Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Alex Laferriere.
Chatham, New Jersey native Alex Laferriere had a big season with the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL, getting the attention of hockey prospect watchers. He scored 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 42 games before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Laferriere also played six games for Team USA at the 2019 World Junior A Hockey Championships in December, winning a silver medal.
In 2018-19, Laferriere played 12 games for Des Moines but did not record a point. He spent most of the season playing high school hockey on the prep school circuit, representing Kent School. He scored 19 goals and 34 assists for 53 points in just 27 games. Laferriere was named to the US High School – Prep All Founders League Team. Laferriere is committed to attending Harvard University, playing for the Crimson in 2021-22. It is expected that he will spend one more season with Des Moines before joining Harvard. He should be one of the best players in the USHL next year. In 2017-2018, Laferriere led his North Jersey Avalanche team to the AYHL National Under-16 Championship. His father, Rob Laferriere, played for Princeton and Harvard in the 1990s.
Alex Laferriere Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born October 28th, 2001 — Chatham, New Jersey
Height 6’0″ — Weight 173 lbs [183 cm/78 kg]
Laferriere’s skating is a work in progress but continues to improve. This improvement is one of the biggest reasons why he struggled in the USHL in 2018-19 but found his game this year. His top-end speed has gone from below average to good, and his first step and acceleration are also greatly improved. Laferriere has also improved his lateral agility and edgework. He can change directions in tight areas and makes tight turns. This allows him to get away from defenders both with and without the puck. Laferriere could add some more muscle to his frame, especially in his lower body. This will improve his balance and make him stronger on the puck. He does well in fighting in the corners and in front of the net against USHL competition but will need to improve before facing college competition and eventually professionals.
Laferriere is a natural goal scorer and a pure sniper. His wrist shot and snapshot are outstanding. The puck explodes off his stick with tremendous power. His shot is also accurate and he gets it off with a quick release. Laferriere’s shot is already NHL-calibre. He can create his own shot with soft hands paired with his skating ability. He also reads the play well, finding soft spots in the opposing defence and being set up to take a pass from a teammate. Laferriere also has a big slap shot and a very good one-timer. He can set up in the left circle in the offensive zone, getting that shot off from the “Ovechkin Spot”.
Laferriere is able to combine his skating and stickhandling to carry the puck through the neutral zone and establish possession in the offensive zone with a successful zone entry. While more known for his goal-scoring than for his playmaking, Laferriere can get some assists. He’s not the most creative player but can move the puck effectively in the cycle game, finding the smart pass and then keeping his feet moving to get to open ice for a return pass. He protects the puck well and works hard down low. Laferriere is also willing to fight for loose pucks and puts pressure on the defence with his forechecking.
Laferriere brings his strong work ethic to the defensive zone as well. He is willing to fight for the puck in the cycle game and contain his man. Lack of strength could be an issue at the next level but he has time to add strength. Laferriere reads the play well and puts himself into passing and shooting lanes. His active stick can intercept the puck and he transitions quickly to offence. He is often part of the Des Moines penalty kill units. Laferriere also provides good backpressure, taking proper angles to force attackers into bad spots against the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Laferriere’s shot and his intelligence give him the potential to develop into a top-six winger at the NHL level. He will need to continue working on his skating as well as his passing skills going forward. Laferriere also needs to add muscle to his frame while continuing to improve his quickness and agility. His game is reminiscent of Mike Hoffman but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Alex Laferriere that are available on youtube and twitter.
Team Gomez ties it thanks to a fortuitous bounce. Alex Gaffney finds Alex Laferriere out front.
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) January 21, 2020
Alex Laferriere looking for his second goal of the opening period.
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) January 21, 2020
Alex Laferriere (2020) scores his ninth goal of the season. Rebound goal. He reacts quickly to the rebound and fires the puck back at the net. #USHL | #2020NHLDraft | @FCHockey | @DobberProspects pic.twitter.com/xTQHy1jEdJ
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) November 24, 2019
Alex Laferriere is constantly hungry for the puck. Quality forechecks. Laferriere manages to cause havoc and steal the puck in front of the Canada West net. #WJAC | #2020NHLDraft | @DobberProspects | @FCHockey pic.twitter.com/n42K9enOuz
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) December 8, 2019
— USHL (@USHL) October 5, 2019
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Alex Laferriere Main Photo:
Alex Laferriere Joins the Show!
— Jack LeGwin (@jacklegwin) March 26, 2020