One of the big names at Capitals Rookie Camp is 2020 first-round pick Hendrix Lapierre.
Lapierre is coming off quite an eventful season as he attended Capitals Training Camp for the first time, the Canadian World Junior Team Camp, and 30 combined regular season and playoff games for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL.
Lapierre was traded this summer by a retooling Chicoutimi to the Acadie–Bathurst Titans. But before he returns to New Brunswick, he has his sights set first on trying to prove he’s more than just a junior player.
The 2020-21 season saw Lapierre record 31 points in 21 regular-season games and another 12 points in nine playoff games. Most importantly, it was a fully healthy season for a player who dropped a bit in his draft year due to injury concerns to his head and neck. Now, Lapierre believes he’s had a “big summer” and has something to prove.
“I think I had a really good summer in terms of training, nutrition, sleep, stuff like that so I definitely feel really good right now,” Lapierre told reporters on Sunday after Day Two of Capitals Rookie Camp. “Lots of confidence, too, I think. I think that’s a good thing, the mental side of things and right now I feel confident in my abilities and in my general play.”
Lapierre went into a little more detail on what he feels like he did this summer to make it a great one.
“Before I was always big on nutrition and sleep, but I really think I took the next step this summer and I really, really feel the benefits of it,” Lapierre said. “Same thing with the mobility side of things. You know normally maybe start the season and things are really tight, but right now I just feel good on the ice. I feel like I can move better, whether it’s with my speed, my acceleration. I watched a lot of videos too just of my games last year, trying to see maybe patterns that I could improve so I think it was a big summer.”
The young center was a part of the Canadian World Junior Camp last year but was part of an early round of cuts in December before the tournament began.
“I wasn’t really satisfied with my camp last year,” Lapierre remarked. “There was a couple things that I had to improve, especially little details. Everyone there has talent, you can’t really stick out from anyone because of that. You really have to do the small details correctly and there were a couple things where I wasn’t really satisfied and I had a lot of time to think about it after lots of quarantine, lots of videos, and stuff like that.”
Lapierre is eligible to make the 2022 Canadian World Junior team and that’s certainly one of his goals. An even bigger one is to prove that he can play at the professional level.
“I’m ready to play,” Lapierre said. “I had a big summer and I’m confident. I told them that and I really want to prove that I’m not only a junior player right now, that I can play at the next level. I know it’s gonna be tough, it’s the National Hockey League, there are lots of really, really good guys but I have nothing to lose so I just want to go for it and be the best player I can be and we’ll see what happens.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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