Slipping through the cracks of my Twitter feed being flooded with USHL Draft updates last night was the news that ’96-born goalie Hayden Lavigne verbally committed to Michigan.  According to reports he will either be a 2014 or 2015 recruit. And with his commitment, I get the feeling Jared Rutledge won’t be returning to Michigan after his season in the USHL.

The 17-year-old native of Brampton, Ontario played for the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League this past season. He started 18 of the 20 games he played and posted a 9-7-1 record with a 2.48 goals against average, a .922 save percentage, and four shutouts.  He was named OJHL Second Team All-Prospect.  His OHL rights are owned by the Belleville Bulls.

Lavigne was drafted in the 3rd round (32nd overall) by the Tri-City Storm of the USHL last night.  He is expected to compete for the starting job should he go the USHL route. If not, he’s expected to be the starting goalie for Wellington.

Hayden is said to bring size and athleticism to the net.  According to the Wellington Dukes he stands 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, though the USHL Draft website lists him at 6-foot-2, 174 pounds.

Jonathan Kyriacou, a scout with the Dukes, tells me via Twitter that Lavigne has “very good size at 6’3 190, sound in his crease, strong lateral movement, sees the ice well; butterfly style. positioning & consistency continued to improve over the year, which is very positive. Expected as our starter next year.”

Though he was just drafted last night, I asked Kyriacou about whether he thought Hayden would be back or go to the USHL as a result and he said, “We do expect him back in Wellington and expect him to start for us in Game 1 this upcoming season.”

Dave Wells, director of Performance Goaltending goalie training school, wrote the following testimonial of Lavigne after watching him several times with the Toronto Nationals of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (prior to joining Wellington) along with a highlight reel:

“At 6′ 3″ tall Hayden is a big goalie who is both athletic and technical. He separates himself from other goalies his age using strong positioning, consistently challenging and making saves outside the blue paint – all too rare for goalies these days. For a big goalie Hayden reads, reacts and anticipates well. He is patient, often making saves on his feet when he reads a high shot. He shuts down the low middle ice well and in my opinion was consistently one of the best ’96 goalies in the GTHL this season. This was confirmed when his peers chose him to play in the Top Prospects All Star Game.”


Hayden’s goalie mask features Russell Crowe in his role as Robin Hood. Lloyd Carr would be proud.


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