The large American power forward was a surprise snub at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, after putting together a very solid first season in the QMJHL, with 11 goals and 16 assists, while leading his team in hits by a wide margin. LaVallee’s 2004-05 campaign has left little doubt that he is worthy of a draft selection this year, as he led his Quebec Remparts with a very impressive 40 goals, and once again leading his team in hits.
Drafted 4th round (116th overall), 2005 by Atlanta.
2006-07: LaVallee had an excellent rookie season, though it was overshadowed by the play of Sterling and Oystrick. LaVallee played most of the year on the third line, but was moved up to the second with Cory Larose and Niko Dimitrakos when Alex Bourret was traded to the NY Rangers. He had 16 goals and 18 assists in 79 games. LaVallee had an excellent playoffs with seven goals and one assist in 14 games. Just two of his goals were scored on the power play, demonstrating an ability to get chances when fully defended. He miissed the second playoff game with the flu. Like most 21-year-olds, LaVallee needs to improve his defense. He was -1 during the regular season on a very plus team, and was +1 in the playoffs.
LaVallee plays a physical game, but more often than not, he keeps it clean. He has good acceleration and agility, which makes him a force on the forecheck. He does well in the slot on the power play. LaVallee also has a penchant for scoring clutch goals. Weaknesses include puckhandling and play away from the puck.
Projection: Banging power forward who loves traffic and generating chances for himself. Good along the boards. His play away from the puck needs work though, which makes him tough to use as a checking line player.