Team Canada is expected to get their explosive forward Alexis Lafreniere back for Thursday’s quarter-final game against Slovakia at the World Junior Championship, according to Frank Seravalli of TSN. Lafreniere was back on the ice today at practice after suffering a leg injury earlier in the tournament.
Not only is this good news for the Canadians but for draft season as well. Lafreniere is the expected first overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft and should step right into the league as a teenager. The 18-year old winger is the reigning CHL Player of the Year and could win it again after scoring 70 points in 32 games this season for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.
It’s hard to find a more well-rounded forward prospect than Lafreniere, who is an elite playmaker and goal scorer while also being big enough to engage physically. Though his money will come for the performance on the offensive side of the game, he is strong enough through the neutral zone to help his team quickly turn over the puck and send it back the other way.
We won’t know where Lafreniere is headed until the draft lottery in a few months, but the Detroit Red Wings look like they’ll have the best shot. The Eastern Conference club is sitting firmly in last place, 11 points behind the New Jersey Devils even after their win last night.