2020 NHL Draft Profile: Alexis Lafrenière
The kid from St. Eustache will be going first overall on Tuesday night.
Date of Birth: October 11th, 2001
Hometown: St. Eustache, QC
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 192 lbs
Last Season: 35-77-112 in 52 Games Played for Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
It’s always so tough to draw comparisons with such high level talent like Alexis Lafrenière because there are a lot fewer players to make an adequate comparison with. Common compliments include his ability to mask whether he is thinking of shooting or passing, a skill at manipulating defensemen, knowing when to drive the net, and a knack at elevating the play of his linemates. That all adds up to a player with extremely high hockey IQ, which usually translates into a long and productive career. He may not have that one concrete dimension where he can absolutely dominate all other competition, like Ovechkin’s shot, but everything he does is exceptional, including skating; for a kid that’s already nearly 200 pounds, he is very quick.
He’s only the second player to win the CHL player of the year award twice, with Sidney Crosby being the first. He hasn’t generated quite that level of hype, but he didn’t have a whole year of riding the hype train either, despite the pandemic’s best efforts. I don’t think the Red Wings will have to care too much about their relative superlatives; with Lafrenière in the same Metropolitan division as Crosby, Detroit will be seeing an equal amount of each. At least the top pick didn’t go to a division rival, but I was really hoping Lafrenière would be headed out West after this draft.
Alexis Lafrenière is the real deal and projects to be a top line center. He’s not a Crosby/McDavid type of savior/generational player, but he isn’t too much farther behind. As far as what he could do for the Rangers impact-wise, you could look to the Islanders and John Tavares. No single player makes a team, obviously, but Lafrenière is a pretty good lock to be a top line winger. It will be interesting to see what the Rangers do as an organization going forward because of this stroke of luck. They’ve started making moves already, as evidenced by the Marc Staal trade and the Henrik Lundquist buyout, but if you’re in the Rangers’ position you never plan on getting first overall. It just kind of happens, like, uh, like love. The draft lottery is like love. Ever-elusive to the Red Wings. Okay, this is getting uncomfortable and I should edit it out.
Will he be a Red Wing?
Absolutely. I think there is a 100% chance Lafrenière dons the Winged Wheel sometime shortly before 2040, when he’s in the twilight stage of his career ala Thomas Vanek and Brad Richards.