– Zak Lavoie –
Toronto Nationals (GTHL) | C/RW | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible
Toronto, Ontario | 5-foot-9, 165lbs | Mar. 13th, 2004
Ever since making the transition from hockey in the Ottawa region to the Greater Toronto Hockey League, Zakary Lavoie has been more dominant than ever before. Although the quality of competition which he now faces on a nightly basis is at an all-time high, Lavoie has acclimated to the GTHL extremely well over the past two seasons and has shown no signs of slowing down ahead of the 2020 OHL Draft.
In fact, Lavoie’s 2019-20 campaign began with a bang — the Toronto Nationals claimed the championship at the annual Toronto Titans Tournament in September. En route to his team’s championship, Lavoie was absolutely stellar — showcasing his lethal goal-scoring abilities by firing home a tournament-leading ten goals in just seven games played. While areas for improvement do exist within Lavoie’ game, his decisively offensive nature on the ice — as you’ll read — will surely make the native of Ottawa, Ontario a highly sought after prospect come the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.
- Skating Strength and Stability
- Shot Velocity and Release
- Confidence and Composure
- Offensive Creativity
Like most elite prospects his age, Lavoie’s most significant strength lays in his ability to traverse the ice without any hindrance whatsoever. Easily identifiable by his low yet powerful strides on the ice, Lavoie naturally lowers his centre of gravity while in possession of the puck and is nearly impossible to dispossess as a direct result. This raw strength and stability allows Lavoie to forecheck with persistence while also playing a shutdown role in his own zone when the situation demands.
LETS GO BOYS!! Titans tournament champs! pic.twitter.com/1ppevXpqdy
— Zak Lavoie (@zaklavoie) September 9, 2019
Complimenting Lavoie’s stable stride is his shot — a quick wrister which features the proven ability to best opposing netminders even if they are able to view the shot cleanly. This ability is made possible by Lavoie’s impressive shot velocity as well as by the release which has come to define his shot. Capable of firing the puck on-goal in a split-second, Lavoie can release the puck incredibly quickly and uses his strong frame and lower body to put a great deal of force behind his attempts on net. Even if faced with a considerable deal of traffic in front of the goal, Lavoie can force his shot through and pick the smallest of corners available.
Add the Toronto Titans and Toronto Young Nats to the list of GTHL powerhouses. The Titans have a balanced attack led by Moldenhauer, Simpson, Delic, and Melee. The Nats are led by pure goal scorer Zak Lavoie and Ottawa native Max Seguin. #OHLDraft
— Ryan McArthur (@ryanpmcarthur) September 7, 2019
To wrap up our discussion on Lavoie’s strengths, let’s take a moment to discuss his on-ice composure as well as offensive creativity — the two are directly linked. Unlike most players his age, Lavoie is incredibly calm and poised when in possession of the puck — a reality which allows him to take the time to assess his options in order to make calculated decisions in all three zones on the ice. This ability to think, process, and play the game at a high rate of speed fuels Lavoie’s creativity, as the youngster is willing to take calculated risks in order to generate scoring opportunities for his team.
- Skating Speed
- Playmaking Frequency
While Lavoie is — without question — a dynamic young player and top prospect eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft, he is not without room for improvement. Having watched Lavoie play on numerous occasions, two particular areas in need of improvement have risen to the forefront. Firstly, there is Lavoie’s skating speed — although a terrific skater capable of driving the puck to the net should he decide to do so, greater overall speed would allow Lavoie to gain greater separation from opposing players and thus increased time to think and devise scoring plays.
Secondly, there is Lavoie’s tendency to pass the puck and devise scoring plays in which a fellow teammate is afforded with the opportunity to bulge the twine. Although a solid playmaker in years passed, Lavoie loves to blast his shot on-goal — understandably so given its strength and lethality. However, in the future, we’d like to see Lavoie utilize his teammates on a more regular basis — after all, Lavoie is a tremendous playmaker of ample vision who is a crafty as they come.
Ultimately, Lavoie has the skill set and potential necessary to evolve into an impact player at the OHL-level and beyond. A terrific skater and deadly sniper, Lavoie holds the ability to influence the outcome of any given game in which he competes. Once faster and slightly more versatile, Lavoie will stand as a potent and diverse threat capable of intimidating his opposition.
In short, Lavoie is an excellent young player and unquestionably one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft. Although he — like all other players his age — still has room to grow, Lavoie is on track to play an impactful role at the OHL-level in the near future.