Washington Capitals sign Hendrix Lapierre

The Washington Capitals have signed their 2020 draft pick Hendrix Lapierre.

On Tuesday morning the Washington Capitals announced that they signed their draft pick Hendrix Lapierre to a three year entry level contract. Lapierre’s contract will carry an average annual value (AAV) of $925,000.

He’s already playing hockey as we speak. The 18 year old leads the Chicoutimi Sagueneens with eight points in four games this season with three goals and five assists in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Lapierre is a native of Gatineau, Quebec and he also spent the 2019-20 season with Chicoutimi. That season he recorded 17 points with two goals and 15 assists in 19 games. Listed at six foot and 179 pounds, Lapierre registered 11 points with three goals and eight assists in five games at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Lapierre led all skaters in the tournament in points and helped Team Canada win a silver medal.

In the season prior to that in 2018-19, Lapierre won the Michel Bergeron as the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the year after he recorded 45 points with 13 goals and 32 assists in 48 games with Chicoutimi.

Lapierre landed with the Caps when the team traded up for him in the draft. They moved up from the 24th pick to the 22nd and only gave up their 24th and 80th pick in a deal with the Calgary Flames. Lapierre is the 17th center the Caps have selected in the first round in franchise history and the first from the QMJHL since Stanislav Galiev and Samuel Carrier in 2010.

Lapierre is already having momentum this season and if he stays healthy could be an impact player down the road. He is the second straight forward the Caps have selected in the draft since taking Connor McMichael in last year’s draft.

So why did the Caps trade up for a player that had injury woes the season prior? They believed in his potential enough and that the high risk was high reward. The reasoning Lapierre was limited to 19 games was due to concussion like symptoms from a lingering spinal injury.

Speaking with Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic (subscription required), Brian MacLellan said that the team’s medical staff evaluated him.

“I know he’s had a rough year with injuries. We’ve had our doctors (and) our trainer check him out as we went through the whole draft process. There probably is a little risk there. But I thought at our pick, where we were at, the upside just made up for it. He’s a skilled player (with the) potential to be a top-six centerman. He has real good character, a real good personality. There are a lot of positives about the player. We’re excited we were able to get him and I guess it is just the upside with the risk just makes sense for us.”

Signing Lapierre was a good first step in the organization’s belief in him. Now it’s up to the kid who grew up with an Ovechkin poster in his bedroom to prove himself.