed off and then was injured late in the season bringing the promising stretch to an end. The injury certainly impacted him at to start of this past season when he missed the first six games with the Condors. Even when he returned, he was clearly labouring.
However, when the calendar turned to 2023, Raphael Lavoie started to dominate like most of us thought he could. He had 37 points in his last 42 games of the season. I remain convinced that a dispute he had with his coach (being benched in Calgary), which resulted in Lavoie taking out his frustration on a Calgary Wrangler, was the turning point of his season.

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I will take that passion from any player, but especially one who is 6’4″ and 216 pounds. That type of sandpaper can be very helpful for a team.
Oh did I mention he scored a lot this year? How about 25 goals in 61 games? Want the video evidence? Here it is and this man has an NHL-level shot that assuredly beat goalies from distance.

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However, it is his motor and his willingness to be a 200-foot player that will get him NHL games this season. That is what really changed in the second half of the season.

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It is absolutely these plays that will gain the coach’s trust and get him more and more minutes. Remember this was a player who played the penalty kill for the World Junior team he was on. He has these tools in his toolbox. He can play very responsibly in all of the zones.

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Now what needs to be a focus for Lavoie on the next step is his skating. It is not bad. It’s even the plus side of average at the AHL level. However, at the NHL, it is average and his lateral mobility is not great. He will need some improvement there so that he is not constantly attacking defenders that same way (usually outside to inside power move).  The more he can work this into his game, the better chance he will have to play meaningful minutes in the NHL.
Raphael Lavoie has taken quite a journey. It is not completely unique for certain. However, for someone with his size and skill sets, even to be a second-round pick was a bit of a surprise. Does Lavoie have what it takes to play in the NHL? Yes, he does. Can he play the middle-six minutes? I actually believe he can. Why? If he keeps his feet moving and plays responsibly, it is this one gift that could make the difference on a team that needs bottom-six scoring. Just like this clip below

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Previously in the countdown

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