The Rangers won the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery last night, meaning they will likely draft clear-cut #1 pick Alexis Lafreniere with their first overall selection. It will be the first time in the modern draft era that the Rangers will select first overall. The only other time they had the first pick was in 1965, before the draft turned into what it is today. Many scouting reports have Alexis Lafreniere pegged as an elite player and potential generational talent.
Lafreniere, a 6’1, 194 lb LW, is a projected generational talent. He’s the one of two players ever to win the CHL Player of the Year Award twice. The other was some kid named Sidney Crosby. Lafreniere put up 35-77-112 in just 52 QMJHL games last year, well over two points per game. Last season, his age-17 season, he put up 37-68-105 in 61 games. He was 17 years old.
Elite Scoring Winger
Lafreniere has all the tools to be an elite scoring winger. He will instantly be in the conversation for a top-six role with his lethal combination of elite skating, elite shooting, and elite vision. He’s not quite Connor McDavid when it comes to breakaway speed, but he’s up there and more then makes up for it with his other skills.
What scouts rave about is the lack of quit in his game. He plays the game the way it was meant to be played, playing the body and using his strength to protect the puck.
All of this combines to make a complete and deadly offensive players. The thing that strikes me in the highlights is how Lafreniere just seems to know where his teammates are without even looking. His moves have moves, and the opposition just has no idea how to defend him. He’s so good at looking off defenders.
All Situations Player
Lafreniere’s elite vision and playmaking abilities mean he can be used in all situations. He anticipates on offense, reading the open ice, and applies that same talent on defense. When you add in his elite first step and acceleration, he makes fast breaks the other way an almost regular occurrence.
Lafreniere never panics either, or at least rarely panics. He sees the game in a different way, which makes him a great transitional player as well. With the right anticipation and first step, he turns an errant pass into a chance the other way.
A Potential Generational Talent
The term “generational talent” gets thrown around a lot. Generational is a term recently reserved for players like Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and Henrik Lundqvist. These are players that transcend the game and can alter how the game itself is played.
Lafreniere has the potential to be in that conversation. Ovechkin created the Ovechkin spot on the powerplay. Lundqvist revolutionized how goalies approach the position. McDavid is unmatched across the board. Crosby, pre-injuries, was just like McDavid. Lafreniere, given the right situation, can create his own generational history.
That said, even if he doesn’t become one of those talents, his floor appears to be “just” elite. Think Patrick Kane, whom Lafreniere has said he models his game after. There’s so much potential here, as every scouting report of Alexis Lafreniere will say. The Rangers appear to have gotten themselves a can’t-miss elite prospect right out of the gate.