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DRAFT: The value of Lavoie

"We had him higher, obviously. I'll say that," said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

VANCOUVER, BC - Bob Green had to stop and laugh before saying it.

Because it's cliché and repeated each year at the NHL Draft and Vancouver's 2019 edition was no different.

"Don't we always say we never expected to get...," joked the Oilers Director of Player Development, seated before the media after the Oilers 193rd selection, their final one. 

"We had him higher, obviously. I'll say that."

Video: OILERS TODAY | Draft Recap 06.22.19

'We' being Green, Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland, Oilers Assistant General Manager Keith Gretzky and the rest of the scouting staff, and 'him' being second-round selection Raphael Lavoie.

The 38th-overall pick and Halifax Mooseheads power forward came into the Draft with projections of going anywhere from the mid-first to second round due to his frame, strength, scoring and playmaking ability. 

Luckily for the Oilers, Lavoie - sitting in the bowl awaiting his name to be announced - remained available when they were on the clock.

"We saw he was glaring there for us this morning when we got up," Green said. "We talked a little bit last night about him after we got to the hotel but there were lots of guys there that we liked. But we were happy to get him."

Video: THE PANEL | Draft Wrap-Up

The Chambly, QC, product was a force in the Mooseheads' playoff run, scoring 20 goals in 23 games but losing in the President's Cup Final to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Lavoie's stock elevated by the round and the forward - who can play centre or wing but prefers the latter - gained more exposure at the 2019 Memorial Cup where Halifax served as hosts.

"He had a great playoff," said Green. "He had a good Memorial Cup. I saw him out there. During the course of the year, I liked his game. He's a big, strong kid that can score. He makes plays with the puck, he's strong down low and he complements good players."

More eyes saw Lavoie during his extended season and that was when his performance saw new heights. The 18-year-old praised Halifax Head Coach Eric Veilleux for optimizing his output.

Video: DRAFT | Raphael Lavoie

"My coach this year was probably the best coach I've ever had in my life," Lavoie, who had six more postseason goals than the player behind him, said. "He's been great to me and he's a big reason and part of why I'm here."

The 6-foot-4, 199-pounder blends a medley of size, strength and poise but pointed out that Veilleux's instructions pieced it together.

"Talking to me about details when I don't have the puck or how to play the game in general," Lavoie said of the wisdom Veilleux shared.

"Just being an impact every night."

Lavoie didn't project where he would be next season but regardless, given his potential, the Oilers are happy to get a great value on their second-round pick.

That, Green said so himself.

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