Musings

Thoughts on landing Alexis Lafreniere and its impact to the NY Rangers

It’s Lafreniere week here at BSB, and it was relatively unplanned. Despite having a 12.5% chance of landing Lafreniere at the draft lottery, I didn’t actually think it would happen. Lafreniere is the top pick in one of the best draft classes we’ve seen since 2003. Make no mistake, Alexis Lafreniere is going to have a major impact on the NY Rangers. He’s got the potential to be a legitimate game changer for the Rangers and around the league.

1. There is no way the Rangers trade the #1 overall pick. Let’s just nip that in the bud. It’s nice to talk about a theoretical scenario of trading down for the #3 and #5, or to the #2 to get Quinton Byfield and getting something else. It’s not going to happen. The Rangers will add their third top-line LW during the 2020 NHL Draft.

2. Drafting Lafreniere doesn’t immediately mean that a winger needs to be traded. The Rangers can run Kreider, Panarin, and Lafreniere as their 1-2-3 on one side with Buchnevich and Kakko as their 1-2 on the right side. Depth matters, and *cheap* depth is king. The Rangers will have five top line wingers with two on entry-level deals. That’s the depth that wins.

3. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the Rangers do with Ryan Strome now. Landing Lafreniere accelerates the rebuild, much like how landing Kakko, Fox, and Trouba did last season. But if the Rangers want to be true contenders, they have some difficult decisions to make.

4. Lafreniere certainly helps scoring depth, but the Rangers still have holes at center, mentioned above even with Strome, and on defense. These holes need to be addressed before the Rangers can be true contenders. K’Andre Miller helps, but they need left defense depth. Does packaging Alex Georgiev and Tony DeAngelo move the needle for left defense? What about for a middle-six center?

5. Another fun scenario – can the Rangers include that second 1st rounder with any of their RFAs to address those needs? Perhaps a 1LD so that Miller doesn’t need to fill that role immediately? Remember, cheap depth wins.

6. Speaking of cheap depth, the Rangers will have –barring trades– eight (!) players next year that are on ELCs (Lafreniere, Kakko, Chytil, Howden, Gauthier, Lindgren, and Fox. Throw in Kravtsov and Miller as probables, and that’s up to ten (!!). Cheap depth wins, folks.

7. One last time: Cheap depth wins. If there’s one major impact on the Rangers, it’s that Alexis Lafreniere adds that in spades.

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  • Strome needs to go. Too many penalties and doesn’t play any defense at all (except hooking). Panarin may move to RW. The most important thing now is to find a real NHL caliber center, after Zibanejad, we have nothing but pu$$ies.

  • Dont forget Morgan Barron….given the state of the C position…this guy’s native leadership, size, skating ability and intelligence….he is not a long shot for the roster next year.

  • Excellent points, Dave…..I’d like to add that Rangers desperately need to sign 1-2 veteran forwards who are willing to go to the front of the net.

  • Should have kept JT on the stupid cheap deal that he is on now.

    Should have kept Kevin Hayes for a little north of 6.5 for 7 years.

    Kakko, Kravs and now most likely Laffy would benefit having those two in the top 6. Special teams becomes more of a strength and 5v5 improves drastically along with dz play. Mind you Zib and Panarin get to enjoy those guys as well. SMH

    Now we are looking for a 2c who can do it all and a power forward for the top 6. The names above would be a everlasting combinations for long term success.

    Now let’s go out and waste assets for another top 6 center, yeah!! Horrible cap ties to now add Trouba and Kreider to the list of terrible to iffy contracts. It would be be nice if at least their teammates mentioned how important they were away from the rink. Going by the silence of the young guns and ADA interviews, they don’t bring much leadership qualities. Meanwhile on the NHL web page, they write 2-3 pages worth of Nucs and Flyers players/coaches talking about how the ex Rangers off ice contributions are huge for their rooms and benches. If there was ever a time for Hank to win King Clancy Memorial than this it is now. He will most likely lose to a guy who has been apart of the team and city for less then 12 months (Kevin Hayes). Could you imagine if Trouba was up for that award? Lol

    Bottom line we’re going to need Laffy’s leadership skills… And most importantly a middle 6 center ice general. It’s pretty weird watching both Strome and Chytil never directing their D and flanks prior to faceoffs.

