Raphael Lavoie – 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Raphael Lavoie

2018-19 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (#50) Date of Birth: September 25, 2000
Place of Birth: Chambly, QC
Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 198 pounds
Position: LW / RS
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible

Rankings

This season I have seen the Halifax Mooseheads play 50 home games: 34 regular season games and 12 playoff games including three in the QMJHL final, and four games in the Memorial Cup in Halifax, the last being the tournament championship game on May 26. Raphael Lavoie missed only three regular-season games due to injury, so I have seen him play 47 games, likely more than any NHL scout that covers the QMJHL.

Lavoie was drafted in the second round, 29th overall, in the 2016 QMJHL Draft by the Halifax Mooseheads. He posted modest numbers for the Saint-Hyacinthe Gaulois of the Quebec Midget AAA League where he played for one and a half seasons. Midway through the 2016-17 season, he was called up to the Mooseheads where he recorded only six goals and three assists in 32 games.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Guide

The 2017-18 season was a breakout year for Lavoie as he recorded 30 goals and 33 assists in 68 games with the Mooseheads. His performance in his first full season in the QMJHL drew the attention of Hockey Canada. He was selected to join Team Canada as a member of the IIHF U18 World Championship team where he scored five goals in five games.

Raphael Lavoie
Halifax Mooseheads’ Raphael Lavoie (Courtesy of David Chan, Halifax Mooseheads)

Lavoie started the 2018-19 season knowing that the Mooseheads were selected to host the Memorial Cup in May 2019. He was entering his NHL draft year so this was a tremendous opportunity for both the franchise and Lavoie personally. He finished the first half of season at a point-a-game pace scoring 14 goals and 32 points in 30 games.

Following the Christmas break, Lavoie continued with his consistent production but became a scoring machine when he was moved from the right wing to the left side by Mooseheads coach Eric Veilleux and teamed up with team scoring leader Samuel Asselin. He ended the regular season with 32 goals and 73 points, good for third in team scoring and tied for 23rd in the league.

Raphael Lavoie
Halifax Mooseheads’ Raphael Lavoie (Courtesy of David Chan, Halifax Mooseheads)

The 2018-19 QMJHL playoffs were Lavoie’s coming out party. He led the Mooseheads to the President’s Cup Final where they were defeated by the top ranked team in the CHL, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, four games to two. Lavoie led all playoff scorers with 20 goals in 23 games, six goals more than Huskies star Joel Teasdale and teammate Felix Bibeau. He finished second overall in playoff points with 32, two points less than Teasdale. He also finished first in shots on goal and dangerous shots in the playoffs with 108 and 58, respectively.

Lavoie closed out his season with an impressive performance at the Memorial Cup. His team lost 4-2 to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Championship Final game and he finished the tournament with two goals and one assist in four games.

Lavoie’s skill set is what NHL general managers will be looking for at the June NHL Draft. At 6-foot-4 and 198 pounds, he has plenty of physical attributes to compete at the NHL level. His shot is very accurate, with a release and velocity that make him a threat at five-on-five and on the power play at any level. He has power forward credentials: an excellent protector of the puck in the corners, and a deadly scoring threat when he drives to the net off the left wing. He possesses a heavy and active stick, often emerging from scrums alone with the puck.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Raphael Lavoie – NHL Draft Projection

Lavoie is ranked between 15th and 27th by seven NHL Draft prospect ranking services. Some experts had him ranked considerable higher at the start of the 2018-19 season, but his spot on the leaderboard dropped thanks to a mid-season reduction in production. Lavoie missed the 2018 NHL Draft birthday deadline of Sept. 15 by only 10 days. Born on Sept. 25, 2000, Lavoie will be just short of his 19th birthday when he is drafted in Vancouver.

According to Dennis MacInnis, Director of Scouting for ISS Hockey, “Raphael has a great package of size, skating and skill. He has worked hard to improve his consistency and as a result, his confidence has grown and he’s now starting to take his game to the next level. Raphael has a pro-level release on his shot and projects as a top-six forward with offensive upside.”

Blain Potvin, a staff writer for ‘All Habs Hockey Magazine’ believes Lavoie is a solid first-round pick but needs work on his defensive game. He concludes: “This aspect of his game is what would cause him to slide outside the top-ten as NHL teams place a much higher value on a player’s ability to play a full 200-foot game. It is possible that it may also be the reason why he was a late cut from Team Canada’s 2019 World Junior Championships team. Despite this, his play for Canada at the under-18 Championships as well as the CHL Top Prospects game has solidified his position as a first-round talent.”

