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Lafreniere out for Canada at World Junior Championship with knee injury

Projected No. 1 pick in 2020 NHL Draft questionable for rest of tournament

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Alexis Lafreniere, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, wasn't in the lineup for Canada against Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostravar, Czech Republic, on Monday and is questionable for the rest of the tournament after injuring his left knee against Russia.

Canada assistant coach Andre Tourigny said Sunday that an MRI revealed no fracture or torn ligament, but that there's no timetable for Lafreniere's return.

"He's walking, we're going to see the developments," Tourigny said. "Everyone understands that there's a lot at stake in his case and that there are going to be a lot of people involved. They told us that the news was positive. It remains to be seen what that means."

Emilie Castonguay, Lafreniere's agent, said Lafreniere would play only if there was no chance of aggravating the injury.

"There is a difference between walking and jumping on the ice for a World Junior Championship game," she said Monday. "We will assess the risks because it is obviously a big year for the rest of his career. Of course he is disappointed not to be able to play, but you also have to think long term and what is best for the rest of his career. Alexis dreams of playing in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup. "

Lafreniere, who leads Canada with four points (one goal, three assists), had to be helped off the ice during a 6-0 loss to Russia in a Group B preliminary-round game Saturday. He skated into the Russia zone and attempted a shot on goal but fell awkwardly after colliding with goalie Amir Miftakhov at 1:36 of the second period.

Lafreniere has 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists) and 29 power-play points (two goals, 27 assists) in 32 games in his third season with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He had one goal in five games at the 2019 World Junior Championship. staff writer Guilliaume Lepage contributed to this report

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