    • SPOT ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Should have kept JT on the stupid cheap deal that he is on now.
      Major impact player ……physicality, skill, leadership……

      Should have kept Kevin Hayes for a little north of 6.5 for 7 years.
      Solid number 2 center and power play center……..

      Still cant fathom we gave up on them……

  • Who knows how the lineup will shakeout. The canes series showed there is a layer of offense this team is missing and hopefully this helps address it.

    I’m not making too big a deal of lw overload. Firstly good chance rookies go through burn out phase. Secondly imo the downfall post 2014 was not resigning hagelin even if a tad too expensive. Depth that can play wins.

  • Barring any trades, this is what the lineup might look like with only adding Miller and Kravstov from Hartford and the newly signed Morgan Barron:

    Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich
    Panarin/Strome/Kakko
    Lafreniere/Chytil/Kravstov/(Fast)
    Lemieux/Barron (Howden)/Gauthier

    Miller/Trouba
    Lindgren/Fox
    Smith (Staal)/DeAngelo
    7th D: Staal (Smith)

    Igor
    Georgiev (Hank)

    Obviously players might slot onto different lines; I just filled in some blanks.

    That ain’t too bad, and that is only as it stands without any further trades or other moves. I have a gut feeling that Hank is going to retire based upon my belief that he would understandably find being a backup for a full season distasteful.

    My thoughts are as follows: I’d like to move Strome if possible, or give him only a bridge. I’d like to keep DeAngelo if possible because his offensive skills are not easily replaced on defense and the Rangers are thin there at the moment anyway. I’d like to move Smith and Howden too, and bring up Miller, Kravstov and Barron. I like Jesper Fast a lot as a versatile player, but I don’t think that the Rangers can justify keeping him around unless he agrees to a very team friendly contract.

  • I don’t think Lafreniere accelerates the rebuild. If anything, I think he slows it. There is cetainly a perception that he will help the Rangers win the Cup next year and maybe he will. Short term though, that just encourages Lundqvist and Staal to stick around for one last bite of the apple.

    And this makes the Rangers very wing-heavy. It would be insane to spend more than $40M on your 8-9 wings any time in the near future. The Rangers already have $18M tied up in Panarin and Kreider. If Lafreniere and Kakko merit $15M between them in three years or so, well, forget about anyone else of quality.

    If Lafreniere, Kakko, Kravtsov are as advertised, the Rangers will need to do serious paring in the relatively near future. Of course it is unlikely that they all will be and so the Rangers must be patient to see who is for real and who is not.

    Personally I suspect Richter is right and that the Rangers should parlay the pick into Byfield plus to address the center weakness, but I agree that won’t happen. I may be wrong and even if I am not, I think such a move would require the kind of courage that costs general managers their jobs.

  • Frontoffice have to stop for the moment, and see what if:

    1. What if Chytill is given long shot playing top 6, give him Kreids and Buch, and Zib to Bread + Kakko, Give shot to Barron or Krav in a middle with Laf. This team need some ideas how to get better, and don’t expect season after it would be much time for experiments, this is the last one.

    2. What if all young LD would get their chances sitting for some period Staal and Smith. Try all Hajek, Miller, Reunanen…. don’t hesitate, same reason as for C

  • Kreider Zib Kakko
    Panarin Chytil Buch
    Laf Kravtsov Gauthier
    Jordan Greenway- Derek Grant- B.Boyle/P.E.Bellemare/Mckegg

    Bye bye Lemieux, Fast, PDG. Howden to Wolfpack.
    This team will need cheap 4th line players that can kill penalties.

      • Kravtsov has played center before. Plus Laf is the type of winger that can control play. Gauthier can use his speed and size to get rebound goals and forecheck.
        Greenway is better and bigger and younger than Lemieux if you have ever watched him play. Grant is awesome defensively. Boyle or Bellemare offer experience and size and defensive awareness. And Mckegg can play wing or center. Other than Zbad in the top 9 who else would the Rangers use to kill penalties? You cant expect a bunch of young offensive players to be good at killing penalties in the NHL right away.