There are rumours that the Montreal Canadians, who pick 15th in the June NHL Draft, could be very interested in Lavoie, especially as a power-play scoring threat. His size would be a welcomed addition to a group of forwards that are considered small by NHL standards, with eight players under 6 feet and less than 200 pounds. Adding a francophone prospect, born 30 kilometres east of Montreal, who has a deadly shot on the power play from the left side of the face off dot could be difficult to resist. He would likely become a valuable asset on a team that finished 30th in the league in power-play percentage this season at a paltry 13.2 percent.

Quotables

“A big-size winger who has played all three positions with the Mooseheads this season. I believe he has shown to be a better left winger, as a right-hand shot, which allows him to drive to the net more effectively. He is one of the best players in the league in tight areas with a heavy stick and a long reach. I would like to see more grit in his game, but he is not afraid to get involved in all areas of the ice. I would like to see his skating improve a notch, but he certainly has the size and toolbox to be a good professional prospect. I think he has earned the right to be a top-10 draft pick this year. He was a difference maker in game six against the Quebec Remparts in a must-win game for the Mooseheads. He could become a Ryan Getzlaf type player if he had more grit in his game. If that were the case, he would be a top-five pick in this year’s draft.” – Senior NHL QMJHL/OHL Scout

“At six-foot-four-inches, 198 pounds, Lavoie has the size that scouts love. He also boasts a complete array of skills that are all NHL calibre. While Lavoie is not a consistently physical player, he is not one to shy away from rough play. His large frame can absorb the punishment a top player receives when targeted by opposition defences. His challenge is finding the focus to use all of his tools consistently. Lavoie excels at gaining puck possession and keeping it using his size, reach and superb stick-handling abilities. He is especially noticeable using this skill in the offensive zone as he circles the perimeter looking for a pass to an open teammate for a scoring opportunity or when he cuts to the net to generate a scoring chance for himself. Lavoie possesses a heavy wrist shot with a quick release that he can let loose from either foot while at top speed. This skill has been highly effective at camouflaging his shot timing, keeping opposing goaltenders confused and forcing them to react as opposed to reading the play, making him a more effective shooter.” – Blaine Potvin – All Habs Hockey Magazine

“A puck-possessing machine with speed, size, and great awareness in the offensive zone. He owns an excellent shot, both for its quick release and also for its velocity, and Lavoie’s penchant for creating his own chances expands the ice for his linemates. He is a controlled and patient stick-handler who looks to incorporate the rest of his teammates into every cycle, and his keen vision and pass accuracy in tight spaces or off the rush allows him to play the role of playmaker. Lavoie is an excellent skater with above-average straight line speed and enough agility to weave around or fake opponents out of position. He is extremely strong on his skates and can maintain puck possession under physical pressure, using his long reach and wide stance to shield the puck. He can play center or wing, although he looks more comfortable on the wing.” – Steve Kournianos – thedraftanalyst.com

Strengths

  • Size and Puck Protection
  • Heavy Shot with a Quick Release
  • Willingness to Drive to Net with the Puck

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

According to Potvin, “The top criticism for Lavoie is his defensive game. His positioning in the defensive zone when he plays wing is good, but his effort levels leave something to be desired. Lavoie is still too inconsistent in aggressively pursuing the puck carrier in his coverage and is inconsistent in his willingness to block shots or engage physically.”

  • Defensive Zone Coverage Needs to Improve
  • Commitment to Play a More Physical Game in All Areas
  • A Better Commitment to Shot Blocking

NHL Potential

Risk – Reward Analysis

Risk – 2/5 | Reward – 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 8/10 | Defence – 7/10

Awards/Achievements

  • In October 2018 Lavoie was voted 92nd on the Hockey News’ list of the “Top 100 Hockey’s Best Players 21 and Under.”
  • In 2018 he played with Team Canada in the IIHF Under 18 World Championship Tournament recording five goals in five games. He also participated in the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
  • During the 2018-19 QMJHL playoffs, Lavoie was voted the CHL Player of the Week – Playoffs: Apr. 1 – Apr. 7, after recording nine points in four games including six goals and three assists and a plus-8 rating.
  • In April 2019 he was awarded the Michael-Bossy Trophy as the Top Professional Prospect in the QMJHL.

Interview/Profile Links

  • Raphaël Lavoie 2018 IIHF U18 Highlights: https://youtu.be/HC4FuiP1Oa8
  • Raphaël Lavoie is the next great prospect from the Mooseheads: https://youtu.be/jeLT1ciK5tQ

Videos

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