Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, is writing a diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the draft at Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound left wing, who plays for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, ranks second in the Canadian Hockey League with 84 points (24 goals, 60 assists) in 39 games. He had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games for first-place Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship and was named the tournament's most valuable player.
I'm really happy to talk to you again now that we are already entering the final stretch of the QMJHL regular season. Things are happening quickly this season and the past few months have been busy and emotional.
The gold medal Team Canada won at the World Junior Championship will always hold a special place for me. I watched this tournament every year when I was growing up and I always dreamed of being there and winning it one day. The feeling I had after the final game when I had the Canadian flag draped over me and the gold medal around my neck was obviously very special.
[RELATED: Full 2020 NHL Draft coverage]
It was such a beautiful moment to share with all the guys and our families in the hours after our victory. The bonds we forged over the course of a month will last forever; we became brothers. We are already looking forward to getting together this summer to remember the tournament and receive our championship rings.
I was able to see goalie Nico Daws, defenseman Jamie Drysdale, and forwards Dawson Mercer and Quinton Byfield again a week later at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Hamilton (Ontario). We all were given a few days off after we returned from the world juniors in the Czech Republic and we each played a few games with our respective teams before getting together again at the top prospects game.
It was an honor to be named captain of my team while Byfield was captain of his own (at Top Prospects). Many people saw the game as a showdown between the two of us, but there was so much talent on the ice. It was not just about the two of us.
I got to know Quinton during the WJC and we built a good relationship with each other. There is really no competition between us for the draft, especially in the context of the tournament. We had the same goal and that was winning the gold medal. We worked together to make it happen. I really like being around him and I got to see how good he is as a player.
That game and all of the media attention surrounding it reminded me that the NHL Draft is fast approaching. I was asked a lot about the possibility of being the No. 1 pick and my status as the favorite to be chosen first. In my opinion, that remains to be determined and nothing is confirmed until draft day. I have to continue working.
I try to stay far away from everything that is said and written on social media about the draft. There was obviously a lot of talk surrounding the WJC and about my performance over there, but I'm not the type to look to find what is said about me. I try to only concentrate on my season and help the Oceanic to win and go all the way.
But I can tell you that it would mean a lot to me to be the first pick at the next draft in Montreal, in front of my friends and family. Growing up we all dream about being drafted into the NHL and when you get close to it, of course you want to aim as high as possible. There are so many good players around the world and I still have a lot of work to get there.
It starts with the last stretch of the season with the Oceanic and then the playoffs. We made some good acquisitions at the trade deadline and we recently got our goalie, Colten Ellis, back in the lineup and my linemate, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, who were both injured.
They are essential players for our success, and they will each have a big role to play in our quest. I really look forward to seeing what we will be able to accomplish.
Good end of season to all and talk to you next time!
Listen: New episode of NHL Draft Class