Players

Alexis Lafreniere is not a bust; He will be just fine

There has been much digital ink spilled on the #1 overall pick and his two goals in 17 games this season. Some people (not smart people) are calling Alexis Lafreniere a bust. Others say he belongs in the AHL. But those who look at something other than a scoring line understand there’s more to this. Lafreniere is playing well. He, like most of the Rangers roster at the moment, is having a string of bad luck. However Alexis Lafreniere will be just fine.

Skills Are There

We’ve seen Lafreniere’s shot and quick hands. His goal against Washington is not one that many are able to pull off.

When you watch Lafreniere play, the speed is evident. His quick first step provides separation, and he gets his shots off with a great release. Both were evident on his OT winner and first NHL goal against Buffalo.

Lafreniere hasn’t missed a beat when moved up to the first line either. He doesn’t drag down Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, or whichever linemate he plays with. If Alexis Lafreniere were a bust, we would have seen it when he was on the top line.

Lafreniere’s offensive skills are also on display in the smaller things he does. He generates quality and quantity when on the ice. If you’ll notice that first bar (GF/60) – the team just isn’t scoring, despite generating a ton of good chances. This isn’t unique to Lafreniere, it’s basically everyone on the team.

Listen, we know Lafreniere drives offense. He’s actually one of the better guys on the team. The heatmap above is where the Rangers are getting shots while he’s on the ice (left). This jives with the chart above, showing Lafreniere helps the Rangers generate quality and quantity when on the ice. The heatmap on the right is how the Rangers are without Lafreniere on the ice. If Lafreniere is this good, then what gives?

Bad Luck

Bad shooting luck is almost everything with the Rangers right now, but especially Lafreniere. The Rangers have just a 2.61% shooting rate when Lafreniere is on the ice. That’s worst on the Rangers, and actually the second worst in the NHL. We’ve seen what Lafreniere can do. But if he’s generating all these chances, and we haven’t really seen spectacular saves against him (like Zibanejad), then something else is at play here.

Enter Lafreniere’s linemates. Or lack thereof. His linemates get brought up regularly, but it turns out they aren’t that bad, at least on paper. Lafreniere has spent the majority of his time with Ryan Strome (33% of the time) or Mika Zibanejad (28%) as his center. Of course there’s 25% Brett Howden as well.

For those who like math, that’s over 50% of his time with the most snake bitten player in history (Zibanejad) or one of the worst centers in the league (Howden). That might explain a little bit. If he’s generating chances for either of them, then neither will finish anyway. For those keeping count, that’s two goals between the pair of centers.

Consistent Lines

This is a sore point for almost everyone. Part of this can’t be blamed on David Quinn because of the injuries up front. Regardless, there’s something to be said for consistency, and the Rangers haven’t had any.

Lafreniere’s most consistent line (not linemates) is with Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich at 3.8% of all his time. His second most consistent line is with Howden and Phil DiGiuseppe at 3.5% of all his time. Then it’s Kaapo Kakko and Ryan Strome, again at 3.5% of the time. Also above 3% is Strome/Panarin.

That’s four separate lines, almost with the same amount of ice time together. It’s very difficult for anyone to generate any consistency on the ice when his linemates change regularly.

What’s Next?

The good thing is the consistent lines should work itself out soon. Filip Chytil is back at practice, and will presumably get back in the lineup this weekend or early next week. Kaapo Kakko won’t be on the COVID list forever, and that gives the Rangers their best line from the first few games. It’s a safe assumption that DQ will go back to that at least in the short term. Panarin’s leave of absence is expected to last two weeks, at which point the Rangers will be back to full strength up front.

Aside from that, there’s not much else to worry about. Alexis Lafreniere is playing just fine, and circumstances beyond his control are impacting his scoring line. When the Rangers get back to full strength and more skill is out on the ice, you’ll see these shooting percentages rise.

But it is worth noting this is a short season. It’s not a guarantee that all the shooting percentages rise to career averages, the way they should in a full season. With 30 fewer games, there might be some career lows in SH% across the board on the Rangers. As long as expectations are set, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Again, Alexis Lafreniere is not a bust. He belongs in the NHL. He’s playing well. Looking at just his scoring line is an incomplete analysis of his game. Just watching him on the ice, he belongs. There’s no need to worry.

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  • No, he is not a bust (ala Lias A), but he is struggling a bit. He is 19 and has to learn how to play at the NHL level. He also is living in a new environment. He needs this year to adjust. I suspect around 8 goals and 20 total points for the kid by year end. Put him on a line and leave him there.