        • Like I said 5-7 games and he was forced and he wasn’t great there. I like when fans decide who and what position player will succeed, not even thinking how it will affect his game comfort level where he played best

          • Many players have changed to different forward positions in the NHL. He looked good when he did play C for Russia during the tournament. Having a lw like Laf will make the transition to c alot easier for Kravtsov. NHL players are quite talented so changing positions are alot easier for them than it would be for non NHL players. And fans dont decide this stuff. We just give our opinions. We all know you have been giving your opinion at the other place for years.

    • Brian Boyle probably wants to win the cup. Who says he would even want to sign here? Someone over on Reddit ran into him last summer… He had some interesting things to say about the NYR, if true he won’t want to sign here.

      Same goes for Bellemare who will want to chase the cup. 4th lines in today’s game are more mobile and fast than what you presented (Greg the keg doesn’t count and I actually liked him).

      I keep seeing Greenway on people’s fantasy roster here. I use to be a fan of his game… But have you seen him play lately? Pass but I guess he’s more of a realistic project to with vs useless Gauthier.. Besides Minnesota doesn’t trade their young players for peanuts. Backup goaltender won’t get that trade done. They didn’t even want Stepan when JG tried to offer to get Coyle or Dumba in 2016.

      Derek Grant sucks but I can see people on here enjoying him.

      Laffy will replace Kreider soon, you have to develop him next to Zib. Panarin advocated for Strome as his center. Chytil neutral game is to none existence to play with Panarin 24/7. His dz game will hold that line back. The guy still skates over pucks inside the skill zone less than a foot away from his own net… This is why he couldn’t hack it in AV’s system. Being a center in Quinn’s zone D looked easy and yet he still played like a chicken’s head cutoff inside that zone.

      • So Boyle went to the Devils and Panthers to chase a cup? You do realize that The Wild have a new gm? Plus they could not afford Stepan’s contract with the ntc about to kick in. Players like Bellemare want the cup but they also want an NHL contract. It’s stupid to throw Laf as a 1LW right away. Let him get used to the NHL for a season or 2. He is big in minors but regular size in NHL. Should not expect him to come in and be on line 1 going up against top opponent lines. Panarin is not the gm or coach. Chytil has developed nicely. It is time to move him up in the lineup. Have you seen him skate the puck out of the d zone and make quick passes? His game has greatly improved. Have you seen Strome’s game in the d zone? And any longterm contract to Strome will not be a good thing for the cap. Chytil was a rookie when AV was here. Most 1st round forwards take a couple seasons to learn to defensively in the NHL. I think you didnt watch Chytil’s improvement at all this season. This isnt a video game where a team constantly has the puck. Smart 4th line defensive veteran players are needed unless you want the Rangers to become like Toronto or Edmonton.

        • 1000% yes that is why he choose there. It’s not my fault that you don’t agree with it… Trust me, I never have had FL Panthers more than a bubble team at best.. Q, their D and top 6 when Vinny T was there had some hype with them. That said, he signed kind of late with them which meant that a lot of thinking went into this.. The reports came in that he had numerous offers to choose from… Unless you’re arguing that playoff hopefulls don’t see the good in quality 4c? Or that a aging journey man who got done beating cancer would waste his time on a rebuild squad? Other then that if you had a problem with his pick, send him a email about it. I wanted to do the same thing to Iginla when he picked Avs to give him his last shot at winning the cup. Bell and BB aren’t at that point where they need to go whoever shows insterest in them. If they do come here than it’s 100% because JG overpayed.

          Cap management was not why the Stepan deal fell through with them. I will go by their sports writer’s, fan base etc that the GM said Stepan wasn’t worth it. There were a lot of names JG tried to snag away if Granlund was not available… Dumba, Zucker and especially Coyle were trying to get attained by him. Just like the Avs told him this past season about Kreider, which was basically said “not worth it!!!!!”. Btw Minny still follows that plan of not giving up on the young guns hence why they traded all three of Zucker, Coyle and Grandlund in a short span of time. This was why the Fletcher era failed, he couldn’t work the roster because that club has guidelines to still follow.

