Alexis Lafreniere isn't going anywhere.
The prospective 2020 first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft announced through his representation on Monday that he will return to the Rimouski Oceanic next season and not head to Europe.
"There have been discussions with certain clubs in Europe in the last few months," the statement from Momentum Hockey Agency read. "When dealing with a young player like Alexis, it's important to evaluate every option in order to make the best decision for his short and long-term career. After a great deal of consideration with the player and his family, the decision was unanimous to remain with the Rimouski Oceanic for the 2019-2020 season."
There was speculation that Lafreniere, a native of Saint-Eustache, QC, might follow in the footsteps of Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews and spend his final year ahead of the draft playing professionally in Europe. Matthews missed the 2015 NHL Draft cutoff by two days and spent his final year of eligibility with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National A League.
Through 47 games this season, the 17-year-old Lafreniere has 32 goals and 55 assists, sitting second in QMJHL scoring, three points behind Peter Abbandonoto of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Abbandonato has played in eight more games than Lafreniere.
The Oceanic sit third in Eastern Conference, having already clinched a playoff spot, and trail the first-place Baie-Comeau Drakkar by four points.