  • While I think he will figure things out, I dont agree with this analysis. Its not like he is getting grade A chances and getting stoned perpetually then id say ok his luck is bad right now. He is routinely missing loose pucks around the net and flubbing other chances .. Thats not shooting % rather just not being ready for the speed of the game. But like with kakko that will come.

    That being said, I dont like DQ not using him in spots where he can use his skills. the earn it thing only goes so far for me. Zegras was being featured on the ducks pp while barely getting time at evens in his first game. and then ppl wonder why these prospects struggle with us stat wise.

    • I agree. I’m not sure that analytics can tell us what’s wrong in this can. Jack Han had a good analysis of the Habs recently in which he noted that they had the best 5v5 shot driving in the league, but the reason for it was just that they chuck shots on net. With enough quantity, even if they’re garbage shots or one and dones, a team can overwhelm the models.

      The point I’m making is that this may be more of a technical thing. I’d like to watch his shifts more carefully specifically.

      But I am also of the opinion that he’ll be fine. Someone said he’s a bust and won’t make the hall of fame. I’m shocked that anyone can make long term determinations after what, 20 games? Relax; Hughes was terrible last year, and now he’s lighting it up. Takes time to jump from the CHL to the NHL. Some AHL time wouldn’t be bad though.

      • matt barzal spent a year in juniors. it all comes down to where picked and expectations (im not saying this is right but just a reality) . fans and pundits had one vision and looks like the path will be another. if they end up in the same spot by year 3 who cares?

  • Let’s use two organizations, team one, New York Rangers, team two, LA Kings.

    Team one, inserts Laf into the lineup, without evaluating him at all and putting him in the most difficult league in the world with almost a year layoff, because they are in a rush to prove they know what they are doing and fans are complaining he is not owning the league.

    Team two, draft Byfield, don’t rush him or any of their other stud prospects and yet, the team is gelling without said prospects and Blake indicated he will not mortgage the future for today.

    Ranger fans are ready to trade away 6 prospects for Eichel, maybe this is why the Rangers are never really any good….maybe management listens to fans.

    • I think you’re generalizing the prospects with regards to them being traded. What I mean by that is it depends on who the prospects are. Sure, the Kings won’t trade away Byfield to get Eichel. We shouldn’t trade away Lafreniere, Kakko or Miller either.

      If a team like ours can swing a trade for Eichel and manage to keep the top 6 of Panarin, Lafreniere, Kakko, Zibanejad, Kreider and add Eichel to that top 6 group. That’s going to be strong and Eichel is only 24.

      It depends on what the team has and needs. We have forwards that aren’t on the team yet that will be well suited for the third and fourth line and will grit and shooting accuracy. I’m talking about specifically Barron and Will Cuylle. We have grit and offensive upside on the blue line coming too. I’m talking about Schneider and Robertson.
      These guys shouldn’t be traded in my honest opinion.

      I think you see my point, it’s about evaluating who we project can be plugged in from our prospect pool and agreeing on who can be traded in a package for someone like Eichel.

      I hope the Rangers take that approach before deciding to make the trade.

      • Listen, if Sabres are willing to take our b level prospects and a bad contract (Trouba), in return, I am all in…but one of Kappo or Laffy or Fox or Miller, plus one of Schneider, Robertson or Nils, plus Barron, plus, a 1st rounder and I assume some other picks will be what they request.

        The Sabres cannot afford to trade their franchise face away for anything less than an overpayment.

        Hence, I would pass on him.

        • Yeah, I agree. Schneider, Lafreniere, Kakko, Robertson, Barron, Fox, Miller are off the table.

          Nils is good and I like him, but he is only 5’10” and we have Schneider who is also right handed which gives us Fox, Trouba, Schneider. Fox is about the same size as Nils so we already have a smaller offensive defenseman. We need guys that hit like a train on the blue line. Not enough moxy on our team right now. Ritchie on the Bruins elbowed Shesty in the head on purpose and nobody did anything. Nils wouldn’t have done anything either because he couldn’t handle Ritchie. Not for nothing, Ritchie shouldn’t have even gotten that close to Shesty, there should be a defenseman in front of our goalie when he’s freezing the puck from a save in a vulnerable position.
          People may throw the books at me on here on this one, but that’s how I see it and that’s how the game is played. I don’t care if it’s the modern day era or the old era. This is the NHL and the Allsvenkan or SHL. That’s why we can replace Nils for the sake of Eichel given who else we have in our prospect pool.

          Plus, I can see the Sabres looking at Nils because they could have a righty lefty Swedish pair with Rasmus Dahlin to get his game going. The Sabres already have tough defenseman on their team.

