Pascal Laberge Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #23

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The 2nd overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL draft, but after putting up just 10 points in 27 games as a 16-year-old Laberge was involved in a surprising trade deadline move in January 2015 that saw him go from Gatineau to Victoriaville. He found his stride with the Tigres, scoring 21 points in 31 games. This year he has continued to impress putting up 23 goals and 45 assists for 68 points in 56 games, and adding three goals and five points in five games during the Tigres first round QMJHL playoff loss. He was also one of the top forwards at the CHL Top Prospects game, as he was dangerous on every shift and had two goals and an assist in a 3-2 Team Orr victory. Laberge has international experience as well, playing for Canada Black at last years Under 17 World Hockey Challenge, where he had four points in five games. He is currently playing for Team Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He was invited to last summer’s Ivan Hlinka camp, but was a late cut from the team.

Pascal Laberge Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #23

Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born Apr 9 1998 — Chateauguay, PQ
Height 6’01” — Weight 172 lbs [185 cm/78 kg]

Pascal Laberge has good size, but could stand to put some muscle on his frame. He plays a power forward style of game. Laberge loves to forecheck, getting in quickly and putting pressure on opposing defenders. He gets to the front of the net and establishes position. With the puck on his stick, he is not afraid to drive the net, and has the hands to finish in close. Laberge wins battles along the boards and protects the puck and plays the cycle well at the junior level, but will need to fill out his frame before he is ready to play this gritty style against bigger pro opponents. Laberge has a non-stop motor and is always battling along the boards or in front of the net. He also has a very hard wrist shot and excellent release, along with a strong slap shot and one-timer; but doesn’t seem to shoot enough. Instead Laberge is more of a playmaker, using his speed and agility to open up passing lanes and his vision and passing skill to create opportunities for linemates.  He is a good stick handler, and willing to try some very creative moves with the puck on his stick.

Pascal Laberge is a quick skater with good acceleration. He has as the ability to change to change speeds and can fool defenders and is very dangerous off the rush as a result. He has the speed and acceleration to take defenders to the outside and then cut to the net. Laberge also has good agility, as he can make moves in traffic both with and without the puck. He could stand to work on his lower body/core strength as he will need to improve his balance, and get stronger on the puck in the coming years.

Laberge shows effort in the defensive end, bringing the non-stop motor and high work ethic that defines him in the offensive zone. However his overall defensive game is a work in progress. He will need to work on his positioning, and avoid over committing to the physical play and getting himself out of position. He certainly has the work ethic, though it will take some time with a good coach working on his game.  This isn’t to say he’s bad in his own end, the sheer work ethic makes him a pretty good defensive player, but he could be a very good two-way centre if he can iron out a few issues.

Pascal Laberge has the versatility to play both centre and wing.  With his playmaking ability, and strong skating, he does seem suited to playing in the middle of the ice. However, he must continue to work on his defensive game and learn the responsibilities of a centre going forward. He also needs to be a little bit more selfish at times. As mentioned, Laberge has an excellent release on his shot, but just does not shoot the puck enough. With the right development, he could be an effective top six forward. Stylistically Laberge’s game is reminscent of Brayden Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers, but this is a style comparison only, and not one based on talent level.

The following is a compiliation of Pascal Laberge’s highlights, taken from youtube.

Check back tomorrow for the #24 prospect on our draft rankings.

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