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New York Rangers’ Lafreniere Can Earn Lengthy-Time period Extension – The Hockey Writers –

Alexis Lafreniere’s spectacular play was one of many vibrant spots for the New York Rangers throughout each the 2023-24 common season and postseason. The 22-year-old winger is coming into the second yr of a two-year, $4.65 million contract and he can earn a long-term extension if he can put collectively one other robust season.

Lafreniere’s Play in 2023-24

In 2022-23, Lafreniere spent many of the season on the Rangers’ third line and their rarely-used second power-play unit. Regardless of ending with 16 targets and a then-career-high 39 factors, he confronted heavy criticism and his identify was talked about in commerce rumors. He was held with no level in seven playoff video games because the staff’s season got here to a disappointing finish within the first spherical.

In head coach Peter Laviolette’s first season with the Rangers in 2023-24, he gave Lafreniere a chance to play within the high six on a line with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck. He acquired off to a powerful begin with seven targets and 4 assists in his first 14 video games.

Associated: Rangers Want Lafreniere-Sort Breakouts From Chytil & Kakko Subsequent Season

Although Lafreniere did undergo a scoring drought after his sizzling begin, he continued to play properly and generate scoring probabilities. He used his talent to assist the Rangers on entries to the offensive zone and helped convey out one of the best in Panarin and Trocheck as they each completed with career-highs in factors. Panarin completed with 120 and Trocheck completed with 77.

Lafreniere seemed extra snug each with and with out the puck because the season went on and ultimately, he broke out of his scoring hunch. He completed the common season with 28 targets and 29 assists together with 26 targets and 25 assists at even energy. He as soon as once more performed on the Rangers’ second energy play unit and he didn’t get a variety of ice time on the person benefit.

Within the playoffs, Lafreniere took his play to a different stage and was one of many Rangers’ greatest gamers. He was robust on the puck, didn’t shrink back from the physicality of the postseason, and confirmed off nice fingers, scoring a couple of essential targets on dekes. He ended the postseason with eight targets and 6 assists. All of his targets and three of his assists got here at even energy.

Expectations for Lafreniere This Season

Lafreniere shall be an important participant for the Rangers in 2024-25, after his breakout efficiency final season. He’ll possible stay on the identical line as Panarin and Trocheck since all three are already signed for this season.

Alexis Lafreniere had a breakout 2023-24 season with the New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In 2023-24, Lafreniere did a variety of issues properly and he must proceed to play with the identical vitality and energy this season. By the top of the season, his talent was on full show and he seemed snug and assured. Nevertheless, there was a stretch of 31 video games within the common season when he scored simply three targets. If he can keep away from an prolonged scoring hunch like that one, he may put up even greater numbers this season.

Not like most high draft picks, Lafreniere has not gotten an opportunity on the primary energy play unit. Whereas the Rangers have a superb high unit, the younger winger may power his means into the primary unit together with his robust play.

For Lafreniere and the Rangers Transferring Ahead

Lafreniere showcased the talent which made him the highest choose in the 2020 NHL Draft and the hope for the Rangers is that he’ll proceed to develop and enhance. He performed his greatest hockey within the postseason and is definitely deserving of a job as a top-six ahead.

The Rangers may look to increase Lafreniere earlier than he turns into a restricted free agent after this season. Nonetheless, they’re in a troublesome place as star goalie Igor Shesterkin is about to change into an unrestricted free agent after the season. He’s making simply over $5.66 million and is due for a giant elevate.

Along with Shesterkin, Okay’Andre Miller, Kaapo Kakko, and Zac Jones are set to change into restricted free brokers subsequent offseason whereas Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider are each restricted free brokers this offseason. Their offers will play a job in how a lot cash the staff can spend on an extension for Lafreniere.

One factor that did change into clear final season is Lafreniere has developed into a really precious participant and at simply 22 years outdated he nonetheless has room to enhance. One other spectacular season may earn the winger a long-term extension with the Rangers.

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Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown specializes in soccer, covering MLS, NWSL, and international competitions. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Sports Media. Olivia has written for and ESPN FC, providing thorough coverage and in-depth analysis of the sport.


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