Pierre McGuire is a lover of the game, but in particular has an affinity for prospects. The former coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and assistant general manager of the Hartford Whalers had some glowing things to say about Alexis Lafreniere.
Alexis Lafreniere is a special player
On a recent episode of NY’s WFAN Joe and Evan show, Pierre was asked if Alexis Lafreniere, who is projected to be selected by the Rangers first overall is the real deal.
“He’s legit. He’s a big time power forward. He’s mature beyond his years,” McGuire said of Lafreniere. “He’s a special player and I’ve been watching him for a long time.”
Pierre then told the radio hosts that he texted New York Rangers coach, David Quinn. “I said you just became a better coach. And David’s a heck of a coach. This player is spectacular,” he recounted.
Of course, Pierre’s comments brought a little consternation among the Rangers fanbase. Unsolicited he said, “Is he a Connor McDavid? No. A Nathan MacKinnon? No. He’s not the kind of player who can take over games as a winger. But he’s a spectacular player and is going to be a huge part of the Rangers moving forward.”
The color analyst ended his comments on Lafreniere by iterating what a special player he is.
Alexis Lafreniere is giving Rangers fans a lot of reasons to get hyped
Here’s a partial scouting report from my good friend Steve Kournianos.
A gifted and versatile scoring winger with outstanding hockey sense and the ability to elevate his game when the situation calls for it, Lafreniere possesses many traits that scream elite and potential NHL superstar. From his deadly wrist shot to his superior playmaking and vision, the St. Eustache native checks every block imaginable when it comes to possessing the puck. What makes Lafreniere unique, however, is his insanely high compete level, tenacity on the puck, physicality, and selflessness. Play him on a line with equally heralded or accomplished prospects, and he’ll make it a point to tap into their strengths rather than make himself the center of attention.
Lafreniere is an excellent skater in all directions, but his powerful stride allows him to separate from opponents in open ice. It’s rare to see a winger nearing 200 pounds of any age to be able to turn on the jets immediately following a physical battle, but Lafreniere’s foot speed, long stride, and expert anticipation places him in open ice with a numbers advantage multiple times a period, let alone an entire game. Playing in a junior league has something to do with that, but there no reason to believe his escapability in close contact won’t translate to success within the trenches of NHL warfare, where time and space are earned the hard way. Lafreniere can tailor his game to fit any style of play, and his ability to play physical causes significant matchup problems for smaller opponents.
For the full Scouting Report check out The Draft Analyst