The Washington Capitals traded up in the NHL Draft.
The Washington Capitals traded their 24th and 80th picks to the Calgary Flames to select Hendrix Lapierre. There was clearly something they liked in the center. He recorded nearly a point per game in the 2019-20 season with two goals and 15 assists in 19 games with Chicoutimi in the QMJHL.
Lapierre won the Michael Bergeron Trophy as the QMJHL offensive rookie of the year in the 2018-19 season after he recorded 45 points in 48 games with 13 goals and 32 assists. A fun fact about Lapierre is that he does offseason training with Kris Letang, Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Drouin in the MTL Pro League, a weekly 3 on 3 league that takes place during the summer.
Lapierre was limited to 19 games this past season due to a neck injury but when healthy is a very effective player. It is a high risk but higher reward pick and another home run by the Caps after taking Connor McMichael last year.
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Red Line Report’s projection of Lapierre said, “If he can stay healthy, a strong first line centre.” They compared his style of play to Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Per Mike Vogel of WashingtonCaps.com, the Caps haven’t drafted many players from the QMJHL. The last time they selected from that league was when they took left winger Stanislav Galiev in the third round at 86th and defenseman Samuel Carrier in the sixth round at 176th. The last time the Caps took a QMJHL player higher than Lapierre was in 1988 when the team drafted Reggie Savage at 15th.
On his TV interview, Lapierre said he was excited and looking forward to the future. He was wearing his new Capitals hat and jersey proudly with a smile on his face, probably stunned that a team traded up just for him.
His pucks skills, and the ability to wield them with the same effectiveness at speed as he does at a standstill, make him a dazzling puck-carrier. Lapierre can effortlessly weave his way through an entire team on a moment’s notice, and he did that seemingly once a game during his tear at the Hlinka.
This was a good selection by the Caps as they took another forward with the hopes of strengthening their prospect pool. They traded up and lost a third rounder but still have three more picks left. They won’t pick again until the fourth round at 117th barring anything crazy happens.