The Edmonton Oilers’ prospects saw plenty of action this past week. Despite some strong individual performances across all leagues, we had to give this week’s spotlight to the continued strong play of Raphael Lavoie. Let’s dive right into it!
Welcome to the TOR Edmonton Oilers prospect update. Each week, we’ll take a dive into how the Oilers’ prospects have done in their respective leagues. We have defined a prospect as a skater who has played fewer than 65 NHL games, and is younger than 25 years of age. All data is from EliteProspects. We also use an NHLe calculator built by Christian Roatis (@Croatis) which is used to estimate a player’s equivalent point total in the NHL based on how they are performing in their respective league. The calculator uses the difficulty of the given league combined with the ease at which a player puts up points to determine the NHLe.
Lavoie stays hot
This is Lavoie’s third professional season. After posting some incredible numbers in the Allsvenskan, Lavoie had some troubles replicating his success at the AHL level. At 6’4”, and with a ton of puck skills, it has often been said that Lavoie’s overall effort was lacking, unable to find enough consistency to warrant much talk around a potential NHL call up.
That all changed since January, Lavoie producing at by far his best level for a stretch of over two months now. No matter the linemates, Lavoie has been the Bakersfield Condors primary offensive contributor, outperforming prolific AHL scorers in Seth Griffith, Justin Bailey, and Tyler Benson, all while propping up linemates like Tyler Tullio, Xavier Bourgault, and Noah Philp.
Lavoie has spent more than the last two months as one of the AHL’s foremost snipers, seemingly scoring at will from any distance. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from this past week, discuss some of the minutiae of Lavoie’s game, and what the plan for the forward might be in the near future.
Weaving in off the rush, Lavoie continues his torrid 2023 by taking this drop pass from Griffith and ripping a short side, bar down shot from the faceoff dot. The flashes of talent have always been undeniable, but this is far and away the most consistently we’ve seen Lavoie produce at the AHL level. Given his size and age, not to mention his upcoming waiver eligibility, it is more than likely that he will be pushing for a top nine role with the Oilers out of training camp next season.
A huge positive from this clip is Lavoie’s work outside of the goal. He takes contact from the defender, but gets up quickly, working his way into the backcheck. He comes back into the slot, a sound defensive habit, where Jason Demers throws a huge hit causing the turnover. Lavoie transitions quickly, supporting the rush. Even on the shot itself Lavoie is willing to take the contact to make the play, shrugging off the defenders attempt at physicality.
Lavoie has been creating offence in a number of different ways of late, but it is not often that we see this much range from his shot. From the high slot Lavoie picks the top corner. While this range might not be as easy to replicate in the NHL, it is still encouraging to see.
This really drives home the point of Lavoie’s current play, his shot from distance. This clip, firing home a goal off the offensive zone faceoff. This clip might well be reminiscent of Philip Broberg’s AHL games this season, Lavoie looks to be toying with his competition.
Though he might be top of mind for a call up at some point, especially if the Condors season ends before the Oilers does, it is important to have Lavoie thriving in his final year of waiver exemption. Consistency has been hard to come by over Lavoie’s AHL career. The confidence this stretch is giving him is crucial momentum heading into next season’s training camp, where he will certainly be pushing for a spot in earnest for the first time.
This and That
The Condors went 2–1–0 on the week, improving their home record to 9–2–2 in their past 13 games. Though the team struggled towards the end of the 2022 calendar year after some key players were called up to the NHL, the team filled with a number of rookie forwards has continued to improve. This is a fantastic progression for the group and bodes well that the Oilers might have some worthy call ups in the coming years.
This isn’t exactly a play we are used to seeing from Philp, but his confidence is skyrocketing down the stretch of his rookie AHL season. Here he takes a pass, stepping into a wrist shot from the faceoff dot, beating the goalie clean on the short side, bar down.
This is much more within what we normally see from Philp. A big bodied centre, Philp is able to thrive in the tough areas and the middle of the ice. He has had a lot of success at the net front this season, tipping this shot from the point. A big standout on this play is Xavier Bourgault who earns a secondary assist.
