Hayden Lavigne's play-style influences
Carey Price, Jonathan Quick, Marc André Fleury and Roberto Luongo are all National Hockey League superstars in their own rights. But, they have something else in common.
They’ve all contributed a little bit of style to Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne.
It started with Luongo, a goaltender for the Florida Panthers. After all, it’s hard not to look up to someone who was a finalist for the Hart and Vezina Trophy — two of the highest NHL accolades possible.
But Lavigne had a simpler reason for looking up to the 18-season veteran.
“I loved his outward comedic presence while he was still a professional athlete,” Lavigne said. “He approached every game like he knew what he had to do and what it takes, and we see that now that he's played 1,000 NHL games. But he’s still very vocal on Twitter, and he’s sarcastic on Twitter and funny, he likes to goof around.
“Which, I think he was a good outlet for me since I was always so serious and quiet in the locker room. It was a good way for me to see like, ‘Oh, you can relax a little bit and have some fun and still be competitive and ready to go.’ ”
While Lavigne and Luongo are not nearly as similar off the ice, they share traits on the ice that Lavigne tries to emulate.
Luongo is an athletic goaltender who uses his 6-foot-3 frame and build to his advantage. Due to his athleticism, he is proficient in catching the puck with his glove rather than just blocking it. With the same height and a similar build as Luongo, Lavigne has always been a more athletic goaltender.
Mechanically though, Lavigne wanted to make his game similar to Carey Price, the Montreal Canadiens’ starting goalie.
“I think through juniors and everything I always tried to model myself after Carey Price,” Lavigne said. “And the last couple years I've really realized that that’s not a thing that happens in goaltending. There’s not one person that you can play exactly like, or very rarely is that the case.”
Instead of catering his style of play to one player, he instead looks to multiple role models with different strengths.
“So recently I've started to pick four or five goalies that I like to watch. Like, okay, what do they do well that I want to play like that?” Lavigne said. “So, Jonathan Quick is extremely explosive and battles like crazy. So, great, that’s something that I can contribute to my game. Am I gonna be able to play as far out as he does and make saves? Probably not. Am I gonna be able to skate that fast? No, probably not. I can’t do the splits every other play. So things like that. I don’t play like him, but there’s stuff in his game that I can emulate in mine.
“And then Carey Price, I love his composure and his stance and his demeanor. He's just very big and confident in net, so that's something that I like to try and put into my game. And then Marc-André Fleury, we have somebody that just competes and outwills everybody when he plays. He finds a way to get it done. So those have been three of my favorites the last little while.”
As a player, he doesn’t do anything extraordinarily physical, as goaltender coach Steve Shields likes to put it. Lavigne is athletic but not generational. His game is defined less by the physical aspects than the mental ones — a former weakness.
“He’s a confident guy in what he does. So technically, he’s sound. Technically, he’s a precise guy. He wants to do everything right,” Shields said. “He’s not very tolerant when he doesn’t do everything perfectly. So technically, he’s a little bit of a perfectionist.
“He’s an educated player. He knows what other guys are doing. He knows what trends are. You know, in the past, they’d call guys that the rink wreck. He’s always involved, he’s always looking at what other guys are doing and he has an opinion about it all, which I think it’s really good for a goalie. But technically, he’s where he needs to be. He just needs to get a little bit faster, little bit better and a little more consistent about everything.”