International Hockey

Decision looming for NY Rangers with Alexis Lafreniere and World Juniors

The 2021 World Juniors are still up in the air, but regardless there are decisions to be made. The Rangers will need to make a decision on whether or not Alexis Lafreniere will participate in the World Juniors. The tournament is set to begin in a month, and mums the word so far.

The main question is whether or not Lafreniere would benefit from playing in the tournament. Would he just be skating through everyone? Or would it be a growth opportunity? There is a big difference there.

The risk is Lafreniere gets hurt in meaningless hockey. Why would the World Juniors be meaningless? Well if Lafreniere is walking all over the competition, which he did last year to the tune of 4-6-10 in 5 games, then it is meaningless for him.

Of course the decision could be made for the Rangers, with a scrimmage getting cancelled today due to COVID. At this point, I’d assume Alexis Lafreniere will not be at the World Juniors this year, but stranger things have happened.

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  • My own opinion is that the Rangers should simply let Lafreniere do what he wants to do. What I find strange is that (I suspect) very few agree with me.

    What is best for hockey seems to always take a back seat to self interest.

    • I agree … especially if there’s enough of a separation in dates between start of camp and the WJC. If he feels strongly enough about it, let him play … if not, let him practice with the big boys.

  • I just read that a couple of the players on the Canadian team tested positive for the virus. That’s another thing that has to be considered. Worst case, Alexis joins the junior team, catches the virus, becomes severely ill, and misses a season, or more. Next worst, he joins the team, catches it, and has to be quarantined until he’s symptom free. It would be good if could (and wants to) join the team, has no problems, and gets in some good playing time. Better if the NHL actually starts on Dec. 1, he gets through training camp with the Rangers, and is on the pro team when the season starts. Or, another bad, he passes on the Canadian team, then the NHL season is pushed back, and everybody wastes another month or more.

    • Even with symptoms and a quick recovery, permanent damage can be done to various organs of the body.

  • I just read that a couple of the players on the Canadian team tested positive for the virus. That’s another thing that has to be considered. Worst case, Alexis joins the junior team, catches the virus, becomes severely ill, and misses a season, or more. Next worst, he joins the team, catches it, and has to be quarantined until he’s symptom free. It would be good if could (and wants to) join the team, has no problems, and gets in some good playing time. Better if the NHL actually starts on Dec. 1, he gets through training camp with the Rangers, and is on the pro team when the season starts. Or, another bad, he passes on the Canadian team, then the NHL season is pushed back, and everybody wastes another month or more.

    • Read your comment after I posted mine. You do have a solid point about COVID, which I inexplicably forgot about. Well, I think everyone would love to forget about it!

  • My gut instinct is to let the kid do what he likes. Hockey players love the game, and I am sure that he’d enjoy the tournament if he decided that he wanted to participate.

    But, the club does have an interest in protecting its investment in the young player. So there are arguments against his participation because everyone would be terribly disappointed if he was injured in what many would call an unnecessary game.

    I don’t know!

  • Hockey players play hockey that’s what they do. Playing in the World Juniors is a great opportunity for Lafreniere as he can hone his skill with or against the best young hockey players on the globe.

    Many of the Rangers young elite hockey players are playing overseas. Yet I don’t hear any concerns that they “might get hurt”. Makes me wonder why all of a sudden it’s a issue when it comes to playing for ones country.

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