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Lafreniere sharpening attack, ready for Team Canada leadership role ​

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TSN reporter Mark Masters checks in with news and notes from the World Junior Summer Showcase. Team Canada practiced in two groups at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., on Monday.

Alexis Lafrenière has scored 79 goals in 121 QMJHL games over the last two seasons and may only be scratching the surface of his potential.

"My offensive game is much better," the 17-year-old Rimouski left winger said when asked where he's grown the most of late. "This summer I've worked on my neutral zone a lot, getting quicker in the neutral zone. And still trying to work without the puck, it’s not perfect and will never be, but I'm trying to get better every day."

Lafrenière is backing up his words with actions so far at Canada's World Junior summer camp where he's one of only three draft-eligible players on the roster.

"You see him out there today, I mean, he's working," observed Mark Hunter, part of Hockey Canada's management group. "We all have God-given skills and we all know he has that kind of skill, but it was really enjoyable for myself to watch his enjoyment of the game out there and working hard to get things done."

"Growing up I always loved the game," Lafrenière said, "and, still, I don’t know what I’d be doing without hockey. It’s my passion and my biggest love."​
Last year, Lafrenière became the ninth youngest player to ever suit up for Canada at the World Juniors, scoring once in five games while playing a depth role on a team that lost in the quarterfinals on Jan. 2 in Vancouver. Lafrenière played less than six minutes in the elimination game against Finland, but this year the St-Eustache, Que., native will be leading the attack.

Before projected first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere hears his name called by an NHL team at the 2020 draft, he has some unfinished business to attend to at the World Juniors. As Mark Masters reports, Lafreniere will be a key player on a Canadian team seeking redemption after a disappointing sixth place finish in Vancouver.

"He's a special player," said new Team Canada coach Dale Hunter, "and with his character the players all gravitate to him, they like him so we need him to be a great leader and that’s what he's been doing here on and off the ice, showing the kids the right way."

"Age is just a number,"........