The New York Rangers have selected Rimouski Oceanic left-winger Alexis Lafreniére with the first overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, putting an end to months of waiting for the obvious. Lafreniére was the consensus top player in the draft, with NHL.com ranking him as the top North American skater. Lafreniére is 6’1 and 194 pounds.
In 52 games for Rimouski Oceanic, Lafreniére compiled 35 goals and 77 assists for 112 points. While the 2019-20, OHL Playoffs were canceled as a result of COVID-19, he played well in the 2018-19 playoffs scoring, 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 13 games played. Back on February 16th, he scored 7 points versus the Quebec Remparts.
After being selected Lafreniére said, “I’m excited to be a member of the Rangers.” In a social media video, Rangers head coach David Quinn when looking at a picture of Laf and his family in New York Rangers gear, said, “He looks good, he looks good.”
Expect Alexis Lafreniére to be in the top 6 next year, either being on the first line, as the left winger beside center Mika Zibanejad and winger Artemi Panarin or on the second line with Ryan Strome and last year’s second overall pick Kappo Kakko. Laf won every award possible over recent years, from CHL Player of the Year to U20 Junior Championship MVP.
Laf has elite scoring potential in the NHL, having impressive scoring numbers his entire career leading up to draft night. He played in all situations for Rimouski, with 5 power play goals last season.
During his career Laf has worn number 11, which he will be unable to wear with the Blueshirts, due to it being retired back in 2006 for former captain Mark Messier. EA Sports NHL tweeted out that Lafreniére is an 82 overall on NHL 21. He is expected to be the highest rated rookie in the latest edition of the game.
Laf says that he models his game after Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane, who has won 3 Stanley Cups with the Hawks and put up a career 1,022 points in 973 games.
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The New York Rangers traded up from the 22nd overall selection to the 19th overall selection in order to select defenseman Braden Schneider from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Schneider is 6’2 and 203 pounds.
NHL Network describes Schneider as a tough defenseman who doesn’t take any slack, in the model of former New York Rangers defenseman Jeff Beukeboom. Schneider has described his style as saying, “I take pride in my own end and I like to transition quick and jump into the rush if I can.”
Schneider says that he models his game after Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber. In the NHL.com rankings Schneider came in as the 9th ranked player in the country. He is a two-way defenseman with an emphasis on defense however, compiling 42 points in 60 games, with a +9 and 42 penalty minutes. Schneider also scored the winner in the CHL’s Top Prospect Game.
Schneider has good skating ability and good hockey IQ, while remaining physical. He is really good at fighting in the corners, while not getting out of position in order to make a big hit. He has a long stick as a result of his height which he cleanly uses to clear pucks from in front of the net.
Schneider will probably play the 2020-21 season with the Hartford Wolfpack on their top defensive pairing. I project him to be a Roman Josi or Brent Seabrook type defenseman, physical with a decent offensive game but never a triple digit scorer.