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Edit: Drafted 62nd by the Phoenix Coyotes.
It was certainly a tough year for Yan-Pavel Laplante. as a pre-season shoulder injury suffered at the Ivan Hlinka tournament cost him most of the season. He did return in time to play 18 games for the Prince Edward Island Rocket, and while it took him some time to find his endurance and timing again, he put up 13 points. In the playoffs he was even better with 5 points in 6 games for PEI. After PEI’s first round loss, Laplante packed his bags for Sochi, being named to Canada IIHF World Under 18 Championship team, where he played more of a grinding role than an offensive one. Still Laplante was a contributor and came home with a gold medal. It matches nicely with the Ivan Hlinka gold that he was able to bring home last summer.
Born Apr 23 1995 — Chateauguay, PQ
Height 6.00 — Weight 178.9 — Shoots Left
Laplante’s quick comeback from his injury (a torn labrum, surgery) showed the off-ice hard work and determination that Laplante shows on the ice every single shift. He has a non-stop motor and always seems to be physically involved, hitting defenders on the forecheck, digging in the corners and in front of the net, and at the middle of every scrum. Laplante has offensive skill in that he has a very good shot and release. He also has good vision and passing skill. Laplante could use some work on his stickhandling though, as he really rushes sometimes to either take the shot, or make the pass. Still its his compete level and physical presence that is his greatest assset.
Laplante is a very good skater. He has good top end speed, and quick feet give him excellent acceleration. Couple that with his good edgework and agility, and Laplante zooms around the ice looking for hits. He is strong on his skates and has excellent balance allowing him to fight off defenders and win board battles.
The non-stop work ethic also includes Laplante’s play in his own end. He is a committed defensive player who covers his man, reads the play well, plays a physical game and is willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. He can kill penalties and his strong defensive game will certainly be seen as an asset for coaches at the next level.
Laplante plays a style that is reminiscent of Dustin Brown. However this is a style comparison only and not potential. In terms of potential he is likely a 3rd line player at the next level with a chance to maybe be a second liner if he can bring his offence up next season.
Check back later today for another NHL draft feature.
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