After the NHL Draft lottery was announced on June 26th, it was determined that one of the teams participating in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers will receive the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This means the Blackhawks still have a chance to select the next generational talent, Alexis Lafreniere.
Alexis Lafreniere has been a name on every NHL general manager’s radar for the past couple of seasons. Touted as the next generational talent to be drafted into the league, Lafreniere has dominated during his time with Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL. Based on his performance over the past three seasons, Lafreniere is the consensus #1 pick when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft rolls around on October 9th.
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 192 lbs.
Current Team: Rimouski Océanic
Lafreniere is a one of a kind player, as his hockey IQ is simply unmatched. Lafreniere can set teammates up with ease, as demonstrated by the 77 assists he posted in the QMJHL this past season. Alexis is also no slouch at putting the puck into the back of the net, as he lit the lamp 35 times in 52 games this season before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During his rookie season in the QMJHL, he was the first rookie since Sidney Crosby to reach the 40 goal mark, as he was named rookie of the year.
At 6’1 and 191 pounds, Lafreniere already has the body build to be in the NHL. His size has allowed him to create turnovers, wreak havoc along the boards, while also being able to get a good net-front presence. An accurate player comparison to Lafreniere would be Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers. Both have the same build, while also having the same playmaking and goalscoring capabilities. Considering Huberdeau is coming off of back-to-back 70+ point seasons in the NHL, it is evident that Lafreniere’s future in the league looks bright.
During the World Juniors, Lafreniere also proved that he could get the job done on the big stage, as he led Team Canada to the gold medal. Even though a leg injury caused him to miss some time during the tournament, he still was able to contribute 4 goals and 6 assists (10 points) in only 5 games played while taking home the honor of most valuable player.
Fit with Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks could use some left-wing help, as that is Lafreniere’s primary position. Other than Alex DeBrincat, there hasn’t really been a true constant threat at left-wing since the days of Artemi Panarin. Sure, Brandon Saad is still there, but with only one more year left on his deal and the constant trade rumors associated with his name, who knows how much longer he will be with the Blackhawks.
With Lafreniere’s all-around talent, I feel that he could be an almost perfect fit on a line with Patrick Kane. Both he and Kane’s play styles are similar, but Lafreniere has a little bit of a size advantage to win more board battles and contribute more defensively than Kane. As stated previously, he is almost certain to be the #1 pick in the draft, and the Hawks would certainly love to add another top-notch young prospect to the organization who can come in and help out right away.