The Canucks have inked 21-year-old left winger Yan-Pavel Laplante of the Gatineau Olympiques to a three-year entry-level contract.
Yan-Pavel Laplante signing his NHL contract! So well-deserved. Great support from Claude Lemieux and 4sports team! pic.twitter.com/NfY5GO8n6h
— Jim Bursey (@MonteraSports) May 16, 2016
Laplante was a third round pick (62nd overall) of the Coyotes in 2013. He appeared in just 18 games during his draft year, after suffering a shoulder injury at the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament in August of 2012.
“He was a guy that had the potential to be a first-round candidate,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting before the 2013 Draft.
— Yotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) July 1, 2013
Laplante scored 42 points (23-19-42) in 63 regular season games, followed by 6 points in 5 playoff games during 2013-14 QMJHL season. The Coyotes thought enough of Laplante to call him up for six games with their AHL affiliate in Portland at the conclusion of his junior season.
But after another 42 point season (22-20-42) in 50 regular season games in 2014-15, and a disappointing 1 point in 11 playoff games, the Coyotes were not impressed. Arizona never signed Laplante to a contract, which allowed him to re-enter the draft last year. There were no takers in the draft, which made him a free agent.
Here’s the scouting report on Laplante from the folks at Hockey’s Future:
One of the main questions that need to be answered after a player misses significant time due to injury is how their game might be affected when they return. For Laplante, there was no such fear. He continues to throw his body around with reckless abandon, and to play hard in the corners and along the boards. Laplante only appears to have one gear and that is full tilt hockey, shift after shift. He can also hold his own offensively, with a nose for the net and good playmaking abilities.
Sounds like a player that fans might like.
Laplante had 65 points (34-31-65) in 63 regular games as an over-ager with the Gatineau Olympiques this past season. He followed that up with 8 points in 10 playoff games.
The Canucks will be hoping that he can regain the form that had him so highly touted as an 18-year-old. We’ll begin to see what he’s got first-hand at training camp in September.