Monday, August 31, 2020

Raphaël Lavoie Autographed Card

As the Edmonton Oilers' 2019 second-round pick (38th overall), 20-year-old Raphaël Lavoie no longer has anything to prove in Juniors after a 38-goal,  44-assist and 82-point season in 55 games in 2019-20 split between the Halifax Mooseheads (18-26-44 in 30 games) and Chicoutimi Saguenéens (20-18-38 in 25 games).

He is old enough for the AHL, but we don't know when that league will begin its season (there are no plans to do so before the end of the calendar year as long as the Covid-19 numbers remain ridiculously high in the U.S. and the passing of a second wave in Canada, so his agent had a good idea to have him sign in Sweden. He may even start a trend of high-end prospects signing overseas until the end of the European season, then finishing what is left of the North American one, which is bound to be at least two or three months later.

I do have doubts about a player who isn't a top-three NHL draft pick making the jump from the LHJMQ/CHL directly to the third-best league in the world - I'd say the pro hockey world goes: NHL, KHL, SHL, AHL, Finland, Czech League, Switzerland - but perhaps they can start him in their affiliate system ( Hockey Allsvenskan) for a month or two and bring him up to the main team later in the year.

And if it doesn't work out, he's probably good enough to make it on a top-six in France or a middle-six in the Swiss League.

A power forward with his skill set - 6'4", 200 pounds, good hands, adult-level-impressive strength, puck protection ability and offensive flair and positioning - will eventually become a 30-goal scorer in the NHL, but he's not there yet; he has not yet learned the ropes, learned to use his body against men night in and night out and consistently put up points whether the games are easy or hard, so he would be able to rely on just his skill in roughly a third of the games in a lower-tiered league and play the rest by ear, but doing so in a competitive, veteran-heavy league whose country wins Olympic and World Championship gold medals, with or without NHL players, seems like a bit of a stretch.

Time will tell how he fares in Europe this year, but I can't wait until he makes the NHL in wo or three years and when he reaches his prime in five or six, while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisailt are still elite players; maybe he'll be able to sprinkle a couple of 40-goal seasons in there and earn one huge contract.

In the meantime, here he is wearing Team Canada's red (away) uniform on card #35 from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Team Canada Juniors/Women set, wearing #25 at the 2018 U18 Championships, where he scored 5 goals in 5 games:

He signed it in thick blue sharpie while still with the Mooseheads early last season.

No comments:

Post a Comment