NHL Prospect Profile: Raphaël Lavoie
– Raphaël Lavoie –
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) | Center/Right Wing | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible
Montréal, Québec, Canada | September 25, 2000 | 6-foot-4, 192-pounds
Raphaël Lavoie is a gifted power forward in the making with an elite level goal-scoring ability. Not only does he have sniper’s instincts, but he is also tough to stop in front of the net with the ability to deflect pucks and hunt for rebounds. As a late 2000-born prospect, Lavoie racked up 30 goals and 63 points for the Mooseheads in ’17-18, leading all 2019 NHL Draft eligible players in those categories in the QMJHL.
Lavoie is also an impressive skater for a player of his size, featuring strong edgework and a quick first three steps, he has the ability to blow by defenders on the rush. He left a lasting impression at the 2018 IIHF U18 Championships, chipping in five goals in five games for Team Canada.
- Net-Front Skill
- Size and Strength
Lavoie possesses all the major skills to be a menacing power forward at the NHL level. His shot is powerful and accurate, with a lightning quick release that he can get off in tight spaces. He can also score the dirty goals as well, often positioning himself in front of the net for screens, deflections, and rebounds.
With his size and strength, Lavoie is extremely tough for defenders to move from the net-front, and even tougher to face when he is flying down on the rush. He uses his frame well to protect the puck and brush off checks, often bullying his way into dangerous scoring areas.
- Defensive Awareness
Lavoie is an offence-first player, no doubt about it. As such, his defensive awareness is often criticized for being below average. As a winger, he can often get away with protecting his point, but when lining up as a center, he often neglects his defensive duties to protect the front of his net.
Lavoie’s scoring abilities are hard to pass up, but if he is able to include reliable defensive positioning and backchecks, he would make himself an impossible to miss prospect. Until then, it’s likely that NHL scouts will see Lavoie as a future winger in the league instead.
Raphaël Lavoie looks to be a future top-six winger at the NHL level. While his offensive abilities are tantalizing, he has yet to show a maturity to play the defensive role that comes with playing center. Comparables include Blake Wheeler and Logan Couture. Heading into his NHL Draft eligible season, Lavoie projects to be a Top-15 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.