On the far side boards, at the top of the screen, Bourgault picks up a loose puck and outmanoeuvres two defenders before finding the point man through the seam. A smaller player, Bourgault will need to display deft puck protection and effective playmaking to reach higher levels.
Philp does well to win the draw with an extra effort. Lavoie works a nice give and go from the flank before finding Bourgault in the slot.
This is a hallmark of Bourgault’s game, a one-timer from the slot. Bourgault does well in finding position in the crowded middle, and seeing him find more success here in the AHL bodes well for his development.
Chiasson takes the pass coming into the attacking zone, firing a pinpoint shot from the slot. Chiasson has done a lot of his work with his new team, the Saskatoon Blades, from closer to the net, but shows off some shooting range here.
Among the improvements we’ve seen from Chiasson since being moved to a stronger team is his playmaking ability. Here he works a give and go off the rush with teammate Trevor Wong, threading a deft pass into space in the low slot.
Matvey Petrov awaits the puck carrier at the blueline of the far boards. He gets the puck as his team gains the zone, firing a long, cross ice backhand pass to his teammate. Known foremost for his shot, we’ve seen a lot of playmaking prowess from Petrov this season. Such a crisp pass with a high degree of difficulty shows off Petrov’s overall quality and vision.
More playmaking here from Petrov. On the far point, Petrov is no stranger to primary puck handling responsibilities on the Battalion power play. The idea is sound, going cross seam with a pass to the near post. It isn’t the cleanest, but Petrov puts enough on it for the puck to get through to his teammate.
This time working from the low wall, Petrov finds a teammate in the slot with a primary assist here. In all, the Petrov highlight from this week reinforce the strides he’s made as a playmaker in his final junior season.
This play begins with Shane Lachance tracking back to his own slot, a sound defensive posture, aggressively attempting to cut off a passing lane at the near post. He turns up ice as his teammate wins a battle at the blueline, joining the rush before beating the goalie clean with a shot from the outside.
Lachance begins this clip at the net front, battling for the loose puck. His efforts win him the puck as it squirts into the high slot. Lachance shows great awareness in firing a no look turnaround shot, a clear motion to tie the game in the third with his second of the game.
A big body with a great shot, Lachance will look to have a strong freshman year in the NCAA next season.
Skyler Brind’Amour lives up to his family name in earning a nomination for best defensive forward. His offensive totals are solid but not exactly his main selling point as a prospect. He has done some good work as a netfront presence on the power play, but clearly this nomination highlights his main contributions come from his work on the other side of the puck.
It was a wild game between the Oilers ECHL affiliate Fort Wayne Komets and the Wheeling Nailers, with scoring and tensions high as the game came to a close. Ryan Fanti puts an exclamation point on his night here, dominating this goalie fight and earning a victory. We certainly hope the fight is a rare occurrence for Fanti, though undoubtedly this might be the only highlight that Oilers fans remember from Fanti’s rookie season as a pro.
Despite outstanding college numbers, Fanti has settled into fifth on the Oilers depth chart. The good news is that he has clearly won the Komets starting job and has them in line for a playoff appearance.
Simply to balance out the focus here, Fanti makes an incredible desperation save, throwing himself across the crease to make the denial. A scramble ensues and Fanti is lost in a sea of bodies, but somehow the Komets keep the puck out. This highlight does help give us some context into the heated matchup between these divisional rivals.
NHLe is a metric used to estimate a player’s offensive output at the NHL level from their point totals in their respective league. Here are the Oilers’ current top five (bracketed numbers denote movement from the previous week).