          “Have you seen him skate the puck out of the d zone and make quick passes” You mean normal duties of a hockey player? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. but yeah it takes a lot to go right for him to do this. Someone is usually covering for him in the slots, than the other teams D has to be flat footed.. Or else he will hardly get by with that scene that you created. He is terrible on the rush, he has to have a straight “B” line to the oz or else he isn’t carrying squat. I think you play to much EA sports son…

          • Oh my bad. When you said Derek Grant, I thought you meant Derek Ryan from Calgary Flames.

            Yeah he would be a great addition! I can’t tell if he’s a late bloomer or not.. Either way I doubt Rangers can get him unless they overpay 1-2 mill. He is just RNH, western Canadian boy who loves the west coast. There have been rumors that he was going back to the Ducks after Philly this season. Now rumors have him greatly invested in the Flyers locker room.. Coots-Hayes, Philly’s depth to play with etc have that team as a perfect fit for him.

            Yeah I highly doubt he comes here. If you see him more than 1 once on the Garden ice, than I guarantee it will be in orange and black, that team is suppose to be one of ther tighter locker rooms off.

            NYR have a better shot at trading for Ghost or getting Thompson from Philly.

          • Grant always goes back to Anaheim for stupid cheap. This is why I’m hoping Gorton can offer him a 2×2 contract.

          • I watch lots of Panthers game. Boyle and his agent obviously did not. The Wild situation is crazy because Fenton did things that made no sense considering gmcf was not allowed to do those things. Plus the Parise and Suter contracts are insane. Yes normal duties that a 8 year pro like Strome still has trouble doing. We watched a different Chytil it seems like. 2 seasons ago I would have agreed with you about him. With his speed and size the “b” line works good for him. Zbad uses that same “b” line successfully as well. Maybe your mommy will buy you nhl 2020 this year so you spend less time on reddit.

          • Ranger954

            “Maybe your mommy will buy you nhl 2020 this year so you spend less time on reddit.”

            NICE, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I agree with Ray that Lafreniere, if anything, slows the rebuild. He’s 18 years old. We should have learned already that teenagers have tremendous growing pain to endure before being NHL productive, even supposedly NHL-ready ones like Kakko.

    And it makes no sense to try to buttress the weak LHD since it is the position with our best prospect group. Miller should be a solid top 4 dman at worst. And Lindgren seems like a top 4 as well. Matthew Robertson seems like an excellent prospect and Zac Jones is good too. And that still leaves Hajek, Rykov a several others that have a chance.

    We will likely be the youngest team in the league next year and saddled with the Shatty cap hit. We are not contending next year in any event. Let the Smith and Staal contracts playout, or possibly buyout Staal. Hopefully the King retires. Let the coach bring along the youth and figure out better what we have.

    We probably still need another center and some more grit. That’s about it and we should be elite in a few years.

    Pretty short shopping list remains to get to the promised land!

    • I partially agree on LHD. I would not make changes long term, except perhaps to move DeAngelo to the left side, but I would address next year (and possibly the year after) specifically. There are a number of journeymen (guys like Freddy Claesson a few years back) who are better than Hajek or Staal when he is not 100% or a kid who isn’t ready. These guys can be signed for $1M or less and can be sent to Hartford if there are better options. These guys would allow the Rangers to play Miller and Robertson at the right level for their proper development. It really doesn’t help to play kids who are not ready. It does not help them and it sends the wrong message to the other players on the team.

      On the other hand, I think the Rangers can win the Cup next year. Igor Shesterkin appears to be very very good.

    • “We should have learned already that teenagers have tremendous growing pain to endure before being NHL productive, even supposedly NHL-ready ones like Kakko.”

      And where were you between the years of 2018-2019? The “fans” from this site thought that Andersson and Chytil made Kevin Hayes expandable right then…. And that by the time Zib needs a new contract, Chytil would be able to fulfill some crazy duties. Lol good times, they were even wanted Lias to get the “C” by Christmas in his rookie campaign.

