Prospects

Scouting Alexis Lafreniere

The Rangers won the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery last night, meaning they will likely draft clear-cut #1 pick Alexis Lafreniere with their first overall selection. It will be the first time in the modern draft era that the Rangers will select first overall. The only other time they had the first pick was in 1965, before the draft turned into what it is today. Many scouting reports have Alexis Lafreniere pegged as an elite player and potential generational talent.

Lafreniere, a 6’1, 194 lb LW, is a projected generational talent. He’s the one of two players ever to win the CHL Player of the Year Award twice. The other was some kid named Sidney Crosby. Lafreniere put up 35-77-112 in just 52 QMJHL games last year, well over two points per game. Last season, his age-17 season, he put up 37-68-105 in 61 games. He was 17 years old.

Elite Scoring Winger

Lafreniere has all the tools to be an elite scoring winger. He will instantly be in the conversation for a top-six role with his lethal combination of elite skating, elite shooting, and elite vision. He’s not quite Connor McDavid when it comes to breakaway speed, but he’s up there and more then makes up for it with his other skills.

What scouts rave about is the lack of quit in his game. He plays the game the way it was meant to be played, playing the body and using his strength to protect the puck.

All of this combines to make a complete and deadly offensive players. The thing that strikes me in the highlights is how Lafreniere just seems to know where his teammates are without even looking. His moves have moves, and the opposition just has no idea how to defend him. He’s so good at looking off defenders.

All Situations Player

Lafreniere’s elite vision and playmaking abilities mean he can be used in all situations. He anticipates on offense, reading the open ice, and applies that same talent on defense. When you add in his elite first step and acceleration, he makes fast breaks the other way an almost regular occurrence.

Lafreniere never panics either, or at least rarely panics. He sees the game in a different way, which makes him a great transitional player as well. With the right anticipation and first step, he turns an errant pass into a chance the other way.

A Potential Generational Talent

The term “generational talent” gets thrown around a lot. Generational is a term recently reserved for players like Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and Henrik Lundqvist. These are players that transcend the game and can alter how the game itself is played.

Lafreniere has the potential to be in that conversation. Ovechkin created the Ovechkin spot on the powerplay. Lundqvist revolutionized how goalies approach the position. McDavid is unmatched across the board. Crosby, pre-injuries, was just like McDavid. Lafreniere, given the right situation, can create his own generational history.

That said, even if he doesn’t become one of those talents, his floor appears to be “just” elite. Think Patrick Kane, whom Lafreniere has said he models his game after. There’s so much potential here, as every scouting report of Alexis Lafreniere will say. The Rangers appear to have gotten themselves a can’t-miss elite prospect right out of the gate.

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  • So excited! Hope the Rangers brass does the right thing and pairs him with teammates who can get him the puck.

  • Still hard to believe, Bettman’s heart must have sunk when he saw that Ranger ball.

    I say stick Lafreniere on the 3rd line with Chytil and Kakko (or Kravtsov), there’s the future — he can dig, dish and score. People wanted depth for the 3rd and 4th line, well Lafreniere just gave it to us. 4th line becomes Lemieux-(Barron eventually)-Gauthier.

  • This will allow team management to build lines that could stick together for many years. I feel that it immediately puts Buchnevich on the trading block to help bring in a supreme center that can work with Panarin. Or help us get a defensman to replace Staal/Smith

    This will help push talent down to the 3rd and 4th lines, where we clearly showed we were lacking against the Canes. Just think of Barron, Kraftsov and Lafreniere on this team. Makes McKegg and DiGuiseppe non-starters. Will hopefully never see Smith as a forward again either.

    • Chytil actually needs Fast, let’s not act like this guy isn’t needed in the bottom 9. After Panarin and Fast, no other flank on this roster can get assists from deep within the dz. This team lacks two-way gamer’s, teams like Boston, Washington, Tampa and Philly are on the top because they have a bunch of Jesper Fast types all over their lineups.

      I bet Laffy will be playing up top with Zib by game 1.

  • I’m just happy that Zib and Panarin will hopefully now have better players to work with from here on out. I’m not happy to pair our 70+ pt top line center with none 30 goal scorer’s and none 60 pt players overall. Dudes like Laffy, Kakko and hopefully Kravs mixed Panarin make Buch expendable right now and dumping Kreider as a option in the near future(sorry little Pete). That PP1 will need room for Laffy and Kakko very soon, I’m sure Kakko can handle the low slot duties.

