Nashville Predators Prospect Profile: Hendrix Lapierre Might Slide Back

QUEBEC CITY, QC - OCTOBER 11: Hendrix Lapierre #92 of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens .(Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)
QUEBEC CITY, QC - OCTOBER 11: Hendrix Lapierre #92 of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens .(Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images) /

During this crazy NHL season, there are so many uncertain things. One thing is for sure, though. There will be the NHL Entry Draft in some form or fashion.

The Nashville Predators are loaded up with centers this season. The bad news is a few of them are staring at the back half of their careers. Nick Bonino, Kyle Turris, and Craig Smith come to mind.

The Predators need to look ahead and get some offensive-minded players into the system, and they need to address this now.

While we hate to see some of our favorite players leave, the Predators have to look to the future if they are to remain a stable team looking to win their first Stanley Cup.

We’re going to look at some top prospects that the Predators should be targetting for the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Based on current expectations, the Predators’ draft position should end up being between the 17th and 20th pick. This all depends on how the NHL decides to order playoff teams and finish the 2019-20 season.

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Hendrix Lapierre

The Stats

Hendrix Lapierre is an 18-year-old center from Quebec, Canada. This left-handed shooter has decent size and can move well with or without the puck.

Lapierre was the first overall pick in the 2018 QMJHL draft. He currently plays for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL league.

The Good

This kid can handle the puck. I’ve watched several highlight reels, all showcasing his puck-handling and passing skills.

As a center, Lapierre seems to be more focused on distributing the puck to his teammates than scoring himself. This is a great quality to have for a young player at age 18.

Some of the passes were extraordinary to watch, as there seemed to be no passing lane, but Lapierre would manage to find his teammate. He would be an excellent option to handle the puck through the neutral zone and to set up other players to score.

Even though scoring a ton of goals is not his forte, he can score. Playing in 48 games during the 2018-2019 season with the Sagueneens, Lapierre managed 13 goals, 32 assists, and 45 points.

The Bad

Like the AHL, the QMJHL canceled their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, Lapierre was only able to play in 19 games due to injury.

This injury will most likely slide him down draft boards despite being a very gifted and highly-skilled offensive prospect in this draft class.

As detailed in an article by Scott Wheeler of The Athletic, Lapierre suffered a concussion in his rookie year, a second minor concussion in his second year, and then a significant concussion in his second year as well.

Lapierre wanted a second opinion. A new examination discovered that two of his vertebrae weren’t aligned properly, causing concussion-like symptoms. The second and third concussions turned out to not be concussions at all.

After working with a chiropractor and intense training, Lapierre was to return to the Saguenéens for a few regular-season games and the postseason.

The pause and eventual canceling of the entire season sidelined that idea. Lapierre wound up missing the majority of the 2019-2020 season.

The Draft

Varying sports sites have Lapierre being drafted as high as 13th and as low as 27th. Had he not been injured and sidelined for so long, he’s a higher pick, possibly top-ten, based on his abilities.

Splitting the difference in the varying projections should put Lapierre in the Predators’ range, somewhere around that 20th pick.

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The Predators

If Lapierre can get stronger, stay healthy, and continue to progress, the Predators would do well to look at him as a viable draft option. He appears to be a pretty well-rounded player with a lot of promise.

Many feel that the window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup is closing for this current Predators roster. Aging and non-productive forwards will eventually have to be replaced with younger and faster talent like Lapierre.

Some of the Predators’ current prospects are looking to make an impact quickly. Lapierre has a high potential of developing quickly, assuming he can find better luck in the injury department.

It’s always sad to see some of your favorite players get traded or retire. This game is based on progression. If a team or player reaches a point and can progress no further, then other options have to be identified and implemented.

With smart, well-educated draft picks, an excellent AHL affiliate in the Milwaukee Admirals, and intelligent free agency moves, the Predators can continue to grow and eventually bring that Stanley Cup to Nashville.

Keep your draft radar on Lapierre falling to the Predators after the midway point of the first round. If so, the Predators should strongly entertain the idea of adding another highly-skilled and well-rounded center to their prospect pool.