      • To answer your question: I was on the Ranger fan boards calling out Lias for the bust he turned out to be. His throwing his medal in the stands was viewed as a positive when it was an indication that he is not the most stable person around. But more importantly he was neither the skater nor had any other particular offensive skill to justify the support he received from the fan base. Yet others were calling for him to be a 2nd line forward playing with Bread – what a joke.

        And regarding Chytil – he should have spent more time in Hartford. And when he was finally sent down – the best thing that ever happened to him – many went perplexit.

        That’s where I was in 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 too.

        • Good stuff Lando.. This place was overwhelming with the Lias and Filip hype so I guess I missed it.

          I knew Andersson was full of himself after his first pre season game. He had the towel wrapped around his neck during the post game interview.. As if he’s Marion Gaborik who just got done scoring a hat trick in mid March. That stuff and throwing the medal sealed his fate for gaining trust within his teammates. Trust me, hockey dude’s don’t like that stuff. His medal throwing and the ditching of his team will follow him throughout his AHL career.

          I said it at the time and I still believe it to this day. If JG was smart than he would have kept Chytil, Howden and Lias as Hartfords 1,2,3 punch down the middle for a year and half or so.. Concentrate on the actual NHL players instead of dumping JT Miller and bad mouthing him. Clearly management started to do the talk before the walk. Buch and a demotion with those guy’s could have gone a long way. This is what seperates teams like Tampa from NY. Hextall did it with Philly for the last 3-4 seasons and now they are reaping those awards with NHL vets in the mix. Morgan Frost is probably better than Chytil and he is still with the AHL club. You let them marinate down there see (Jesper Fast and JT Miller ).

          ^This is where and why I give Quinn slack..

  • Lets go back 12 months to when we had 2nd pick of the draft and grabbed Kakko. We all thought he would step in and provide instant offense. He struggled instead and put up very mediocre numbers.

    Lets all take LeFren off of the pedestal and admit he is a rookie with potential that will eventually provide some offense. Not so sure of his impact next year.

    • The advantage that Lafreniere has over Kakko is that he has been playing in North America, which is a bit of a different style. But you are correct, he is only 18 and will be only 19 when the season begins.

      Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky were quite young when the came to the big clubs, but Gretzky was other wordly. It is possible that Lafreniere makes the Rangers because of his level of talent, but expecting him to be McDavid-like is expecting too much. I will say that the kid produced in the juniors like McDavid did at least.

    • Or let’s go further back when some people thought that Chytil would be a elite 2c by now… And Andersson will be a elite 3c with the captain on his chest before his first season was up.

      Overall Kakko has looked better than both of them as rookies. It was nice to see him aware of his responsibility in the nz/dz. Hope to see him develop his speed a bit more. If he wants to he could look like a modern day M Hossa by 2023. Hello’s and goodbyes are totally within his reach (that is how skilled he is). His game is going over some people’s heads because Sam and Joe aren’t calling it as they see it.

      What seems to be going on is some people see their favorites in jeopardy of being on the trade block. Lol you can’t hide Laffy in the Rangers terrible depths forever.

  • The speculation is endless. The question is, do we have a generational talent. Is he McDavid,Crosby,Matthews? Or maybe Kane. We won’t have that answer until the season. If he is any of those, it doesn’t matter who he plays with because he will make everyone better.Look what Panarin did for Strome. In the interim, I think management will be looking to package some players for a legit center. The weakness still is the D,until at least some of the young players come up, and the depth of the 4 th line. Howden is not the answer.

  • Can somebody please explain to me what all the fuss is about kappo kaako? He needs a full year in Hartford.

  • 1st and foremost, we need a HEAD COACH who will DEVELOPE the kids going forward. Howden is AHL at best, not giving lias a sniff over a guy who is 45% on faceoff and hasn’t developed a single player yet. Giving up your own blueline on every rush is never going to work, cant blame Ruff for being embarrassed vs Canes

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