- Matvey Petrov 38.1 (1)
- Maxim Beryozkin 33.0 (2)
- Raphael Lavoie 31.1 (3)
- Patrik Puistola 24.8 (4)
- Tyler Benson 24.3 (5)
Overall regular season totals for Oilers’ prospects
|Justin Bailey (RW/LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||43||13||11||24||0.56||34||-5||AHL||22.3|
|Tyler Benson (LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||31||4||15||19||0.61||29||-4||AHL||24.3|
|Maxim Beryozkin (RW/LW)||totals||61||10||22||32||0.52||22||7||KHL||33.0|
|Xavier Bourgault (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||56||13||18||31||0.55||16||7||AHL||21.9|
|Skyler Brind’Amour (C)||Quinnipiac Univ.||NCAA||36||13||18||31||0.86||6||20||ECAC||19.7|
|Maxim Denezhkin (C)||totals||VHL||37||8||13||21||0.57||90||1||VHL||17.8|
|Seth Griffith (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||57||16||35||51||0.89||28||-12||AHL||35.5|
|James Hamblin (LW/C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||37||7||14||21||0.57||12||-1||AHL||22.7|
|Dylan Holloway (LW/C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||1||1||0||1||1||0||0||AHL||39.9|
|Mattias Janmark (C/W)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||4||2||2||4||1||2||3||AHL||39.9|
|Klim Kostin (LW/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||9||2||2||4||0.44||15||-4||AHL||14.2|
|Shane Lachance (LW)||Youngstown Phantoms||USHL||49||28||16||44||0.9||39||9||USHL||19.9|
|Raphaël Lavoie (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||46||22||14||36||0.78||37||9||AHL||31.1|
|Jeremias Lindewall (RW/LW)||Östersunds IK||HockeyAllsvenskan||35||2||4||6||0.17||12||-16||HockeyAllsvenskan||5.0|
|Brad Malone (C/LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||35||2||17||19||0.54||24||4||AHL||21.5|
|Tomas Mazura (C)||St. Lawrence Univ.||NCAA||28||3||9||12||0.43||8||2||ECAC||9.9|
|Greg McKegg (C/W)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||56||5||11||16||0.29||56||4||AHL||11.6|
|Joel Määttä (C)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||36||7||7||14||0.39||18||-10||Hockey East||12.6|
|Patrik Puistola (RW/LW)||Jukurit||Liiga||60||16||24||40||0.67||12||-8||Liiga||24.8|
|Carter Savoie (LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||37||8||3||11||0.3||18||-12||AHL||12.0|
|Devin Shore (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||5||2||3||5||1||0||1||AHL||39.9|
|Tyler Tullio (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||51||13||13||26||0.51||14||2||AHL||20.3|
|Matvei Petrov (RW/LW)||North Bay Battalion||OHL||62||26||63||89||1.44||30||33||OHL||38.1|
|Noah Philp (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||56||14||12||26||0.46||37||5||AHL||18.3|
|Jake Chiasson (C/RW)||totals||WHL||66||20||34||54||0.82||26||-15||WHL||20.3|
|Philip Broberg (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||7||2||2||4||0.57||0||-2||AHL||22.7|
|Nikita Yevseyev (D)||AK Bars Kazan||KHL||48||5||2||7||0.15||11||7||KHL||9.9|
|Max Wanner (D)||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||44||8||22||30||0.68||45||23||WHL||16.8|
|Jason Demers (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||45||0||16||16||0.36||67||-7||AHL||14.3|
|Vincent Desharnais (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||13||0||2||2||0.15||19||1||AHL||6.0|
|Cam Dineen (D)||totals||AHL||55||4||35||39||0.71||14||-7||AHL||28.3|
|Philip Kemp (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||56||5||12||17||0.3||45||6||AHL||12.0|
|Slater Koekkoek (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||AHL|
|Luca Münzenberger (D)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||28||0||5||5||0.18||24||-9||Hockey East||5.8|
|Markus Niemeläinen (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||25||2||5||7||0.28||14||1||AHL||11.2|
|Calvin Pickard||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||29||2.89||0.908|
|Olivier Rodrigue||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||23||3.03||0.905|
|Samuel Jonsson||Rögle BK J20||J20 Nationell||26||2.68||0.899|
|Fort Wayne Komets||ECHL||26||3.51||0.891|