Robinson: How Alexis Lafrenière Stacks Up To Previous 1st Overall Picks
Tonight is the night. We finally discover who will land the fortunate and envious position of selecting first overall when the 2020 class finally has its moment in the spotlight. And despite my personal board looking a tad different at the top, the presumptive result will hear Alexis Lafreniere’s name called by one of the eight play-in round losers.
Reminder, here are the teams vying for the selection:
Lafreniere Lottery: EDM, FLA, MIN, NASH, NYR, PIT, TOR, WIN
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 10, 2020
So, how exactly does the 18-year-old Quebec-native stack up compared to previous first-overall kids? First off, let’s take a quick rundown of Lafreniere’s personal award shelf. I’ll warn you now, it’s jampacked.
Alexis Lafreniere is at it again. He has another 5 points (1+4) today (his fifth 4+ point game this season).
Here’s the tally pic.twitter.com/nl7opxZCkL
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) October 20, 2019
- CHL Player of the Year (x2) – Only he and Sidney Crosby have earned this honour.
- QMJHL MVP (x2)
- CHL Rookie of the Year
- WJC Tournament MVP
This is a player who has been the most dominant junior-aged U19 talent we’ve seen in quite some time. He didn’t put up a 72-goal season like John Tavares or hit the gaudy point totals of a Patrick Kane, but he was explosive in every regard against the teenaged competition.
He will be a very worthy top choice.
For this exercise, I’ve decided to go back a whopping 15 years to the 2005 draft. Also known as the Crosby lottery. I decided to go back till then because that was the last time we had a ridiculous lottery setup that ended up with Pittsburgh hitting the jackpot. Perhaps we even have a similar outcome tonight…
This is also based on the perception of the player at the time they were drafted. It is not a reflection of the player they became in the NHL
- Sidney Crosby – A full lockout amplified the hype. Pre-Youtube vids added to the mystery. Immediately worth every penny of admission and saved the Penguins’ franchise.
2. Connor McDavid – Broke the internet with his jaw-dropping plays four-plus years before seeing the draft floor. A true hypeman
3. Auston Matthews – Heading to TO magnified the excitement. He lived up the hype in his first game.
4. John Tavares – 72 goals as a 16-year-old? Nuts.
5. Patrick Kane – USNDTP to the London Knights to leading CHL with 145 points.
6. Steven Stamkos – 69 goals in 70 OHL games as a draft-eligible. Not bad.
7. Alexis Lafrenière – Two-time CHL Player of the Year. Elite WJC performance locked it in.
8. Taylor Hall – Great in the regular season, but incredible in the CHL post-season ahead of the draft.
9. Nathan MacKinnon – Was super young for the crop yet dominated nonetheless. Monster Mem Cup solidified it.
10. Rasmus Dahlin – Projected to be a near-generational talent on the backend.
11. Jack Hughes – First kid to step from the USNTDP to the NHL.
12. Nail Yakupov – Lived off of the D-1 hype a little more than he should’ve
13. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Slight and slippery playmaker was the best of a medium bunch in 2011.
14. Nico Hischier – An undecided top of the board in ’17, but a tantalizing centre prospect.
15. Aaron Ekblad – Pegged as a plug and play top-four with first defender upside.
16. Eric Johnson – Was big and could skate. An undecided board heading into ‘06 draft.
How we rank these 15 players for their careers will take some more time and assessment, but at the time of their selection, Lafrenière is sandwiched between some elite talents. My guess is he lives up to those lofty bunkmates.
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