          We aren’t on the phone with Buffalo to see what they want, but negotiations start high and then they go down to meet in the middle. We have to give to get and I think everyone here can agree on that.

          I would start with a package centered around Kravtsov and Nils and see what the Sabres say to that. If we get Eichel we won’t have room in the top 6 for Kravtsov anyway.

          • Thank you…I wasn’t sure there were any Ranger fans left that actually understand what it takes to win the Stanley Cup, by far, the hardest tropy to win in sports.

            Fox – Lindgren
            Trouba (unfortunately) – Miller
            Scneider – Robertson

            If we could replace Trouba with Nils, I would do that…but if we can’t…then we have to pick between Robertson and Nils…if we move Nils in a big package, we still have Zac Jones, if u trade Robertson, then you have no one else like him in the system.

          • You’re welcome! I’m here to chat and I really want the Rangers to have a true shot at being a contender. At this point in time where the team is, the guys we choose to build around is critical.

            Just because we’re having a good chat and brainstorming, please consider this angle:

            I can tell that you don’t want Trouba and he hasn’t had a good start to the season. He also makes way too much for what he brings and I see him being traded sometime in the future when we have to give bigger contracts to players we’re building around. That’s likely when he gets traded, unless the Rangers include him in a package for Eichel or another center to somehow make it work.

            With that being said, I don’t think Nils is the right replacement for Trouba specifically for OUR team.
            Nils is 5’10” 174 pounds. Yes, he is smooth with the puck and has good poise with vision, but we have that with Fox and we don’t need another one of those defenseman. The right type of defenseman to replace Trouba down the line is ANOTHER Braden Schneider. It goes back to what I said earlier, meat and potatoes. Two Braden Schneider’s and Adam Fox on the right side, perfect because you have the offensive, smooth skating d man who can man the powerplay and relies on his positioning to win defensive battles and you have your other two guys with meat and potatoes who can chip in offensively.

            Nils will be good, but he will not be able to pin Debrusk or Ritchie for example to the boards behind the net and stop a cycle in the offensive zone. He won’t be able to move Ritchie from the front of the net or even at least make it difficult for him to gain his positioning. In the playoffs and even in the regular season, those details matter because the front of the net gets crowded, pucks get thrown on net and they get deflected on the way to the net all the time making it very difficult to stop when you have a big body screening Shesty.

            If you have Fox and Nils who both can’t move guys from the front of the net to stop a rebound attempt and potential deflections, you’ll be in trouble against a heavy team and even if you win game 1, teams will watch video during a 7 game series and find ways to score on us later in the series. Then I’ll tell you what will happen, Dave here will be putting out a blog post after we get eliminated about what happened and we’ll all be commenting on how we need to get tougher to go deeper in the playoffs ultimately win Lord Stanley’s hardware.

            Do you see my point?

          • I have to disagree about Trouba because I think everyone misses the boat on Trouba. In my opinion, his physicality is precisely what the Rangers needed on defense. I look forward to Miller and Trouba pairing up for a long time. Miller should just keep on getting better, and it will be an excellent combo for the Rangers.

          • I like Trouba too Peter. JJB seemed to have his doubts about him so I tried to explain that his physicality and size is important for our team. I will say that regardless of whether or not we like him, he likely does get dealt somewhere down the line for cap reasons.

            Bottom line, we can win the cup with Trouba on our team is we have all the other right pieces. He’s a solid defenseman with good size and poise.

          • Totally get it…he is a big strong crease clearer. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has the desire to do that on a consistent basis. He is very similar to Kreider…beast of a man…no desire to do it on a consistent basis.

            I would love two Schneider’s, two miller’s and two Fox.

          • I understand what you mean, but players are human JJB. He’s also not just a crease clearer. He can chip in offensively, can manage the puck well, and even scrap. He’s not a bad defenseman, you can win with him.

            Yes, he has struggled this year but that doesn’t make him a bad defenseman.

          • You also have to consider cap considerations. Is trouba worth a top 10 paid defenseman. You can’t bring in Eichel with his 10 million cap hit and have trouba and have zib, and panarin. You can’t resign your ras. I agree that the rangers need more meat and potatoes. That’s why buch needs to go bc he doesn’t have that jam and can be eventually replaced by krav. But you can have nils and fox like leetch and zubov. Rangers need to stick to the plan. They should draft and/ or trade for a young center man that doesn’t gut your organization.

    • Byfield is almost a year younger than Lafren, that has something to do with the 2 different situations.

