We continue our annual Capitals prospect review and forecast series with Hendrix LaPierre, center for Acadie-Bathurst in the Quebec Men’s Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page here.)
Lapierre, a 6’-0”, 180 lb center from Gatineau, Quebec, was drafted by the Capitals in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract on October 27, 2020, for an average annual value of $925,000.
After playing in the Quebec Midget AAA League during the 2017-18 season, Lapierre was the first pick overall in the 2018 QMJHL draft. Lapierre, now 19, has played with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens QMJHL for the last three seasons. On June 23 LaPierre was traded from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens to Acadia-Bathurst in the QMJHL.
In his first season with the Saguenéens, 2018-19, he recorded 13 goals, 32 assists for 45 points in 48 games. His production was enough to lead all first-year QMJHL players in points per game and won the Michel Bergeron Trophy for the league’s offensive rookie of the year.
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).
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 of the season, but then had an awkward collision in a game on October 23 against the Rimouski Océanic.
After the 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, and was sensitive to light and sound. He had trouble focusing on school work and feared his season was over.
He began skating again in January but still felt something was still 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, Dr. Dyrek did notice two vertebrae that were out of place. It appeared the overarching issue was a cervical issue rather than a concussion. Dr. Dyrek figured 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 when the remainder of the season was cancelled due to COVID.
Lapiere had a challenging 2020-21 campaign, which included more than 60 days of quarantine time. He did manage to participate in Team Canada’s training camp prior to the World Juniors in December and participated in the Capitals’ training camp in January (each requiring a week of quarantine before participating).
He scored eight goals and 23 assists in 21 regular season games in the QMJHL. He was fourth on his team in goals and first on his team is assists. He ranked 89th in the QMJHL in goals this season and 21st in the league in assists.
Lapierre began to heat up in the postseason, adding five goals and seven assists in nine postseason games.
2020-2021 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Hendrix LaPierre during the 2020-2021 season. (You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu).
Lapierre was selected by the Capitals with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Lapierre played with the QJMHL’s Chicoutimi Saguenéens last season, recording two goals, 17 points, and was a plus-4 rating in 19 games last season.
Lapierre was off to a flying start this season with three goals and two assists through two games before he was drafted by the Capitals on October 6. Hendrix was held off the scoresheet on October 10.
He registered three assists (two primary) and was the third star of the game against the Shawinigan Cataracts on October 11.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced October 15 that teams from the East and West divisions will postpone their games until October 28, due to the pandemic. With half of the teams in the “red zone”, it has become virtually impossible to operate under such circumstances. However, QMJHL student-athletes will continue to practice in their facilities and continue their academic career.
Chicoutimi’s last game prior to November was on Oct. 11, against the Shawinigan Cataractes.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) announced on November 8th that it would move forward with its plans to bubble players from Nov.17 to 27 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City.
On Monday, November 16 Lapierre reported to Team Canada’s U20 selection camp in Red Deer, Alberta. This was the first selection camp for Lapierre. The camp will last for the 28 days prior to the 2021 World Junior Championship to be held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Lapierre played in two intra-squad scrimmages, centering the 4th line for Team Red.
However, Hockey Canada announced on November 25 that all players, coaches and staff participating in Team Canada’s U20 selection camp would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine as required by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services.
On November 24 it was announced that two of the 46 players participating in this years selection camp for the 2021 World Juniors Championship tested positive for COVID-19. As per government orders, any person coming in close contact with someone testing positive must quarantine for 14 days. Hockey Canada confirmed Wednesday night that they would adhere to the local order.
Assuming all players, coaches and staff began their quarantine on Tuesday, the camp would be able to re-start camp activities on December 7. That would leave about a week of additional training before the team is to depart for Edmonton in advance of the 2021 World Junior Championship.
The month was essentially lost for Lapierre due to COVID-19. He has an outside shot at making the Canadian juniors team.
Hockey Canada announced on November 25 that all players, coaches, and staff participating in Team Canada’s U20 selection camp currently being held in Red Deer, Alberta would undergo a 14-day quarantine, as required by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services.
Team Canada received official clearance from Alberta Health today to resume the U20 selection camp activities in advance of the 2021 World Junior Championship on Tuesday, December 8.
Hendrix Lapierre moved from fourth-line Center on Team Red to second-line Left Wing on Team White, behind fellow Capitals first-round pick Connor McMichael, for the third intrateam scrimmage held on December 9.
Hockey Canada announced its first round of cuts from the Team Canada U20 selection camp on Thursday. Unfortunately for the Capitals’ 2020 first-round pick, Lapierre was one of the first seven cut.
Seven players have been released from Team Canada’s selection camp.
