Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, has already improved (or rather confirmed) his draft stock at the ongoing World Junior Championship, but he may not have the opportunity to continue shining at the tournament. Lafreniere suffered a leg injury during Team Canada’s match-up with Russia on Saturday. He fell awkwardly while crashing the net and had to be helped off the ice (video). He did not return to the game and may not return to action at the WJC altogether. Lafreniere has already been ruled out for Canada’s next game against Germany, but TSN’s Frank Seravalli says that beyond that his status is up in the air. Seravalli reports that Lafreniere’s MRI results came back negative for any fracture or torn ligaments, which is good news long-term, but doesn’t necessarily mean that Lafreniere will be ready to go in time to suit up for Canada again at the WJC.
- The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs received a major boost yesterday by finally landing a commitment from forward Martin Chromiak. Chromiak, a 2020 NHL Draft prospect, was selected by Kingston with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. The Slovakian winger has been playing in his native country’s top pro league this season, recording five goals and six points in 32 games with HK Dukla Trencin thus far, after putting up 46 points in 39 games in the U-20 league last year. The Frontenacs stated that while the process took longer than they had hoped, they are excited to have the skilled Chromiak as part of their team moving forward. Kingston has the second-worst record in the OHL this year and can use all the help they can get.
- Two players that won’t be making the jump to North America are Alexei Emelin and Sergei Shirokov. The NHL veterans have each signed new two-year contract extensions with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. Emelin, the more well-known of the two, played in six seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and one with the Nashville Predators before signing with Omsk in 2018. Avangard’s captain and top defenseman, Emelin has been injured for much of this season but is still a top two-way defender in the KHL when healthy, even at 33. Shirokov, who played two seasons in the Vancouver Canucks system from 2009 to 2011, has otherwise been a career KHLer, despite perennial rumors that he could jump back to the NHL. Now in his second stint with Omsk, Shirokov’s offense has actually improved over the past few years since entering his thirties and is back at it this year with 19 points through 25 games.