  • I don’t see Lafreniere being a bust at all. He’s 19 and a developing player. A bit more NHL playing time and he will come around. Look at Hughes last year and Hughes this year. Point is that it sometimes takes a bit of time to adjust to the NHL. If he keeps working hard and putting the pucks on net, the goals will come.

      • Well Hughes is only 5 months or so younger than Alexis, though he was brought up when 18 not 19. Hughes had only 7 goals in those 61 games. Alexis has 2 in 17. There isn’t going to be a great deal of difference in their rookie seasons.

        Now Hughes is a lot better than he was his first year. I expect Alexis will be a much better player next season too.

        • Comparing first games, Hughes was 10-11 months younger than Laf. Hughes had 14 assists last year; so far Laf has none.

          Let’s not forget Laf was supposed to be well above Hughes.

          • I completely disagree with the statement “Laf was supposed to be well above Hughes.” And Hughes is a center, so he should have more assists.

            I believe that you’re overstating your case. I will be very surprised if Alexis doesn’t have a very similar rookie season, under very difficult circumstances (COVID interruptions, etc.)

  • I lost all confidence in the fairy tale we were told about Quinn being the guy to develop talent. It’s not like other coaches failed with the past 20 years of superstars.

    If kakko and now Laf played up they will develop because they were meant to play there.

    I watched Laf toss so many passes and plays towards his non-top line mates this season it was frustrating.

    he and kakko do not need Quinn’s style of developing them, which is to keep them on the 3rd line until he thinks they can help him get a win.

    I am done with the BS Quinn project, get a better coach.

    Laf will be this teams best player for years by his 3rd season.

    • especially, with Gerrad Gallant sitting at home.

      Gorton wants to go off the grid and he picks Quinn, the Wild pick Dean Evason and they are playing amazing.

      Hawks are playing well for Collition

      Leafs are best team with Keefe

      We had Sullivan as an asst coach and we couldn’t be bothered with giving him a look.

    • While it’s not guaranteed, isn’t it far from a coincidence that 2 top 2 picks have started with stats that make them look like 4th liners?

      I mean no expects 60 pts in the first year, but 2 goals thus far was not in the cards for most Ranger fans. And more importantly, the Ranger FO.

      I’ve beat the Gallant drum for 6 months now. Time to get a real NHL coach.

  • the problem is the coach. chytl, kaako. laffy have not been put where they can grow and get better. the talent on this team cannot get to there next level with DQ

  • Thanks for this Dave. I have seen the panic buttons pushed about the kid recently and could only shake my head. He will be fine indeed. Alexis will be a stud. I have no doubt about that.

  • Consistency has been impossible this year, short training camp, long layoff, the covid list, injuries, postponements, constantly shifting linemates, etc. It’s tough to develop any chemistry, to get into a rhythm … so no, not a bust.

  • Regardless of the level of their talent a rookie must spend some time in the AHL. Transition to NHL AND SEASONING is an important part of the development of a young player.

    • Yeah, it’s kind of crazy that we even need an article like this 17 games into his career. If people actually watch some of the things this kid already is doing, instead of rushing to the keyboard to complain about him, they’ll see a player who has the makings of a star, once he adapts more to the pace of the game in the NHL, and gains more confidence controlling play instead of deferring to others, just as Hughes is doing this season with NJ.

  • Lafreniere needs this year to adjust to a totally different environment, he is only 19, really poised, has hockey talent, and an important part of the Rangers’ future.

    Next year Rangers could look good with Barron and Cuylle joining Lafreniere, Kakko, Chytil, Kreider, Buch, Panarin, and Lemieux, as Ranger forwards (Trade Kravtsov for a NHL ready center under 40 years old).

    On defense, Schneider, Robertson, and Lundkvist should join Lindgren, Fox, Miller, and Trouba.

    And in goal, Shesterkin and Georgeiv as back up (is it true he started the Tony fiasco?)

    Hopefully, the virus is history, and the coach is not Diary Queen. And please, trading Chytil for a center makes no sense unless it’s for centers.

    • Trading Chytil makes no sense, period …. the kid has looked close to popping and he has the skill, etc. to be the 2C. Again, we need to stop wanting every shiny object that may be available.

    • “Georgeiv as back up (is it true he started the Tony fiasco?)”

      Started is not the right word. Of course, the DeAngelo fiasco was simply the final chapter in a long story. As to the decisive incident, the facts are not completely clear but the prevailing belief I think is that the altercation began with Tony criticizing Georgiev’s play (presumably in a nasty way). So Tony started the incident. However, the belief is that Georgiev actually threw the first (maybe only) punch.

      As a stand alone incident, this would not have gotten Tony banished.

