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Lafreniere leads roster for CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Projected No. 1 pick in 2020 Draft one of 40 that will play in best-on-best competition

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Alexis Lafreniere, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, was among 40 players invited to play in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The game will be held at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario on Jan. 16, 2020.

Players for the game were selected by NHL teams in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

"All 31 NHL clubs have a say in the player selection process and take great interest in this best-on-best showcase," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "The Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is a great opportunity for scouts and general managers to evaluate talent and we look forward to seeing which players will make their mark in Hamilton."

Lafreniere (6-foot-1, 194 pounds), an 18-year-old left wing with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, leads the QMJHL with 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists) in 32 games. He is with Canada for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2020 at Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

"When I watch him and his confidence within the game, he commands the puck," Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen said. "He wants to be the guy. He wants to be there in the big moments. That's exciting. He's a mature young guy. He's used to it. He's grown up playing in the critical situations and we're looking forward to having him help lead our group going into the tournament."

He'll play on Team White, which will be coached by George Burnett, coach of Guelph of the OHL, will coach Team White, with Trevor Letwoski, coach of Windsor of the OHL, an associate coach.

Team Red will feature forward Quinton Byfield of Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League. He could be the No. 2 pick of the 2020 Draft, and like Lafreniere is playing with Canada at the World Junior Championship.

The 17-year-old center (6-4, 215) has 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists) in 30 games, and Marr compared Byfield's skill and maturity to Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews.

"He's got all the qualities, he's got a good head on his shoulders, he's grounded," Marr said. "He earns his ice time like everybody else. … He definitely is one of those players, he's worth the price of admission."

Rob Wilson, coach of Peterborough of the OHL, will coach Team Red, with Vince Laise, coach of Hamilton of the OHL, an associate coach.

Lafreniere and Byfield are two of 18 players with A ratings from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list invited to the game, a list that also includes forward Dawson Mercer of Drummondville of the QMJHL; and defenseman Jamie Drysdale of Erie of the OHL.

2020 CHL/NHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME ROSTER

TEAM RED

GOALTENDERS: Nicolas Daws, Guelph, OHL; Brock Gould, Victoria, WHL

DEFENSEMEN: ^Justin Barron, Halifax, QMJHL; *Jamie Drysdale, Erie, OHL; Lukas Cormier, Charlottetown, QMJHL; Thimo Nickl, Drummondville, QMJHL; *Jeremie Poirier, Saint John, QMJHL; Kasper Puutio, Swift Current, WHL; Donovan Sebrango, Kitchener, OHL

FORWARDS: *Quinton Byfield, Sudbury, OHL; Luke Evangelista, London, OHL; Jack Finley, Spokane, WHL; *Jean-Luc Foudy, Windsor, OHL; ^Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi, QMJHL; *Dawson Mercer, Drummondville, QMJHL; Jake Neighbours, Edmonton, WHL; *Jacob Perreault, Sarnia, OHL; *Jack Quinn, Ottawa, OHL; *Marco Rossi, Ottawa, OHL; *Antonio Stranges, London, OHL; *Justin Sourdif, Vancouver, WHL; *Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert, WHL

TEAM WHITE

GOALTENDERS: Dylan Garand, Kamloops, WHL; Samuel Hlavaj, Sherbrooke, QMJHL

DEFENSEMEN: *Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert, WHL; ^Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw, WHL; Luke Prokop, Calgary, WHL; Ryan O'Rourke, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL; *Braden Schneider, Brandon, WHL; Christoffer Sedoff, Red Deer, WHL; Jack Thompson, Sudbury, OHL

FORWARDS: Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan, QMJHL; Brandon Coe, North Bay, OHL; *William Cuylle, Windsor, OHL; Tyson Foerster, Barrie, OHL; Ryan Francis, Cape Breton, QMJHL; Ridly Greig, Brandon, WHL; *Seth Jarvis, Portland, WHL; *Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski, QMJHL; *Cole Perfetti, Saginaw, OHL; Vasiliy Ponomarev, Shawinigan, QMJHL; Jaromir Pytlik, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL; ^Oliver Suni, Oshawa, OHL; *Connor Zary, Kamloops, WHL

*- NHL Central Scouting A-rated players

^- injured and unable to compete

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