The Kings announced this morning that the organization has signed forward Alex Laferriere, a third-round selection by the club during the 2020 NHL Draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The hope is that Laferriere could become the latest player to develop in the collegiate ranks and eventually play for the Kings at the professional level. The Kings have several players on their NHL roster who developed in college before eventually turning pro. Defensemen Mikey Anderson and Matt Roy were draft picks, while Alex Iafallo, Blake Lizotte and Sean Walker were undrafted free agent signings. Add them to players like Pheonix Copley and Trevor Moore who were acquired externally and the Kings have a well-represented collegiate contingent at the NHL level, not to mention several prospects with the AHL club.
Laferriere will wear number 78 with the Kings.
Laferriere has been among the NCAA’s most productive offensive players over the last two seasons and officially decided to forego his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility as he began his professional career here with the AHL’s Ontario Reign this spring. Laferriere was tied for ninth in the nation in points-per-game this season (1.24) as he had 21 goals and 21 assists from 34 games played with Harvard University. Laferriere had previously signed an ATO of his own with Ontario and appeared in four games, recording his first career professional goal on Friday in Abbotsford. The 6-1 forward had multiple shots on goal in each game, finishing with one point (1-0-1), a +1 rating and 11 SOG’s over the four games.
When it comes to Laferriere’s contract, there are several factors at play here. First things first, while he was only a sophomore, he was three years removed from his draft year, meaning that he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after his junior season in the summer of 2024. Harvard did not play during the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season and Laferriere spent an extra season at the USHL level to stay on the ice. That pushed his NCAA eligibility back a year, but not the clock on his NHL rights. That placed additional urgency on the Kings to get a deal done here this spring, while they had the exclusive opportunity to give Laferriere the best offer available.
With that in mind, offering him the opportunity to start his contract in 2022-23, as opposed to 2023-24, was a bargaining chip that brings the player a full year closer to free agency, though of the restricted variety. It’s a player potentially betting on himself that he could potentially earn a larger contract at that time and he’ll be an RFA after the 2024-25 season. Since Laferriere is 21 at the time of signing, entry-level slide rules do not come into effect, so he would not need to play 10 games in order for his contract to begin. The year burns off regardless when he officially signed the contract, similar to what we saw with Lizotte a few years prior, when he played one game at the end of the 2018-19 season but had that entire year count on his contract. Whether Laferriere plays an NHL game or not doesn’t matter as it pertains to the logistics of the deal. Laferriere would be eligible to play with the Kings as soon as tomorrow’s home regular-season finale versus Vancouver. He is not eligible for the AHL postseason with Ontario, so he’ll be with the big club the rest of the way.
— X – Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) April 8, 2023
From the team’s official release –
The LA Kings have signed forward Alex Laferriere to a three-year entry-level contract through the 2024-25 season worth an average annual value (AAV) of $875,000.
Laferriere, 21, joins the Kings after appearing in four games with the Ontario Reign, where he registered one point (1-0=1) with a plus-1 rating. He made his professional hockey debut with the Reign on March 31 versus Coachella Valley and tallied his first professional goal April 7 against the Abbotsford Canucks.
Prior to signing his amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the Reign on March 29, the 6-1, 175-pound forward skated two seasons at Harvard University. As a sophomore this season, Laferriere registered 42 points (21-21=42) in 34 games with the Crimson this season, leading the team in goals (21), game-winning goals (5), power-play goals (7), and shots on goal (150), while ranking second in points and third in assists. Laferriere’s goals tied for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) lead, while his point total ranked fourth among the conference skaters, earning him Second Team All-ECAC honors. He added six points (5-1=6) in four ECAC tournament games and was named to the 2023 ECAC Hockey Men’s All-Tournament Team.
The Chatham, N.J. native appeared in 69 career NCAA games with Harvard, accumulating 73 points (35-38=73) and 32 penalty minutes (PIM) with a plus-26 rating. Laferriere earned ECAC Rookie of the Year honors during his freshman season with Harvard in 2021-22, recording 31 points (14-17=31) enroute to an ECAC tournament championship. Originally drafted by the Kings in the third round (83rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, Laferriere played in parts of three seasons with the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Des Moines Buccaneers prior to his collegiate career, tallying 95 points (45-50=95) in 103 games.
Additionally, defensemen Tobias Bjornfot and Jordan Spence have been assigned to AHL-Ontario. Bjornfot was loaned after warmups yesterday evening, Spence this morning. Both were up with the Kings on an emergency recall from the Reign.
No practice today, Insiders, so we’ll see the group back in action tomorrow morning. Laferriere will address the media following his first morning skate with the organization, so more to come on that front later in the week!