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If you don’t already know the name Alexis Lafrenière, you’ve officially been warned.
You’ll be hearing plenty about this young man — called a generational talent by some — for many years to come.
Projected to be the first-overall pick of the 2020 NHL draft, Lafrenière has been sensational in what will surely be his final season with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. Through his first 17 games, the 18-year-old has found the back of the net 12 times and collected 43 points.
During this hot start, he’s picked up two or more points on 12 occasions and been kept off of the scoresheet only twice.
To put those numbers into context, Sidney Crosby had 12 goals and 38 points in his first 17 contests of the 2004-05 QMJHL campaign, according to Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports.
Crosby would go on to finish that year, his last with the Oceanic, with 66 goals and 168 points in 62 regular season games. From there, he was selected first overall in the 2005 NHL draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the rest is history.
Being compared to Crosby is nothing new for Lafrenière. Ever since he went first overall to Rimouski in the 2017 QMJHL draft, the two have been linked and his development analyzed accordingly. For obvious reasons, that hasn’t always been a fair situation for Lafrenière to be in. However, he’s been doing special things of late after putting up 105 points in 61 games last year.
What’s truly been remarkable about his play is the way his linemates have benefited as well. Cédric Paré (21-22-43), Dmitry Zavgorodniy (13-23-36) and Lafrenière have already combined for 46 goals and 122 points. That makes them the three best point-producers in the QMJHL and all of Canadian junior hockey.
And while the contributions of Paré and Zavgorodniy can’t be ignored, the impact of Lafrenière on the two is apparent. Paré — a 20-year-old, sixth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2017 — scored a season-high 17 goals and 49 points last year. Zavgorodniy — a 19-year-old, seventh-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2018 — had 28 goals and 64 points in 2018-19.
With the three producing like they are (they’ve accounted for just under 59% of Rimouski’s 78 goals so far this season), it’ll be fun to see the heights Lafrenière reaches before taking on the world’s best in the NHL.
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