QMJHL: Tomas Lavoie used in all sauces

QMJHL: Tomas Lavoie used in all sauces


Whatever plan they had made about using the first overall pick of the last QMJHL draft, Tomas Lavoie, the Cape Breton Eagles had to throw him in the trash.< /strong> 

The idea was simple and logical: the Eagles planned to use the 16-year-old guard in the top-4 defense, surrounded by the three veterans on the blue line of the team: Arizona Coyotes prospects Jérémy Langlois, François-James Buteau and Justin Bergeron.

However, theory quickly met practice. Buteau was injured in the first period of the opener and is still on the sidelines, while Langlois and Bergeron have missed more than half of their team's games, also due to injuries. At some point, all three veterans were out of the lineup at the same time. Result: Lavoie, among others, had to work extra hard, spending nearly 25 minutes on the rink each evening.

“With our three veterans at the back, it would have allowed us to manage the minutes of our young defenders. But by not having them, we had no choice but to throw them into the fire. Tomas reacted very well. I know people will see his differential and pass judgment, but I manage players and people, not statistics. I never want my players to focus on statistics because by doing that, they are in the future and not in the moment when they have their skates planted on the ice, “said the head coach of the Eagles, Jon Goyens, during an interview with Le Journal before Saturday's game between his team and the Quebec Remparts at the Videotron centre.

No pressure

Lavoie's differential, before the match against Quebec, was -12, good for the penultimate rank in this chapter in the entire QMJHL.

Combine that with the fact that he had zero points in his first eight games at the time of our interview yesterday afternoon, and you could imagine a youngster discouraged by his individual production due to his No. 1 overall status.

This is far from the case.

“My status as first overall was July 4 in the draft. Then everyone starts from scratch. I do my job on the rink and I know that status is going to hang on my back, but I don't worry about it. It was an adjustment for me at the start of the season, but the veterans welcomed me as if I had been with the team for two years. I'm learning new things every day,” says the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman. is not a distraction, and what it really is. But coach Goyens confirms it: Tomas Lavoie is not the type to worry about outside pressure.

“When we talk to him, we see that he is not a young person stressed by his status. He's not the type to get discouraged every time he makes a mistake because they happen, it's part of hockey. […] Already, at 16, he manages that very well. Whether it goes well or badly, he acts with a lot of maturity. »


By playing so much, so quickly, Lavoie was able to understand what he should improve for the rest of his career.

“The game is much faster. Last year, I had a lot of time when I had the puck. This season, my reaction time has to be faster. »

At the Eagles blue line, he can also count on a leading role model in Jérémy Langlois. Lavoie was also paired with the captain and third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the last draft, for yesterday's game against the Remparts.

“He's been in the the league. He takes the time before making his play, moves the puck quickly and he knows what he is doing. This is a model that I would like to follow. »