The Washington Capitals were scheduled to pick 24th overall in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday night. However, just before the Calgary Flames were to pick at #22, the Capitals made a trade with the Flames, sending their 24th and 80th picks of the draft to the Flames in exchange for moving up two slots to pick #22.
With the 22nd pick overall, the Washington Capitals chose center Hendrix Lapierre, born in Gatineau, Quebec on February 9, 2002.
For the last two years, Lapierre has played with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
For the 2019-20 season, Lapierre was only able to play in 19 games, due to injuries, but recorded 17 points (2 goals and 15 assists).
Lapierre was the first pick overall in the 2018 QMJHL draft after playing in the Quebec Midget AAA League during the 2017-18 season.
In his first season with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, 2018-19, he scored 13 goals, recorded 32 assists for 45 points overall in 48 games. His production was enough to lead all first-year QMJHL players in points per game and the Michel Bergeron Trophy, as the league’s offensive rookie of the year.
But there was one problem during this rookie season. In February 2019, he suffered a concussion and was forced to miss nearly a month. He was able to return to the Saguenéens for the last seven games of the regular season and participate in the playoffs where he scored three goals and recorded two assists in four games.
During the summer, he represented Canada in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he scored three goals and recorded eight assists for 11 points in five games.
Expectations for him were high for the 2019-20 season. The Saguenéens assembled a star studded roster that was expected to contend for the Memorial Cup and Lapierre was expected to be their top center. He posted 13 points in his first 13 games, which was a slower than expected start. But then he had an awkward third period collision in the game on October 23 against the Rimouski Océanic.
After that game, he was diagnosed with his second concussion. The symptoms soon subsided and he was back in the lineup less than two weeks later. But then Lapierre took an open ice hit on November 21. This time, the apparent concussion symptoms did not go away. He had headaches. He was sensitive to light and sound. He had trouble focusing on school work. He feared his season was over.
He began skating again in January but still felt something was wrong. He still had headaches but it was mostly in the morning and they would go away in 10 minutes which was not typical of concussions. So the family sought other medical opinions, specifically Dr. Daniel Dyrek. In February, he had X-rays and MRI’s done.
While the imaging was relatively clear, Dyrek did notice two vertebrae were out of place. It appeared the issue was a cervical issue rather than a concussion. Dyrek figure the second and third injuries were the aggravation of an old spinal issue, rather than repeated concussions. Hence, Lapierre got to work to heal his spine and strengthen the nearby muscles. He was nearly ready to return in March, except the remainder of the season was cancelled due to Covid.
For the 2020-21 season, thus far, Lapierre has scored two goals and recorded three assists in two games. The QMJHL is one of the few junior hockey leagues that has played games thus far, thanks to Covid.
More to come…
Rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft will take place on Wednesday at 11:30 AM ET and can be seen on NHL Network. The Capitals remaining picks:
3rd round – 80th overall(Traded to Calgary)
- 4th round – 117th overall
- 5th round – 148th overall
- 6th round – 179th overall
By Diane Doyle