Yesterday was the last day for teams to place players on waivers for the purposes of setting their opening night lineup. The waiver wire wasn’t as interesting this year as it has been in the past, but there were some very interesting names waived, including Edmonton Oilers top prospect Raphael Lavoie. With the Calgary Flames looking for a fourth-line centre and Craig Conroy’s admittance of the team looking at the waiver wire to fill roles, it makes a ton of sense for the Flames to claim Lavoie.
Who is Raphael Lavoie?
Lavoie was selected by the Oilers 38th overall in the second round of the 2019 NHL draft. He was taken 12 picks after Jakob Pelletier, and many had him ranked as a first-round talent that year (19th by TSN, 25th by Future Considerations, 20th by NHL Central Scouting).
He is currently 23 years old, a right-shot C/RW, 6’4″, and 216 lbs. Lavoie’s main areas of strength are his shot and quick release, hockey IQ, read of the game, and his large frame.
Lavoie played in the QMJHL for the Halifax Mooseheads and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in junior hockey and represented Canada at the World Juniors in 2019–20. Since then, he has played exclusively for the Oilers’ AHL farm team—the Bakersfield Condors—and has steadily improved to be one of their top prospects.
Many viewed Lavoie as a surefire NHLer this year, serving on the Oilers’ bottom-six, after a very strong second half of the 2022–23 AHL season. Hitting the 25-goal mark, Lavoie finished first on the team in goals and second in overall scoring.
Where would Lavoie fit in the Flames’ lineup?
Since Conroy took over as GM in Calgary, he has talked about adding “skill with size” to the depth charts. That was one of the biggest reasons they selected Sam Honzek in the first round of this year’s draft, and why Lavoie makes perfect sense for the Flames.
At a massive 6’4″ and 216 pounds, Lavoie would be a solid bottom-six option and boasts first-round skill as well. As a right-shot centre/winger, this fits exactly what the Flames need right now as they don’t really have a good 4C option. If/when Kevin Rooney comes back, they could easily shift Lavoie over to the right wing where they don’t have a lot of depth to begin with.
Based on his development and pedigree, Lavoie would immediately fit in as the fourth line centre on opening night. At a cap hit of just $874K, he would be easy to fit in financially, too.
Low-risk, high-reward, and even higher hilarity
The Flames desperately need some help at centre this year, and Lavoie just seems to be the most ideal candidate out there. He can be had for free (minus the nominal waiver fee NHL teams pay when they claim players off waivers), and offers something the Flames are looking for.
Whenever you add good players to your roster ahead of the season, it provides a boost to the existing team as well. They know management is invested and looking to help out, and if we know there’s a void at 4C, the players do too.
Of course, when you add in the fact that Lavoie is one of the Oilers’ top prospects, it would be so, so sweet to scoop him up and suit him in the Flaming C, while the fans up the highway complain about it. The Oilers are a Cup favourite this year, and it’s the duty of the Flames to rain on their parade as much as possible. Claiming Lavoie would certainly achieve that goal.
Ultimately, this is, in my opinion, a no-brainer. Lavoie fills a need, would provide an instant boost to the team, and would be utterly hilarious.
Come on, Conroy, make it happen.