The New York Rangers selected forward Alexis Lafrenière with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Position: Left Wing
Age on Draft Day: 18.93 Years Old
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 192 pounds
2019-20 Stats: 52 GP, 35 G, 77 A, 112 P
NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters): 1st
Bob McKenzie: 1st
Craig Button: 1st
ISS Hockey: 1st
Dobber Prospects : 2nd
Lafrenière is the first No. 1 overall pick to come from Rimouski Océanic since Sidney Crosby in 2005.
As noted in the draft profile put together by Adam:
Like Crosby, Lafrenière’s biggest asset is his brain. He thinks on the ice at an elite level. Hockey remains a highly rigid, structured game, but coaches are slowly allowing for more unorthodox approaches and roaming from position, particularly for an incredibly cerebral player who can be trusted to make his own judgments, such as Lafrenière. The result is a left winger who in many ways serves as a pseudo-center, who — once the faceoff occurs — dictates play from the outside and often will cut inside to take on more responsibility left to the pivot than the winger.
Lafrenière’s vision and hockey sense are elite. Those are broad — if not vague — terms, so let’s break down some different examples of what that means in his case.
Lafrenière, like Crosby, also has two Michel Brière Memorial Trophies, given to the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player. The addition of Lafrenière to the Rangers’ system is huge. The fact that the Rangers won the lottery, a year after moving up to No. 2 overall, is something that can’t be understated.
The soon-to-be 19-year-old projects to be a major piece of the franchise, and is the most impactful prospect the Rangers have had in years.
This is not to say that Lafrenière doesn’t have some areas to grow; all young players do. But whenever the 2020-21 season starts, he is someone who will be able to contribute in a meaningful capacity right away.
As for long term projections:
Lafrenière likely falls short Crosby and McDavid as surefire Hall-of-Famers before they even reached the NHL, but he’s one tier below that. Certainly and demonstrably above both Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko in last year’s draft, and that’s no criticism of those two. Lafrenière is the best player to come through Canadian Juniors since McDavid, and if there’s any concern about the level of competition then just look to his 10 points in five World Juniors games for Canada this past Winter; good enough to lead the entire tournament by points-per-game. If Lafrenière develops as expected — and there isn’t much reason to doubt he will — the Rangers will have a legitimate superstar winger who could challenge for individual accolades and be the best forward on a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
Blueshirt Banter will have more coverage on Lafrenière and the other prospects added in the coming days, so stay tuned for more to come. Unless the Rangers trade the pick, they will be up again later on in the first round at No. 22 overall.
With all of that said... Alexis Lafrenière is finally a New York Ranger.