This is a surprise to absolutely nobody. I think everybody has known that Alexis Lafreniere would be the first name taken off the board in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft since at least 3 years ago. It's been years in the making but the time has finally come. Alexis Lafreniere is now an NHL hockey player.
When you look at this kid's body of work, there really aren't many prospects who have come into the draft accomplishing as much as he has. A 2x CHL Player of the Year. He led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Juniors where he was named the tournament MVP. The only player in the history of the draft who has come in with that resume was Sidney Crosby, but even Crosby didn't have the World Juniors MVP under his belt. So it's not crazy to say that Lafreniere is the most accomplished player heading into the draft maybe ever?
Now obviously most folks don't get a chance to check out many Rimouski Oceanic games throughout the season. So for most of us, that World Juniors tournament was our best chance to really see what this kid was all about. And honestly, I think this assist he had against Team USA is the best example you'll see for the type of player that Lafreniere is.
He's big. He's powerful. And he's dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that he demands the attention of all 4 USA penalty killers as he's driving the net here. He gets everybody to collapse on him, immediately kicks it out to Hayton, and it's in the back of the net. That's the type of play maker and game changer that Lafreniere is. It's the reason he had 77 assists in just 52 games this year in the QMJHL.
And then this goal he had against Team USA is classic Lafreniere as well. It shows a little bit of everything he has to offer. 1) He just has that game sense where everything seems to come to him naturally. And 2) He has the skill and the ability to bat that puck out of the air, settle it onto his stick, and smoothly stuff that shit in the back of the net.
So yeah. I'm sure there will be some moments where he struggles early in his career but he's so strong on the puck, he's so composed as a player and just a guy who has had to grow up already with so many expectations on him, he's got some great size already as an 18 year old with plenty of frame to build on, and he's hungry for more. As a Flyers fan, I fucking hate this pick because I know how good he's going to be for the Rangers for so long. But as a fan of hockey, the NHL is going to be so much sicker with this kid in the league.
Sidenote: Kings made the right decision to go Byfield at #2. I know there is a ton of upside with Stutzle but Byfield is a true 1C who any team would be able to build around.