Name: Marc Lajoie
Team: NAX Midget Prep (CSSHL)
Date of Birth: May 3rd 2003
Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta
Height/Weight: 6’3 203lbs
WHL Draft: 14th Overall in 2018 – Tri-City Americans (Signed)
*Eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft*
Areas of Strength
- Athleticism and Endurance
- Defensive Work Ethic
Areas of Weakness
- Offensive Skill
Player Report: Marc was ranked 16th on our final draft list, he was ultimately chosen two spots earlier by the Tri-City Americans. Marc is a St. Albert born defender, playing on there Bantam AAA team as a 13 year old, producing 18 points in 35 games played. He also was part of a fantastic playoff run, producing at a higher rate with six points in the ten games. Going into the WHL draft season, Lajoie elected to go and play in the CSSHL with the NAX Academy Bantam Prep’s, a team that would go on to win his hometown tournament the John Reid Memorial in January of that season. Lajoie logged heavy minutes on his team, up close to 30 on average a night. Played in all areas of the game and was likely the most depended on player. He had 30 points in 20 regular season games with the Bantam Preps, getting four games in with the Elite 15s at points of the season where he had one goal. Lajoie father, Serge Lajoie, is the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers and former head coach of the UofA Golden Bears.
Marc Lajoie is a dependable two way defender who game’s projects into a defensive orientated rear guard. His all around game best emulates someone like Griffen Reinhart with his size and tenacity. Lajoie likely logged more minute of anyone in his 2003 age group, being counted on in all areas of the game and being double shifted consistently. Marc has that workhorse mentality, he doesn’t take shifts off and despite not being an outstanding skater, he will battle you for positioning and win puck battles. Despite having a huge frame, I have been impressed by Marc’s athleticism and endurance. Not light on his feet but out works players to pucks and he pushes his boots the maximum. Equipped with a 6’3 frame, Lajoie loves to get involved in the physical play. A hard nosed defender who will close in on forwards and make a big hit, loves to intimate his opponents with his physicality and plays with an edge to his game. Lajoie excels in defensive situations, he is a competitive net front presence who can box players out with ease, physical in corners and in causing turnovers. Well above average knowledge of the defensive zone and where to position his big body. A stay at home defender who is steady on the backend and can shutdown other teams top players. His composure on the back end improved as the year progressed, utilizing a skilled stick more often to separate man from the puck. Lajoie has no issues controlling players coming down on him at top speed, he keeps the play to the outside and allows his range/size to cut the puck carrier off with his body/stick. Lajoie isn’t a flashy puck mover, he can get the puck up the ice in transition with a powerful first pass. His puck distributing is dependable and he can hit his target from far distances. Offensively, Lajoie isn’t a standout player, given his size and strength however he does possess a cannon of a shot from the blue line. His intelligence on the blue line is impressive, recognizing when he can work the puck to the middle and locates locate lanes to the net. His offensive game is quite under developed, but he has shown the determination to make things happen in the offensive zone. If Lajoie can improve his skating, he could be the best shutdown defender in the draft. He seems like he knows what to do offensively but struggles to do so with his immobility and lack of high end skill. Prone to bad decisions with the puck, especially when mental fatigue comes in. Overall, Lajoie is one of the most competitive defenders you will fine at this age, he knows his limitations and plays within them.
Lajoie isn’t a defender who will wow fans at the WHL level, he likely progresses into a shutdown backend presence who logs big defensive minutes. He has the WHL size at 6’3 205lbs already as a 15 year old. Lajoie might struggle early in his WHL career with keeping up to the higher pace and skill. Once he hits that 17/18/19 age is when I would expect him to break out, get out against other teams top players and shut them down. Wont be a productive player but I’d expect his career high to be around 40-50 if he sticks until age 20. Lajoie’s a high risk pick, his WHL ceiling could be a player like Turner Ottenbreit while his WHL floor could be Jantzen Leslie. He seems like a committed kid off the ice, a previous coach of his commented to us talking about his leadership abilities and how he can quickly fit into a locker room.
GM Quote: “Big physical d man with high hockey I Q. Makes good decisions under pressure and possesses high competence level” – Bob Tory (GM/Owner Tri-City Americans)
2016-2017 – St. Albert Sabres AAA: 35GP-5G-13A-18PTS 12PIMS Playoffs: 10GP-1G-5A-6PTS 0PIMS
2017-2018 – NAX Bantam Prep: 20GP-12G-18A-30PTS 22PIMS Playoffs: 4GP-0G-0A-0PTS 14PIMS
NAX Elite 15s: 4GP-1G-0A-1PTS 0PIMS