Hendrix Lapierre Reflects On Conclusion Of Junior Career As Sights Turn To Next Level

After starting his 2021-22 season at the mountain top, playing in six games for the Washington Capitals and recording his first NHL goal, Hendrix Lapierre returned to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for his fourth and final season.

His final season in “The Q” was a mixed bag for the 20-year-old. He finished the regular season with 51 points in 40 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, but also suffered another lower body injury late in the season.

As a result, Lapierre played in just six games in the final two months of the QMJHL regular season. However, he did return to play in the playoffs, even though he hadn’t fully recovered from the injury.

“That can’t be used as an excuse. With a bit of rest, I’m pretty much recovered now,” Lapierre told LeDroit. ‘It’s an injury that I dragged along for a long time, but in the heat of the moment and in the adrenaline of the playoffs, I didn’t feel it. It was more after the matches that I felt it”

The injury didn’t seem to affect him. Lapierre was the Titan’s top scorer during the playoffs with 11 points in eight games. He would have liked to extended his junior hockey career by a few more games, but the Charlottetown Islanders were too tough in the second round.

Before leaving the ice for the last time after a career of 149 games in the QMJHL, Lapierre took time to reflect.

“I took a long time to get off of the ice. I wouldn’t change the last four years for the world. I’ve been through ups and downs. I would even say that the highs were very high and the lows were very low. I have met so many people in four years. I’ve had my share of good times. I had so much fun even though there were sequences where I didn’t always live up to my expectations. I am strict with myself. I am always asking myself questions to make things better.”

A Taste Of The Top

Lapierre’s 2021-22 campaign began with a solid prospect development camp and main training camp with the Capitals, and was ultimately awarded a spot on the Capitals opening night roster. He would also score his first career NHL goal.

Lapierre returned to Acadie-Bathurst to have a fairly decent second half of the season, but missed a lot of games late in the season due two different lower body injuries. Lapierre finished the season with 21 goals and 30 assists in 40 games played and a 1.28 points per game percentage, good for 21st overall in the QMJHL, and 4th on the Titan roster. He recorded 150 shots for a 14.0% shooting percentage.

Lapierre played in a total of 54 games this season, still on the low side, but much better than the 2020-21 season (30 games) and 2019-20 season (24 games). He still needs games.

Third Time’s A Charm?

Among the trying times in the QMJHL were a few long-term injuries during his first two seasons with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. He was also cut from Team Canada’s Junior team twice. However, Lapierre would give it a third try if he was called by Team Canada for the rescheduled tournament in August.

“Anytime you can represent your country, it’s special. If I receive the invitation, for sure I would like to go.”

As for the season ahead?

“My goals don’t change. I’m going to want to start the next NHL season with the Caps. Otherwise, I’ll hone my skills at Hershey in the American League. I can’t wait to get back to the life of a professional hockey player.”

By Jon Sorensen

Hendrix Lapierre: 2022 Annual Review And Forecast
Hendrix Lapierre Scores Three Goals, Assist In First Two Games Back With Acadie-Bathurst

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

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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17 Responses to Hendrix Lapierre Reflects On Conclusion Of Junior Career As Sights Turn To Next Level

  1. Anonymous says:

    He needs a full, healthy season in Hershey and he will be ready for the Capitals next season. The physicality is a big jump up, so staying healthy will be goal one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please stay healthy!

  3. DWGie26 says:

    I really love this kids attitude and work ethic. A full year in the AHL getting stronger and playing against men will be great for him! Just like with McMichael and Protas, we need to be patient. I could see him getting a callup to NHL, but I don’t expect him to play more than a handful of games.

  4. Lance says:

    I’m glad we have Lapierre. He loves hockey. His passing is exceptional. His skating is ++ too, I think. A natural hockey player. He just needs to get stronger and learn the NHL game.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There are a lot of question marks on the roster, especially the second line center, and Lapierre obviously deserves a fair shot. I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      No room. With the signing of Dylan Storm, the Capitals have 5 centers on the roster right now, one will likely have to go. Besides Lapierre needs a year in Hershey.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one “needs” a year in Hershey. If he is ready and has earned a spot, as evidenced by training camp and the preseason, then it would be dumb to bury him in the minors.

        Eller should be traded anyway, and neither Strome and McM have won the second line center spot either. Be patient.

        • Anonymous says:

          “Needs” means he’s not ready. He hasn’t played much over last three seasons due to injuries and needs to develop, build some size. A year in Hershey is necessary.

        • Anonymous says:

          OK. He’s not ready…not even close.

          • Anonymous says:

            Got it. Glad I could talk to the Capitals head scout today. Thanks.

            • DWGie26 says:

              he’ll get a chance to compete in camp and I think he and Protas are the next two prospects in line. But given the goal (winning a cup) and having a lot of options at center he is definitely outside looking in. It would have to be really over the top impressive to unseat one of the five in front of him (and maybe even 6 with Protas). When we move Eller and injuries happen Lapierre will get a cup of coffee. But in terms of projecting him in the Caps lineup regularly… next year (IMHO). But I appreciate your enthusiasm.

              • Anonymous says:

                I don’t care if you appreciate my non-enthusiasm. Evaluations are made based on game play against NHLers, period.

                • DWGie26 says:

                  I was actually being serious. You seem to have a lot of enthusiasm for Lapierre. I appreciate that. I do as well. I just think he is a year away is all (size, durability, games, games, games). We have a lot of centers in the program right now and I think Lapierre is most likely to be a top 6 center.

  6. novafyre says:

    COVID and league agreements did him no favors. Juniors schedules have been in shambles. It is a real shame that he could not have been in Hershey last year.

    I feel that the NHL, AHL, ECHL, and juniors need to rework their agreements. If a league doesn’t play, their players would be available to other leagues without penalty for the duration of the outage if less than half a season or the entire season if longer.

    I would also like to see each NHL team get one junior/AHL exception every three years — a get out of jail card. They could play this card on a junior so that he could play in the AHL Each exception card could be used or traded. Other AHL/NHL rules would apply to that player. This would give truly exceptional juniors a chance to be exceptional. A lot of coaches (and possibly GMs) wouldn’t want to play it. I have read some coaches’ comments saying go slow. Fine. The cards could expire or be used in a trade to a team that would want to fasttrack a junior.

    From CNN: “A 13-year-old girl has been accepted to a medical school program only a year after graduating high school.” Med school didn’t count her age against her. She is exceptional and is rewarded. Aren’t there some juniors who should be given the AHL chance? I think LaPierre should have been.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      70+ days in quarantine in 2020-21 season. Each time he crossed the border was 7 days each way (Capitals camps, etc.) That’s a ridiculous amount of hotel time.

      And your right, The Q shutdown for long stretches over last two seasons. In hindsight it might have been better to move him, out of Canada.

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