2020 NHL Draft
Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Steve Kournianos | 7/25/2019 | Nashville |
Position: Left Wing
Height / Weight: 6’1, 192 lbs
Born: October 11th, 2001 | St-Eustache, QC
A gifted scoring winger with outstanding hockey sense and the ability to elevate his game when the situation necessitates it, Lafreniere is poised to become the first French-Canadian skater to go first overall in the draft since Vincent Lecavalier was the top pick in 1998. Although there are many things about Lafreniere that scream elite, specifically his vision and deadly wrist shot, it’s his insanely-high compete level, tenacity on the puck, and selflessness that set him apart from all his peers. 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. Lafreniere is an excellent skater in all directions, but his powerful stride allows him to separate from opponents in open ice. He can tailor his game to fit any style of play, and his ability to play physical causes significant matchup problems for smaller opponents.
Lafreniere is a team-first leader who has made a profound impact on Rimouski, turning them from a 59-point doormat in 2016-17 to back-to-back playoff seasons of 90 points or more. He is used in every conceivable situation, and his ability to dominate the puck no matter the in-game environment creates swaths of open ice for his mates. Lafreniere is an incredibly unselfish player, and his youthful exuberance when coupled with his physicality reveal a player of the throwback variety. Lafreniere seems to understand and execute set-plays on or off the puck, and he can be counted on as a reliable forechecker who creates turnovers in the neutral zone. Although the volume of high-end prospects being developed out of the QMJHL has slowed down, Lafreniere is at the very top of an elite crop of Quebec Leaguers poised to garner the attention of scouts from all over North American and Europe. The top slot among 2020 draft hopefuls is Lafreneiere’s to lose.