The Washington Capitals sign their first-round pick from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, a Los Angeles Kings prospect returns from loan in Germany due to an injury, NHL Central Scouting released their watch list for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, and two top prospects from the WHL are loaned out prior to the start of the 2020-21 season.
Capitals Sign Hendrix Lapierre
The Capitals announced on Tuesday that they’ve agreed to a standard three-year, entry-level contract for Hendrix Lapierre. Drafted 22nd overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Lapierre spent an injury-burdened season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. He only managed 17 games due to injury last season, amassing two goals and 15 assists. The Gatineau native led Canada to a silver medal at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, finishing second in team scoring with 11 points in 5 games played.
THW’s Brandon Share-Cohen had this to say about Lapierre’s potential impact on the Capitals organization:
If fully healthy, Lapierre will be a force for the Capitals in the future if he can translate his game to the next level. There will always be inherent risk involved in the draft process when players are taken at 18 years old, but Lapierre feels like one of the safer picks from a talent-standpoint, even if he’s the riskiest pick early for the aforementioned health issues. For a player like Lapierre, the goal is to eventually put those lingering concerns to rest and show the world that he can compete at a high level.
Lapierre has already begun the 2020-21 season with Chicoutimi. Through four games played he has three goals and five assists. The Capitals will hope that he can get through the season relatively healthy and prove the doubters wrong. If he can, the organization may have selected the steal of the draft as many believe he has the skills of a top-five pick.
Madden Undergoes Surgery on Finger
Unfortunately, it looks like Tyler Madden’s loan to Germany will be cut short. He was one of five Kings players to be loaned to Eisbären Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) along with Alex Turcotte, Akil Thomas, Aidan Dudas and Jacob Ingham. Madden injured his finger on his first shift of his first exhibition game for Eisbären and the Kings have announced that he has undergone successful surgery on a broken finger.
Turcotte has also decided to leave Berlin and continue his training in LA, while Kings general manager Rob Blake stated that that the DEL’s undetermined preseason schedule played a factor in his return.
Madden was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in the trade for Tyler Toffoli. Drafted 68th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Madden spent the 2019-20 season in the NCAA with Northeastern University where he put up 19 goals and 18 assists in 27 games played. He led his team in goals and points last season. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2020-21 season.
NHL Central Scouting Release 2020-21 Preliminary Players to Watch
With the 2020 NHL Entry Draft firmly behind us, the focus has now shifted to 2021. Yesterday, NHL Central Scouting released their annual Preliminary Player to Watch List for this season. Players were given a letter grade based on their perceived round of selection; an ‘A’ rating indicated a potential first-round candidate, a ‘B’ indicated a second or third-round candidate, while a ‘C’ rating indicated a fourth, fifth or sixth-round candidate. Injured players who haven’t had enough viewings were tagged with ‘LV’ for Limited Viewing.
In total, 31 players were given an ‘A’ rating, 60 players were given a ‘B’ rating, and the remaining 250 players were given a ‘C’ rating. It’ll be interesting to see how drastically these ratings change now that several leagues in Europe are already underway and the United States and Canada is close behind.
Lambos & Guenther Loaned Out
Speaking of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, two top prospects from the Western Hockey League (WHL) have found a new home until the 2020-21 season begins on its proposed start date of Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Winnipeg Ice defenseman Carson Lambos, who has given an ‘A’ rating by NHL Central Scouting, has been loaned to JYP U20 of the U20 SM-sarja in Finland.
Lambos is a 6-foot-1, 201-pound mobile defenseman who impressed in his rookie season in the WHL where he put up eight goals and 24 assists in 57 games. He has a real shot at challenging for first overall in the 2021 NHL Draft and the extra playing time will be great for his development. There is no confirmation yet, but he is expected to return to Winnipeg for the 2020-21 WHL season.
Another one of the WHL’s ‘A’-rated skaters, Dylan Guenther, has been loaned to the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League until Dec. 20. Guenther is a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings and he’s another player who could challenge for first overall in 2021.
The Edmonton, Alberta native was the recipient of the Jim Piggott Trophy for WHL Rookie of the Year during the 2019-20 season. Guenther amassed 26 goals and 33 assists in 58 games played. Despite being a rookie, he finished third in team scoring and first in goals.