Who is Alexis Lafreniere? Canadian forward consensus first-overall pick in 2020 NHL draft

Monday night is Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery, which means we’ll finally know who will select first overall come October. Regardless of which team gets the honor, one thing is already a given: Alexis Lafreniere has long been established as the top prospect for this year’s draft. 

Now, granted, depending on who gets the top slot it may not be him because of team needs (and 2020 has just been kooky); however, that’s probably not going to happen because he’s a surefire generational talent. Lafreniere brings speed, physicality, a high hockey IQ, silky mitts and an insane ability to put the puck in the back of the net. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the top NHL prospect.

Where is Alexis Lafreniere from?

The 18-year-old star winger hails from Saint-Eustache, Que. When he was just 14, he played bantam hockey and posted 69 points (35 goals, 34 assists) in 26 games. In 2016-17 he played for the Saint-Eustache Vikings midget team and led the team in scoring with 83 points (33 goals, 50 assists) in 36 games. 

If he is selected first overall, Lafreniere would be the first Quebec-born player taken No. 1 since current Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was drafted in 2003 by the Penguins. He’ll also be the first non-goaltender from Quebec taken at No. 1 overall since Vincent Lecavalier in 1998 by the Lightning.

Where has Alexis Lafreniere played?

Ranked the top skater among North Americans by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, the 6-1, 193-pound left winger torched the competition in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). This past season he led the QMJHL with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games for the Rimouski Oceanic. His 2.15 points per game were the best in Canadian Hockey League history since Connor McDavid’s (Erie Otters) 2.50 PPG in 2014-15.  

Over the course of three seasons, he netted 297 points in 173 games and an impressive 1.72 points per game. By comparison, the NHL’s top points man, Leon Draisaitl, had 1.55 points per game this past season.

In late December and early January he led Canada to the gold medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship — despite missing two games with a knee injury. He potted four goals and six assists in five games; the previous tournament he had one goal in five games and was often the 13th forward. 

What awards has Alexis Lafreniere won?

Lafreniere captured his second straight QMJHL MVP award back in May. The last guy to do that? Former Rimouski star Sidney Crosby (2004, 2005), which puts him in some pretty solid company. Shawinigan goalie Mathieu Chouinard also won back-to-backs from 1999 to 2000.

What are the experts saying about Alexis Lafreniere?

“Lafreniere has exceptional skills and attributes which make him a scoring threat every time he steps onto the ice. Whether it’s with Rimouski in the QMJHL or on the world stage, he has continually shown that he is a force that can impact and be a difference maker in games. What sets him above in this Draft class is the natural compete and battle traits that are ingrained in his game, allowing Alexis to lead the way and make others around him better.” — NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr

“Obviously, Alexis is quite the player when you look at every aspect of his game. I think you could consider every aspect as elite when you look at his skating, his puck skills, obviously it’s above average. He’s been excellent for his three years with Rimouski.” — J-F Damphousse, Central Scouting’s regional scout for Quebec and the Maritimes

“A gifted and versatile scoring winger with outstanding hockey sense and the ability to elevate his game when the situation calls for it, Lafreniere possesses many traits that scream elite and potential NHL superstar. From his deadly wrist shot to his superior playmaking and vision, the St. Eustache native checks every block imaginable when it comes to possessing the puck. What makes Lafreniere unique, however, is his insanely high compete level, tenacity on the puck, physicality, and selflessness. Play him on a line with equally heralded or accomplished prospects, and he’ll make it a point to tap into their strengths rather than make himself the center of attention.” — Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“A premier, point-producing machine of a forward who continued to elevate his game throughout the season. Extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations. Scores in a variety of ways and will be one of the rare wingers who will dictate everything. Joined Sidney Crosby as the only two-time CHL Player of the Year winner. A very worthy first-overall pick.” — Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects

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