Goaltenders: Brett Brochu and Tristan Lennox
Forwards: Adam Beckman, Tyson Foerster, Hendrix Lapierre, Cole Schwindt and Shane Wright
— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) December 10, 2020
Lapierre was a relative long shot to make this year’s team, but the experience was good for the 18-year-old, and he should be a strong candidate for next year’s team.
Lapierre was invited to Capitals training camp, which started on January 3 and was subsequently loaned (back) to Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on January 11.
LaPierre was interviewed by the Quebec Journal following Capitals training camp. “It was an incredible experience and very beneficial for me. Just to see how the players behave and to play at this level, it was very positive,” he told the Quebec Journal on the Monday he was released from Washington, just a few hours before his flight home.
In his first interview following the draft, Lapierre told Capitals media that he had grown up idolizing Alex Ovechkin and even had a giant poster of him in his room. Over the last seven days of his time at training camp, Lapierre played in two scrimmages with his idol.
“I played on the same team as him in both intrasquad games. I introduced myself, we shook hands and talked to each other a little. It was a little weird because I’ve been watching him on television for 10 or 15 years. It was special to see him and shake his hand, but at the same time, I was there for a reason. I am part of the same organization.”
More of the interview here.
LaPierre would quarantine for another two weeks when he returned home. Lapierre told the Quebec Journal he will have quarantined for a total of 49 days since last November. More here.
LaPierre returned to the lineup on January 30, at left wing on the top line for Chicoutimi.
LaPierre recorded a goal and two assists in his first game back with Chicoutimi on January 30.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) January 30, 2021
Lapierre is currently playing games inside a bubble in Quebec for Chicoutimi of the QMJHL. The team plays four or five games in six or seven days, then has a week off for rest and practice. Unfortunately, the last team they played had COVID cases surface, resulting in yet another quarantine period for Lapierre, his 5th quarantine (63 days) since last November.
On the ice this season, Lapierre has four goals and 14 assists in 11 games. He says he just needs more games right now. He’s played in just 30 games over the last two seasons.
“It’s going ok, I think. I’ve had some good games, I’ve had some tougher ones. I think the main thing right now, for me, is just to start playing games on a regular basis. I’m kinda playing games and then stopping for a month, then playing two games and then stopping again. So I think for me, I only played 18 games last year, my draft year, for me it’s just about playing games right now. Get back in that rhythm of playing,” said Lapierre on the Showbound Podcast.
Lapierre is finally playing hockey again. The Capitals’s first round draft pick has played in just 39 games over the last two seasons.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) March 2, 2021
For the month of March, Lapierre recorded four goals and nine assists in nine games.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) March 8, 2021
For the season, Lapierre has 8 goals and 23 assists (31 points) in just 20 games played. He currently leads Chicoutimi with a 1.55 points per game average. He is first on the team in assists, second on the team in total points and fifth on the team in goals.
For the month of April, LaPierre played in three playoff games as his team, Chicoutimi Saguenéens, beat the Sherbrooke Phoenix three games to none in their best of five series in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
For the series, LaPierre scored two goals and three assists. He scored goals in the games on April 23 and April 24. In the game on April 26, he scored no goals but had three assists.
His team advanced to the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. His playoff totals are two goals and three assists in three games.
Lapierre played in just one regular season game during April and did not record any points.
His totals for the regular season were 8 goals and 23 assists in 21 games, a season that was shorter than normal thanks to the pandemic and related quarantines. He was second on his team in points and first on his team in assists for the regular season.
During the month of May, he had three goals and four assists as they played in the second and third rounds of the QMJHL playoffs.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) April 27, 2021
His team advanced past the Quebec Ramparts in the second round but were swept by the Val D’or Foreurs in the third round. With that sweep, Hendrix Lapierre’s season is complete.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) May 17, 2021
For the regular season, Lapierre played in 21 games, scored eight goals and had 23 assists for 31 points.
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) May 21, 2021
Lapierre played the entire season at left wing on the top line for the Sagueneens.
Lapierre needs games, plain and simple. He’s played just 40 regular season games and nine postseason games in the last two years. He will be required to return to the CHL this season, but will need a full (healthy) season in order to be ready for the next step up to Hershey the following fall.
Lapierre has shown signs of having next level skills, but the lack of consistent games has been limiting. It’s really difficult to say what the Capitals have with Lapierre, but with another full (healthy) season, we should know a lot more about the first round draft pick.
By Jon Sorensen
Sagueneens: The Foreurs Win in Three
Hendrix Lapierre Needs Games: He’s Quarantined For Over 60 Days So Far This Season
Hendrix LaPierre On Meeting Idol Alex Ovechkin: “It Was Special To See Him And Shake His Hand”
Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre Do Battle In First Team Canada U20 Scrimmage
2020-2021 Prospect Reviews And Forecasts