Alexis Lafreniere, forward for the QMHL’s Rimouski Océanic, was named to Team Canada’s 2019 World Junior roster on Wednesday. The 17-year old Lafreniere will be the the ninth-youngest player to ever suit up for Canada at the World Juniors, and the first 17-year-old to play for Canada since Connor McDavid – a full year before he is draft eligible.
Lafreniere is in impressive company, as the only players to make the national junior team at a younger age were: Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros, McDavid, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Kariya and Mike Ricci.
Like McDavid, Lafreniere came to the World Juniors with impressive credentials. “Laffy’s been with us the whole time for a reason,” Hockey Canada team director Shawn Bullock said. “The story is going to be Alexis Lafreniere,” said CSS scout Mark Seidel. “[He’s going to] be a big, big part of that team. This kid is a special player.”
Last season, while playing for the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he scored 42 goals — the most by a rookie since Sidney Crosby scored 54 in 2003-04. This year, he already has 17 goals and is tied for third in league scoring with 54 points in 31 games.
Pre-competition action kicks off Wednesday, December 19, as Team Canada takes on Team Switzerland at 8pm ET. The tournament will officially commence on Boxing Day, as Canada will take on Denmark in their first competition play.