  • Lafreniere isn’t a generational talent, a notch below. He has all the tools and the toolbox, the only question is about if there’s any more upside. He had a man’s frame as a 16yr old, will be 19 by the time he’s drafted. Nobody’s the finished product at 19, but he’s pretty close.

    My player model has him as a regular all star, top 10 player in the league.

  • The only trade I would consider is any deal that gets the Rangers Byfield and either another top 10 pick in this draft or a very high end prospect.

      • Yeah he’s young, but for his H/W(NHL ready) he should’ve crushed the O when he was just really good.

        His problems are intertwined: he needs a longer stick and he needs to drop his hip and skate a little more upright.

        He plays with a short stick which bends him over, all of which neutralizes his balance, size and power.

        The biggest problem is the drafting team doesn’t get him until October, so their staff has a tight window to fix seriously problematic issues.

        • What the f&#* “drop his hip and skate a little more upright.” Never ever try to skate up right. I think your view of his anti skating form is overrated tbh. A bad skater will stick out like a sore thumb at this stage. His scouting reports would have filled with questionable skating ability.

          Never, ever ask a hockey player or figure skater to skate more “upright”. Hockey and skating in general puts enough strain on your back. Tall thick dude’s like Byfield have zero chance at this. Small guys like Gerbe or Zucc look like Quasimodo for a reason when they skate. Go watch Marner’s old vids of when he was a kid up until now, he would never ever look upright. The power comes through those hips the lower you are. Maybe it’s a skate problem that you see? Canadian parent’s would always claim this during tournament’s to my old man. The folks from more of Western Canada had something in common. They thought flat footed people needed to concentrate in picking out particular skates. Which might go into more of what changes that you want to see. Maybe Quinton is to flat footed? I believe you see something down there but the solution of standing more tall during his strides isn’t good advise.

          I use to use the Easton Synergy sticks with the grips as a squirt. As I got older I realized how important it was to get a blade without the foam. The extra lightness of the stick helped my balance which in return helped my strides. Funny because in a sport like Lacrosse, it’s all about the heavy shaft imo(I know that is not popular).

          Btw for the people who aren’t aware… This kid should be a better skater than Jack Eichel was when he first broke into the league. Not amazing standard set but in other words he should be good.

          • Stick to your double runners.

            Good skating form should look like a K, Byfield skates like he looks like an r, his head way out in front of his skates.

        • Byfield is raw, but some are projecting him to be better than Lafren.

          If you compare age to age, Byfield has a better primary pts per 60 minutes.

          I’m not saying that I would pick Byfield over Lafren, but if the Rangers could trade the pick to get Byfield AND another top 10 or high end prospect, then I would do that.

          In other words, Rangers pick Lafren, Kings somehow do not pick Byfield, then Rangers trade Lafren for Ottawa’s 3 and 5 picks. I would do that.

          • Hey pal

            That would be awful. The 3 and 5 pick will not match Lafreniere in terms of impact. He is a tremendous talent. Significantly better prospect than Hughes or Kakko were last year. In my view, he gets 60 points as a rookie.

          • LaF…is an IQ freak…while comparisons to Crosby are legit……LaF will be in the starting lineup for the Blueshirts…

    • I understand wanting a center since its what the team needs, but I can’t see passing up a potential generational talent like Lafreniere. I say keep the pick and take the best overall player in this draft.

      • Pre draft lottery comments of mine: We need to trade with whoever is in the top 3. We need Byfield at all cost, finally this team will have a 1-2 punch down the middle for years to come.

        Post draft lottery comments of mine: We getting Laffy so say goodbye to guy’s like Buch.

        I agree, I don’t see management passing up on Laf. They might just try and roll with Strome and ante up for that position once Hank, Staal and Smith are gone so they can go big on a trade.

        Maybe go out and try to get Getzlaf for his last days? He is a UFA after 2020. His goal scoring dried up but he can still make those Panarin type passes all on his backhand on a nightly basis. I thinl Kakko, Laf, and Kravs would develop nicely with that on 5v5 and PP2. It would be about taking advantage of Zib and Panarin while they are still 20 something years old, short term success of course.

        • I think the fans’ lack of knowledge on Byfield is tainting their views.

          Lafren is a smidge below “generational.” Great talent, obviously, but Byfield has really closed the gap, lately. And, Byfield is only 17, and has a lot of room to get even a lot better.

