Raphael Lavoie, who was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round (No. 38) in the 2019 NHL Draft, has been writing a monthly diary this season for NHL.com. The 18-year-old forward had 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 62 regular-season games in his third season for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and led the league with 20 goals in 23 playoff games. In his final entry, Lavoie discusses being selected by the Oilers and the possibility of playing with Connor McDavid.
Wow, what a feeling and what can I say about it? It's hard to find the right words.
I didn't have any expectations walking into the NHL Draft this weekend, and I think that helped me handle it well. I just wanted to get drafted by an NHL team. That was my approach, and it helped. I slept pretty good the night before, but you don't really see it coming and it's awesome when it happens. Hearing my name was such a great feeling, a mix of joy and excitement.
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It's been a bit of a whirlwind from there. I went to the Oilers draft table, said hi to everyone, shook a lot of hands, and then it was off to do interviews, a lot of interviews.
Of course, it didn't take long for those questions to include Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and of course, it's pretty awesome to think I could get to play with those guys, especially as a power forward and offensive guy who likes to bring pucks to the net. But mostly, I am just happy to be going to such a great organization. I didn't really know a lot about the Oilers before they picked me, but I know Wayne Gretzky played there, and that's a good start.
It all happens fast, but even with all that stuff going on after you get picked, your mind switches pretty quick back to all the people that helped you get to this point. I found myself thinking about everyone who supported me along the way: family, friends, coaches. I owe so much to them. I wouldn't be here without the support they gave me and everything they taught me.
Your family is first on that list and having them here to experience this with me means a lot, but I also thought about Eric Veilleux, my coach with Halifax this season. He's probably the best coach I ever had in my life, helping me understand how to make an impact every night, how to play when I don't have the puck, and he's a big reason why I am here.
Coming to a Canadian city is exciting and I got a little taste of what it might be like playing for a Canadian team in the NHL with all the media surrounding me to talk about being picked by the Oilers, but the truth is, I felt prepared for it after hosting the Memorial Cup with Halifax.
There were a lot of people there asking questions, too, so seeing all the media wasn't new. You get used to it, and I learned how to deal with pressure at the Memorial Cup and all the hype and pressure of playing in the final and how to still perform in the middle of all that.
It's something I'm looking forward to in Edmonton, but first, it's time to celebrate in Vancouver with my friends and family, go see the city a little more and have some fun together.
I'll be back to work soon enough to get ready for the Oilers development camp and back in the gym to continue getting stronger this summer. I'll work on my explosiveness, too, because if I want to be able to skate with McDavid, I'll need to get even faster.
Thanks for following along with my journey.
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