Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Hendrix Lapierre.
The first overall pick in the 2018 QMJHL Draft, Hendrix Lapierre had a strong rookie season and was named QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year, as well as to the league’s All-Rookie Team. He scored 13 goals and 32 assists for 45 points in 48 games for Chicoutimi. Lapierre also added three goals and five points in four playoff games. He followed that up with a huge summer tournament performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Lapierre had three goals and eight assists for 11 points in five games. He helped Team Canada to a silver medal.
He has had some injury issues this year but has still put up two goals and 15 assists for 17 points in 19 games. Injuries are the biggest questions around Lapierre. He suffered a concussion in February of 2019, missing time in his rookie season. This year, he apparently suffered another concussion in October, came back and was injured again in November. This was first diagnosed as a concussion, but Lapierre later learned it was a vertebrae injury. It is even possible that Lapierre’s October injury was also a vertebra injury and he has only been hit with one concussion.
Hendrix Lapierre Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born February 9th, 2002 — Gatineau, Quebec
Height 6’0″ — Weight 181 lbs [183 cm/82 kg]
Lapierre is an excellent skater. He has outstanding top-end speed and very good acceleration. His ability to make quick cuts and changes in direction helps him to avoid defenders and create space. If he gets a step on a defender, he can drop his shoulder and cut to the front of the net. Lapierre could stand to improve his lower-body strength though. This will help him to fight through checks. It will also give him better balance and allow him to be stronger in battles along the boards and in front of the net.
Lapierre is very difficult to defend as he can handle the puck while moving at close to his top speed. Defenders need to respect his speed off the rush and will back off when he is carrying the puck. This opens up shooting and passing lanes that Lapierre can take advantage of. He has very good hockey IQ and sees the ice extremely well.
Lapierre is a creative playmaker who creates scoring chances for his linemates. He can pass the puck through tight openings and hits teammates on the tape. Lapierre’s ability to speed up the play or to slow it down allows him to control the pace of the game. He sets up on the half boards on the power play and acts as a quarterback. He also protects the puck well down low, extending plays in the cycle game. This gives Lapierre’s teammates the opportunity to get open, and he can hit them with a quick pass.
Lapierre could stand to increase his strength in order to battle along the boards as well as add some power to his shot. His wrist shot and snapshot are accurate but can lack power. His release is good and with his quick hands, he can quickly toe-drag the puck to change the angle on his shot. He is also able to get off his backhand and slap shot. Lapierre could add muscle to his upper-body and this could really help him improve this aspect of his game.
Lapierre also plays a solid defensive game. He uses his high-end hockey IQ in all three zones. He anticipates plays well and can use good positioning and an active stick to cut down passing lanes and create turnovers. Lapierre also provides effective backpressure, getting into good positions to support the defence against the rush. Once a turnover is created, he is able to quickly transition the puck up the ice and can create offence. Lapierre could stand to become a bit stronger and play a more physical game though.
Projection and Comparison
Lapierre is a boom or bust prospect. He is immensely talented, and it is easy to envision a path where he becomes a top-six NHL centre. He will need to stay healthy though. Including his last year of midget hockey, he has had major injuries in each of his last three years of hockey. Lapierre needs to stay on the ice and continue his development in order to reach that potential. He has the tools to be a real steal if he falls to the late first-round or early second round. Lapierre’s game is reminiscent of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Hendrix Lapierre that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Hendrix Lapierre Main Photo:
QUEBEC CITY, QC – OCTOBER 11: Hendrix Lapierre #92 of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens skates prior to his QMJHL hockey game at the Videotron Center on October 11, 2019 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)