Alexis Lafreniere, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, was named the winner of the Michel Briere Trophy as most valuable player of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Thursday.
It’s the second straight season Lafreniere, a forward with Rimouski, won the award.
Lafreniere led the QMJHL with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games. He is the third repeat winner of the award, joining Rimouski center Sidney Crosby (2003-04, 2004-05) and Shawinigan goalie Mathieu Chouinard (1998-99, 1999-00).
“Obviously Alexis is quite the player when you look at every aspect of his game,” J-F Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting said. “I think what separates him from the pack is his compete level. He’s willing to play physical, he battles every game, and anytime the game is on the line you want him on the ice. He makes big plays and he responds under pressure.”
Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, announced Lafreniere as the winner in a video.
Lafreniere met Crosby during a ceremony in Rimouski to retire Crosby’s jersey Sept. 27.
“He just told us to enjoy the moment,” Lafreniere said in April. “He told us his junior career in Rimouski was unbelievable, just to enjoy it because it was the best time of his life. To see how humble he is and a really good guy, it was really fun to be a part of his retirement for sure.”
Lafreniere also won the Mike Bossy Trophy as the best professional prospect in the QMJHL, and the Paul Dumont Trophy as the league’s personality of the year.
The 18-year-old left wing was named most valuable player at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship after he scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games to help Canada win the tournament. Lafreniere is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2020 draft and could be the third QMJHL player to be chosen No. 1 in eight years, following Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (2013, Halifax) and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (2017, Halifax).
The 2020 draft was scheduled for June 26-27 at Bell Centre in Montreal but was postponed March 25, as was the NHL Scouting Combine (June 1-6, Buffalo) and the NHL Awards (June 18, Las Vegas).
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