The New York Rangers win the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes
Simply days after getting bounced from the bubble by Carolina, the Blueshirts get some wonderful luck within the lottery. Now New York can add a robust, high-end expertise to an ever-growing cadre of elite kids and established vets.Alexis Lafreniere|Vincent Ethier/CHLRangers followers, get able to fall in love.
New York gained Section 2 of the draft lottery, giving the Rangers the precise to pick left winger Alexis Lafreniere from the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. For a group that’s already approaching sturdy in a rebuild initiated by GM Jeff Gorton and senior advisor Glen Sather, New York now will get a potent weapon on the wing so as to add to an already-impressive crew.
Lafreniere is a robust and aggressive expertise who gained MVP honors with Canada on the 2020 world juniors, regardless of lacking time in the course of the match as a result of harm. Whereas taking part in for the Oceanic, he has been a buzzsaw for the previous two seasons, profitable CHL participant of the 12 months each instances – and CHL rookie of the 12 months earlier than that.
The important thing to Lafreniere’s recreation is his drive. It is a child who likes to open video games by throwing an enormous hit and setting the tempo for his group. He’s going to win you battles, he’s going to encourage his teammates and he’s undoubtedly going to place up factors because of his talent degree. However what strengths does the child himself assume he brings to the desk?
“I’d say my imaginative and prescient offensively, the way in which I can create probabilities for me and my teammates,” Lafreniere stated. “My management is large and all my offensive skills – taking part in with the puck is after I’m at my finest.”
Since Lafreniere was born in October, he missed the Sept. 15 eligibility cut-off for the 2019 draft, that means he’ll already be 19 years previous when the 2020-21 NHL season begins. That further time in junior solely cemented his high-octane recreation, as evidenced by the 112 factors he put up in simply 52 video games with Rimouski.
And sure, I totally count on him to make his presence felt in New York prior to later. Whereas different highly-touted prospect wingers similar to Vitaly Kravtsov and Kaapo Kakko had up-and-down rookie seasons in North America, it’s solely honest to keep in mind that each of them needed to get used to the tradition and hockey model over right here after spending their complete lives in Europe. Lafreniere has no barrier there; he performs as North American a recreation as you possibly can probably get.
What is going to actually be attention-grabbing is whether or not Lafreniere makes yet another pitstop in Rimouski earlier than he takes Manhattan. Due to the pandemic, the 2020-21 NHL season gained’t begin till December, however the QMJHL is aiming for an Oct. 1 kickoff. Lafreniere says he’s open to the concept of returning to the Oceanic for a interval earlier than NHL coaching camps open subsequent season, however he has to mull the concept over together with his brokers and his household first.
And whereas groups which can be often within the operating for the primary choose general have a tendency to wish facilities greater than wingers, this after all was no standard 12 months. The Rangers had been a good group already and have a high middle now in Mika Zibanejad, who’s signed by means of the summer time of 2022. Successful the lottery merely provides one other nice weapon in a company flush with gamers like Kakko, Kravtsov, Adam Fox, Ok’Andre Miller and Igor Shesterkin.
“You’re attempting to assemble as a lot expertise as you possibly can,” Gorton stated. “Among the finest gamers within the league, it’s not an enormous secret the place groups are getting them – it’s the lottery picks, the gamers on the excessive finish of the draft. We don’t wish to get forward of ourselves, but it surely’s a very good evening for the Rangers.”
When it comes to the long run, New York additionally just lately signed draft choose Morgan Barron, who had been taking part in at Cornell. Barron is an enormous, proficient pivot himself and whereas I’m doing lots of forecasting right here, I may undoubtedly image a nasty line involving Barron, Lafreniere and maybe Kakko sooner or later – however I’ll go away that as much as coach David Quinn.
Whereas Lafreniere stated he has by no means been to New York, his favourite NHL participant this 12 months was Rangers star (and fellow left winger) Artemi Panarin. And Lafreniere is aware of how passionate Rangers followers are, an apparent draw for him.
“The town actually loves hockey,” he stated. “And as a participant, that’s what you need.”
Was this complete lottery course of a bit convoluted? Positive. However a lot of the hockey world was holding its breath that Toronto, Edmonton or Pittsburgh wouldn’t win the primary choose general, so New York is fairly agreeable – until you cheer for the Islanders or Devils, after all. Lafreniere goes to a group on the rise that can provide him alternatives with out having to depend on him as he begins his NHL expertise. It’s a win-win scenario and a few good information for a child who has been questioning extra-long which group would win the precise to draft him.
“It was a fairly lengthy course of and I’ve been ready for this present day for a pair weeks now,” Lafreniere stated. “For positive it’s a aid understanding who’s choosing first and we’ll see what occurs subsequent.”
Tags: prospects, draft, big apple rangersConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect skilled at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.