Another pair of players will soon be returning from injury to join the Bakersfield Condors.
The Edmonton Oilers announced on Tuesday that defenceman Vincent Desharnais and winger Raphael Lavoie have been activated from the season-opening injured reserve and have been assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Philip Broberg and Carter Savoie, who both suffered injuries during training camp, made their 2022-23 season debuts with the Condors last weekend against the Ontario Reign. The plan is that Desharnais and Lavoie will suit up for the first time this season on the weekend when the Condors play a home-and-home with the Henderson Silver Knights.
Desharnais suffered a wrist injury prior to training camp and ultimately had surgery to repair the damage. Lavoie is finally returning from a knee injury that ended his 2021-22 season prematurely.
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The Oilers selected Desharnais in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft out of Providence College and signed an AHL/ECHL minor-league contract with the Oilers when he graduated in 2019. The 6’7″ defender spent some time with the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL before developing into a key part of Bakersfield’s blueline.
In 2021-22, Desharnais scored 27 points and had a plus-36 rating in 66 games with the Condors. That performance earned Desharnais a two-year entry-level contract with the Oilers back in March. The 26-year-old will find himself in the conversation for the mid-season call-up to the big league club if he can continue to build on last year’s showing.
Lavoie was Edmonton’s second-round pick at No. 38 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, the first of the Ken Holland era. Lavoie scored 82 points over 55 QMJHL games in 2019-20 before the league was shut down due to the pandemic and he scored 45 points in 51 games in Sweden’s second league that fall while hockey in North America was paused.
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Since joining the Condors, Lavoie has shown flashes of the success he had in major junior but hasn’t had much consistency. He scored five goals and 10 points in 19 games as a rookie in 2021 and 13 goals and 26 points in 56 games the following season. Of the 26 points Lavoie scored in 2021-22, 23 of them came in a 28-game stretch in the middle of the season before he ultimately went down with the aforementioned knee injury.
Lavoie is in the final season of his three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers and will be competing for playing time on the Condors with rookie forwards Xavier Bourgault, Ty Tullio, and Carter Savoie.