Ever since the 2022–2023 season started for Edmonton Oilers top prospect, Raphael Lavoie, you could sense it coming. You could see the player turning a curve and understand where he was going to head. It has now become apparent, if it wasn’t already, that Lavoie’s career in the American Hockey League is over. He should not be there anymore. The media, scouts, analysts, and coaches will all tell you that Lavoie is way too good for the AHL. He’s got the skill, the shot, the hockey IQ, and skating ability to be a significant difference maker in the National Hockey League. Now, it is only a matter of time.
The play and maturity of Lavoie
When Lavoie was waived and sent back down to the Bakersfield Condors, I was honestly shocked and very scared that he would get picked up by another team. I was also very nervous about how Lavoie would react to this because I thought that he had cracked the Oilers roster. I believed that he would take it hard and underperform or sulk on the ice.
Surprising, Lavoie did none of the above. Like a mature professional hockey player, Lavoie became an even bigger leader on the Condors and took over every single game he played in. From his stat line, we can see that he scored four goals and three assists in five games. Yes it’s very easy to see through his stats that he has been an absolute weapon on the team. But, that is not what has impressed me the most about him.
What I mean by Lavoie’s maturity is his play away from the puck and how he has contributed in different parts of the game, not just scoring. Lavoie has been very good defensively and on the penalty kill. Whenever the puck has been taken off his stick, Lavoie has back checked hard from the defensive zone to the offensive zone. He has carried the puck zone to zone when required and he has been very communicative with his linemates.
When Lavoie has been asked upon to penalty kill, he has relished the opportunity and he has been very good at it. What most people seem to forget is that Lavoie was a penalty killer in the World Junior Championship. He has also been very strong in his skating stride and very fast. I believe people have been misled into thinking that Lavoie has bad skating ability.
The newest part of the NHL-ready Lavoie has been his grittiness. There have been a lot of scrums from all the games I’ve seen the Condors play and Lavoie has been in the middle of it. He’s been gritty against his opponents and he got into a huge fight with a player from the Tucson AHL team. It is in the video above. He can really chuck them!
The last part of Lavoie’s maturity really came through in his recent interview on the Jason Gregor Show that I have posted below. He was very mature in everything he said to Jason about how he is relishing the chance to prove to the Oilers that he is NHL ready. He says that, “It’s a long process. I’d love to be with the Edmonton Oilers. But, the goal is not to get to the NHL as soon as possible. The goal is to stay in the NHL for as long as possible.” This was a great response by the youngster and I was very impressed by how professional he has become and how he knows what his goal is.
It is very easy to see and understand how ready he actually is to play with the Oilers.
Lavoie to join the Oilers soon
In my honest opinion, I believe that Lavoie should be on the Oilers now. When Adam Erne was waived, I thought that he was getting the call up right away. Unfortunately, he did not get the call up. But then, I also realized that having him sit and play seven minutes a night would not really utilize his skill set to its best ability. But from what I have seen from him in the AHL this season, I can tell he is doing everything possible to be on the team. He will be an Oilers very soon my fellow fans. We will be excited on that day!
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