November 22, 2015

Kevin Lavallee

Kevin Lavallee teased us with his talent, but then frustrated us with his lack on intensity and consistency.

Lavallee was a good skater, not overly tricky but quick enough to go around most defensemen. He had an interesting array of shots, particularly an uncannily accurate slap shot from well out and a close in lazerlike wrist shot. He read plays well and was able to jump in to open holes with ease. And despite being puny by hockey standards, he was a very stocky individual, thus making his lack of height a non-factor in a perfect world.

However Lavallee played in his own world. So many nights he would float around, paying little attention especially in the defensive zone. Had he not been so lazy in applying his nice package of skills, he could have been a consistent 30 goal scorer in the high scoring 1980s NHL. Instead he frustrated his coaches and fans. He ended up bouncing around the league before being bounced right out of it.

Kevin was drafted 32nd overall in 1980 by the Calgary Flames after exploding for a 65-70-135 season in 65 games with OHA's Brantford Alexanders. He joined the Flames the same year, putting in a quiet rookie campaign with 15 goals and 35 points in 77 games. Lavallee showed promising progress in his sophomore season in 1981-82 when he displayed what he was capable of - scoring 32 times and collecting 61 points. However, partly due to injuries, Lavallee took a step back in 1982-83, scoring 19 times with 35 points in 60 contests.

The Flames moved Lavallee and Carl Mokosak to Los Angeles for Steve Bozek. Lavallee spent most of the year in the minors after a horrendous start in L.A. They then released him outright. Kevin signed with the St. Louis Blues in 1984-85 and was on track for a good year with 15 goals and 32 points in 38 games before his season was ended with an injury. Injuries again hampered Kevin's second season in St. Louis, as he got in to 64 contest, scoring 18 goals and 38 points.

The Blue let the soft and injury prone left winger go free in 1986. Kevin landed in Pittsburgh where it was hoped he would achieve his potential along side Mario Lemieux. However shoulder surgery kept Kevin limited to just 33 games, scoring 8 goals and 28 points.

Kevin left the league following that season. He ended up going to Europe. He played with a number of teams in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

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