10/6/20 | Dave Reid said on the NHL Network, “I agree, he’s like a modern day Gilbert Perreault. He is ready to step into the NHL, he can do everything you ask of a top-end player. He’s not a center, he’s a winger, he’s going to be one of the best wingers for years to come. He can do everything you ask, wingers are usually the guys who work the boards and he loves playing physical, he is not afraid to step up. In the WJC his physical play really elevated his team. His defensive awareness and understanding of positional play is extremely strong, his passing ability is one of his best assets, He has an awareness of where his teammates are on the ice, his teammates are always better players when they play with him. His wrist shot is his best shot, he’s not a big one-time guy, not a big slap shot guy, a wrist shot guy but his ability to make his teammates better is what makes him so special. He’s got speed, size, hockey IQ, all of the attributes, he can pass, make the simple plays. Everything he does is done at a high level, at high speed and is very accurate. There are very few flaws in his game, his compete level is through the roof.
Billy Jaffe said on the NHL Network, “he’s always on pucks.”
8/16/20 | 9:30PM: Patrick Roy spoke, who coached against Lafreniere the past two-years in the QMJHL, spoke with Larry Brooks and said (NY Post):
- “Character” describes Lafreniere and that he did a “super job” of handling the pressure and spotlight of being touted as the #1 overall pick.
- “He’s a team player and a team guy. Without a doubt he would fit in with the Rangers and perform very well in New York.”
- “He does what it takes. He is committed to winning.”
- “He’s a great playmaker. He skates really well. He goes in traffic. His shot is good. He is capable of scoring. He’s smart. He’s been dedicated for a long time to being very, very, very good.”
Craig Button told Brooks that, like Artemi Panarin, Lafreniere makes his teammates better from the wing and compares him to Mikko Rantanen of Colorado. (NY Post)
Button adds that Panarin has an “edge to his game,” that he doesn’t “back down” and is a “competitor.” (NY Post)
8/11/20 | 11:53AM: In listing Alexis Lafreniere at #1 in their rankings, NHL Central Scouting describes him as an “exceptionally smart player with top-end speed and pull-away gear.”
They add, “great at carrying the puck and leading rushes. Executes under pressure and has great vision and anticipation – very good quickness with the puck and exceptional ability to change speed. Elite puck skills and vision to create plays in the offensive zone.
Central Scouting lists his comparable as Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau.
Lafreniere told The Hockey News in their 2020 Draft Preview, “I love being in high-pressure situations. Because I see pressure as a privilege and not like a weight on my shoulders. I want to be on the ice when the game is on the line. It’s a magical feeling, and it’s what I live for.”
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wrote of Lafreniere In the 2020 Draft Preview, “he’s one of those rare left wingers who is capable of driving a line and is more of a playmaker than a pure scorer. And no, he will probably never be converted to center, a position he has never played in his life. There is no need to put him in the middle of the ice for him to play a 200-ft game.”
Campbell added, “One of the unique things about Lafreniere’s game is his adaptability in that he can play it any way you like it. He’d prefer it be based on skill and speed, but he’s prepared to engage in trench warfare if that’s what is necessary, all of which makes matching up against him difficult. His compete level is extraordinarily high and he has two assets that will prove to make him a dangerous offensive player for a long time – superior on0ice vision and a deadly wrist shot. Think Joe Sakic, it’s that good.”
Scouts told Campbell of Lafreniere:
- “He has the size, hockey sense, competitiveness, strength. There’s nothing lacking in his game.”
- “As teams take take away his playmaking, he’ll become more dangerous scoring because he’s so smart. He’s really, really competitive, and this comes as part and parcel of maturing, but he’s become more edgy as time has gone on. To the point where he’s like, ‘You want to come near me? Take this.'”
- “Alexis understands when he’s got to shoot, when he can make the pass, who he’s going to pass it to. Those are all things that transfer to the NHL, understanding what’s unfolding in front of you and the response needed. It speaks to exceptional IQ. Players can think about the immediate play, but they don’t understand what the next play is. Alexis has all that and more.”
The Hockey News Draft Preview’s scouting report wrote:
- “He’s basically an NHL player right now playing junior hockey. He has the size, hockey sense, competitiveness, strength….there’s nothing lacking in his game.”
- “He’s not going to be a superstar, but he’s going to be a star. He’s going to be a player who can do so many different things in a game.”
- His “best case” is Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau.
Ryan Kennedy wrote, at The Hockey News, “the key to Lafreniere’s game is his drive.”
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman writes that Lafreniere “understands how to create offense at an elite level” and is someone who is “responsible defensively, competes for pucks, drives the net and throws his body around.”
Pronman adds “Lafreniere is not a perimeter player. He makes hard plays to the net using his skill, strength and will to create chances.” (The Athletic)
The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler wrote of Lafreniere, while listing him #1 in his rankings, that he can “play through” defenders with his puck skills, “play around” them with his speed or “leverage his strength, drop his shoulder and drive to his spot.”
He adds that Lafreniere knows how to get open when he doesn’t have the puck, how to “engage physically” and that “he has all the tools he needs to be a dominant player with an without the puck at the NHL level.” (The Athletic)
In The Hockey News’ 2019 Draft Preview they listed Lafreniere as their number one prospect for 2020 and wrote, “super-smart and talented, he finished second in the QMJHL scoring.”
Chris Peters wrote at ESPN that Lafreniere “wanst the puck at all times, in all situations,” “has the skill and hands to make things happen when he has it” and brings a “physical edge” that can separate players from the puck.
Peters adds that Lafreniere “thinks the game at a high level,” has “elite anticipation and an understanding of what to do with the puck immediately after he gets it.” (ESPN)
The 2019 Future Considerations Draft Guide, in previewing 2020, wrote that Lafreniere “reacts and adapts to everything very quickly. He is very poised and patient with the puck which helps him make great decisions.”
- “His passing skills are simply exceptional”
- “He displays good instincts in his own zone” and “used in several high-leverage and shorthanded situations.”
- “He’s a well-rounded player and will backcheck hard in his own zone in support of his defensemen.”
- “A very fiery player, he seems to elevate his game in high-pressure situations. He wants to win and succeed at the highest level possible.”
Sam Costentino of Sportsnet said of Lafreniere, “he’s added layers to his game over the three years. He comes into the league and scores 42 goals, that was eye-popping, 80 points. He comes back the next year with 68 assists and 105 points. He has the adversity he faced at the World Juniors and being called out by Tim Hunter and being on a team that didn’t medal on home soil ever, so that was adversity he had to go through. He comes back, he has a great summer, now he adds some consistency, or there is more competitiveness and the physicality starts to come up. Now you have a playmaker, goal scorer, a guy that competes that is also playing the physical brand of hockey and you have a complete player.”
He added, ” there is a lot of people out there who haven’t watched him play that are saying ‘is he Connor McDavid, is he going to burn around the ice and be that dynamic guy?’ That is not what you are going to get but you are going to get a really well rounded player who makes those around him better and give you center-type qualities from the wing position. I’m really excited for what he is going to have to offer the Rangers this year.”
Costentino added he thinks Lafreniere could net 20 goals and between 50-60 points as a rookie.