Photo Credit – Aaron Bell/CHL
Alexis Lafrenière is coming off of an 112 point season. Lafrenière was second in total points in the CHL. Eight points shy of leading in points, but Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s bested him in points as he recorded 120 points.
If you look at Lafrenière’s points per game, he improved massively when you look at his year over year growth. In his 2018-2019 campaign with Rimouski, the left winger recorded 105 points in 61 games (1.72 points per game). This past season, he managed to post 112 points in 52 games and 2.15 points per game.
In addition, if you look at Dave MacPherson’s site Pick224, Lafrenière had the highest even strength primary points per game played and the highest primary points per game played for 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospects.
There is no doubt that Lafrenière has plenty of offensive firepower, but let’s look at his game under the hypothetical microscope.
DOB – October 11, 2001
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 6’1″
Weight – 192 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Lafrenière’s Style Of Play
Lafrenière is stunning in transition. His ability to get the puck through tight gaps is something that many prospects at his age struggle with. There will of course be instances where Lafrenière gets stuck at his opponents’ blue line and fails to complete a controlled zone entry, but the fight and determination to get the puck into the offensive zone is worth noting. In addition, Lafrenière is tremendous at weaving around traffic. With Lafrenière’s quick crossovers, he can alter his path at a moment’s notice. While he is an effective puck-mover and can efficiently weave, there are moments where he seems to over-skate the puck amid weaving.
In the offensive zone, Lafrenière can do everything that you want him to do. I mean everything. If you want Lafrenière to stick-handle one-handed, he can deliver. Let’s say you need him to complete a one-handed pass to the slot with tight pressure on him, he has got you covered. His passing in the offensive zone is lights out. While on the rush, he can float a strategical cross ice pass just outside of the slot to set up a teammate. Lafrenière’s hands are smooth. He can complete backhanded passes and have close to the same accuracy as if he was completing the same pass forehanded.
When it comes to his shot, Lafrenière fires at all cylinders and he can burn you from anywhere in the offensive zone. Most players struggle at times in the corners, but Lafrenière can fire accurate shots from down in the corner and find gaps to score. Not only can Lafrenière muster up beautiful highlight-reel shots, but he can also sell a slap shot, fake it and then set up a teammate in the slot with a perfectly timed pass.
Also, Lafrenière loves to run the cycle and running the show. He will dance around the zone like a ballerina and find the perfect moment to strike. When he is on the power play, occasionally he will hover around the offensive zone to find an open piece of ice to give his teammates a chance to fire a one-timer pass to him. That reminds me quite a bit of Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews. While he could park himself in one slot and wait for the puck, he chooses to circle the zone in an effort to open up enough space for him to find success.
The defensive zone is Lafrenière weakest zone, but he is still strong defensively. His go-to defensive move is to defend the boards and poke-check. While poke-checking is his number one defensive play, you can expect Lafrenière to deliver quality body checks to silence his opponents’ cycle. Sometimes Lafrenière will attempt to deliver a shoulder check, but miss his timing/target. Over the summer and in his first season in the NHL, he should be looking to adjust his reaction timing to ensure that he is not late on hits.
Last, but not least, Lafrenière’s skating is effortless. As I mentioned before, his crossovers and his edge work are constantly in fine form. He uses his crossovers to help him speed up and down the ice. Occasionally, in the defensive zone, along the half wall, Lafrenière does an excellent job of transitioning from forwards to backwards to make a quick poke-check when his opponent is not expecting it.
Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks
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