          • I am high on Byfield. I think he has raw ability and may put it all together one day. I question his hockey sense though. I am even higher on Tim Stutzle . Great talent and a better prospect than Byfield. Kid is magic with the puck. I think he could go 2nd. None of the players in this draft come close to LaFreniere in hockey sense, leadership, or playmaking ability. His skating improved significantly too. It’s not a detriment at all. He kind of skates like Cindy Crosby

          • Did you see him on Junior World Chempionship, there you can see his upside, bad skater, clumsy and slow in comprehensing the game. BUST BUST BUST

        • Again, Byfield is a bust, slow on skates, slow on brain, he takes by his size among the children, but don’t be fooled, he is arguably number 6-7 on this draft, Stutzle, Drysdale and Rossi are way better players

          • Sorry, but when you describe Byfield as slow on skates I had to comment. You are serious! Go watch more film on him before you make a comment like that again. Going 6-7 is another reach by you, he might slip to 3 & that’s only because the team picking #2 will make a mistake not picking him.

      • Lafren is not generational, he is just a step below, due to not the greatest of skating. Which keeps him from being “generational.”

        Again, if the Rangers could trade Lafren for Ottawa’s 3rd and 5th, getting Byfield and another top 5 pick, then I would do that.

        • With all due respect sir, not going to occur….Regardless whether he is not a great skater, the kid can still skate…..Crosby isn’t a great skater either….The Rangers trading the pick will not happen……The brass had already tipped there hat…….

          • What are you talking about Optimists? Crosby is a terrific skater and his acceleration is underrated asf. Have you missed the last 10+ years when he has the puck in the skill zone? His skating is so good that his edge work around the net should be recorded as “skating in the low slot for noobs 101”. Dang you must have missed a lot of great hockey of his.

          • I didn’t say that Lafren is not a great player, he is, but he’s not generational and I suggest that you and anyone else should look at Byfield more closely.

            While I do agree that the Rangers probably will not trade the pick, the difference between Lafren and Byfield is not as big as people think.

          • Totally agree with you. Lafreniere at this moment is better than Byfield. However; when you watch Byfield on film, his size, speed, awareness & he is only 17, can you imagine at age 22 how much bigger & better he’ll be. This kid will skate like Messier & be as big as Lindros & IMO better than Lafreniere and that’s saying a lot because I think Lafreniere is the real deal.

        • According to Pronman, Lafreniere scating is 55, Byfield is 50!!!!!! Laf is not good skater, but he compensate it by trmendous sandpaper, skill and smart, Byfield has only huge body, and rest is pretty average, Stutzle way way way better player!!!!!!!!

  • I can’t say it enough-kakko has to go to Hartford. I just don’t see in him what everybody else seems to. I think some people got snowed watching him play against little 18 y/o Finnish players. He doesn’t see what’s in front of him most of the time. On the rare instances he makes a good pass it almost seems like an accident. From what I’ve seen he’s just an average 4th liner-not a top 6 talent. I think he’s just another in a long line of wasted top picks.

  • This and every draft is about drafting talent. We will get some real talent this draft with Lafren. He alone will not make us go deeper in the playoffs. We still need to tweak this lineup more. The addition of kids without NHL experience is great for down the road, but not for the next 2 years. Use these kids and make some moves to bolster your centers and defense.

  • And again J.D. is asking for patience………..so do not expect any shortcuts…..We still have cap issues and several decisions to be made on several veteran players and contracts….

  • Don’t be fooled, Lafreniere no McD no Mathews no Eichel, period.

    But If we pick him we should be very happy, because he is complete and very effective player with the balls, the closest to him on this draft is Stutzle somewhere behind Drysdale, rest is very very questionable.

    Technicaly the one who offer let’s trade for 3 + 5 or Byfield + something very tasty, just add 2 + 2 and think they get in return 5 or even may be 6 🙂 it’s 4, it’s completely according to new ideology racist, but it’s 4 and it’s way less then Laf

    The only reason to split Laf on 2 is not put all of the eggs in one Panera

  • lmao…….relax friends……we will see the wiz kid soon enough…..I am still in disbelief that we are picking numero uno!!

    • Hey Pal

      Kid is da goods. He will be a star and the best forward to lace up his Rangers skates since Messier or Jagr

      • How you doing bro? Hope all are well….This is kid is unreal, though my biggest concern is the NYC vices…lol……But seriously, this is a great thing for us…..and hopefully Quinn leaved him alone because you cannot teach greatness…greatness will teach the coach…..aka….Blysma/Crosby….who had major issues with each other………

  • I know the Rangers will probably leave at LW, but watching him on film, the dude plays like a center. He is more dangerous IMO when he is carrying the puck, so I’m hoping that maybe the Rangers might consider making him a center.

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