After debuting at No. 18 on these rankings last go-around (and slipping to 19 at the midterm), Pascal Laberge was primed for a big 2016-17 season after being drafted 36th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. If there are constants in hockey (and life), is that there are just folks who just want to watch the world burn. In this case, deliver a dirty, homicidal hit to an unsuspecting player. It’s a play that shouldn’t be taught nor rewarded anywhere and unfortunately Pascal Laberge’s 16-17 season dealt with more lows than highs because of it.
Headshot by Monctons' (QMJHL) Zachary Malatesta on Flyers prospect Pascal Laberge is sickening and revolting. No place in game for this. pic.twitter.com/avWJhopBoY— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 16, 2016
No. T-22: Pascal Laberge
Age: 19 (4/9/1998)
Acquired Via: 2016 NHL Draft -- Round 2, Pick 36 (Pick acquired from Winnipeg along with Pick No. 22 in 2016 in exchange for Picks No. 18 and 79 in 2016 on June 24, 2016)
2016-17 League/Team/Statistics: Victoriaville (QMJHL) - 12 G, 20 A in 46 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2017 25 Under 25: 19
Pascal Laberge shot up draft boards following his 68 point (23 goal, 45 assist) 2015-16 campaign with the Victoriaville Tigres. He also fought with many personal battles recently to add fuel to his fire. You couldn’t help but route for the kid.
Seven games into the 16-17 season, Laberge was deemed out indefinitely with a concussion. Hockey fans know very well how much a concussion can be debilitating to not only return to the ice, but just leading a normal, healthy life. Tales of Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau and Chris Pronger are still all fresh in the minds of the Flyers faithful. Laberge talked about his struggles with concussions this offseason, saying that “the first month I couldn’t wake up. I had to sleep all day.” You never want to see someone, let alone a teenager, deal with something so potentially life-altering.
Thankfully after the concussion symptoms subsided, Laberge was able to make it back, only missing 16 games. In his 38 games after returning he was able to notch 10 goals and 18 assists. However, this was a far cry from the pace in which he set in his draft-season, and his production had some fans worried that Laberge’s standing as a prospect had taken a serious hit.
The outlook for Laberge is still quite positive. The instincts he possessed that positioned him as a very good two-way player are likely still there. Part of what made Laberge’s game so exciting was the energy and physicality he brought to the game. He’s a player that wasn’t afraid to go into the corners and fight for a puck.
I believe Laberge’s calling will be that of a playmaker in the NHL than a goal scorer, but the kid does have some mitts if called upon. It will be important for Laberge to come into the 2017-18 season with a mission in mind, to prove that he is once again healthy and that his trials last year were merely bumps in the road.
How We Voted For Pascal Laberge
How We Voted At No. 22
|Taylor Leier||Isaac Ratcliffe||Pascal Laberge||Alex Lyon||Anthony Salinitri||Pascal Laberge||Carsen Twarynski||Isaac Ratcliffe||Radel Fazleev||Pascal Laberge||Alex Lyon||Pascal Laberge|
How The Community Voted For Pascal Laberge
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