      • The criticism was obviosity not constructive and should not have been nasty, although saw the game and understand Tony’s frustration, but he could have handled differently. If Tony did not give Georgiev reason to believe he needed to defend himself, then don’t you think he should been penalized for the first punch?

        • The fact that you can understand Tony’s frustration is exactly why Tony should have kept his mouth shut. Georgiev had a bad game and surely felt bad about it. Evaluating his performance was not Tony’s job, but the coach’s. Saying things like “don’t worry about it” is how you support your teammates.

          That being said, almost all transgressions should be taken in context. both for Georgi and ADA. So, as to punishing Georgi, maybe, maybe not. He hit a teammate and he stood up to a bully.

          • The thing is, if Georgi didn’t throw first punch, no fight. Just saying.

  • Let’s be clear. Shooting percentage is affected by luck, but it is a skill. Shooting percentage of teammates while you are on the ice is affected by luck, but it is a skill. Shooting percentage of opponents while you are on the ice is affected by luck, but it is a skill.

    You may think Laf’s numbers are going to improve, but there is not statistical evidence for it. Regression to the mean? For Laf personally, this is his mean (so far), Regression to the mean of all hockey players? That is actually phenomenally low, which is why most hockey players can’t play in the NHL. Regression to the mean of established NHL players? He isn’t that.

    So far, the statistical evidence says that the current 19 yr old Lafreniere sucks, yes worse than Howden even. The sample size is small, but the direction it points is clear.

    Will he get better? Almost certainly. Do I anticipate him being a second line forward (or better) in the next year or three? Yes.

    But that does not make him not overrated. I think he was sold as perhaps a 70th percentile #1 overall and he appears closer to a 25th percentile #1 overall.

    Where I disagree with most here are on two points of relevance. Without getting into the merits of an Eichel acquisition, I think it is ridiculous to say that under no circumstances should Laf be part of the package. He is not good enough to be untouchable and he has great trade value. Second, I think it is also ridiculous to throw away the Ranger Cup chances this year to get Laf as much playing time as possible. With what Kakko did last year and Laf this year, I am rooting against another lottery pick this summer. We’re just reliving Edmonton pre-McDavid.

    • I hate to be the one to tell you this…the Rangers aren’t winning the Cup this year or for the next few years.

      The Rangers are 5 players away from being serious contenders.

      Howden, Bitetto, Jack Johnson, and to lesser extent Strome and Smith, should not be on the team or play less vital roles on the team. Trouba will have to greatly improve, Kreider has to play like he did the other night, every night, not every 5 games.

      And the people replacing them should be our prospects, who will need time to develop…you are still years out.

    • Honestly, Lafren does not look good sometimes. No question about it.

      But who has, other than Panarin and Kakko, on a consistent basis? Other than a one game explosion by Kreider, the top 6 has not done a whole lot this year. So putting Lafren with top 6 players who stink right now is not doing him any favors.

      And putting Blackwell and Lemiuex over Lafren on the PP is ridiculous.

      Put Lafren back with Chytil and Kakko, and just let them go, including giving them PP time.

  • It’s Quinn, plain and simple. He just gets into these young players heads in some way. Lafraniere, to me, looks just as unsure of himself as Kakko did last year. It’s almost identical. If Kakko didn’t have the same look to him last year, I’d be less concerned. But this is twice now with top picks, and that is worrisome.

    Quinn spoke of over-coaching Kakko last year. Maybe that is part of it. But he has these young players so concerned about something that they look tentative, sometimes lost, and sometimes looking confused out there. And then he’ll drop them or park them on the bench for stretches as well. It seems some young players react decently to this, but not the very young ones. Most of the young players who have a year or two in college, or the NHL like Chytil, react and adjust. But Kakko and Laf, and others like Lias, fall backwards into a shell of themselves. Both 24 and 13 were “NHL-ready” at the draft with high-end skill until they start working with Quinn. Then they need time to adjust, they’re too young, the game is too fast, and could probably use time in the AHL. Kakko was a beast in the World Championship before he got under Quinn. And that was against some top NHL players at the time. Go look at the clips… it’s a different player than anything we’ve seen here in NY.

    Neither of these players are a bust. Quinn is the bust here and it’s time to move on.

    • Agreed. It’s definitely Coach Quinn. He has to go. Granted Lafreniere played great tonight but he could have had 2 goals or more if Quinn used him in key situations like Powerplay unit 1 not play Colin Blackwell a Journey man AHL PLAYER. Quinn is lucky the Fans showed up and made a huge impact on the Rangers Win. To Quinn, he wants to make Lafreniere the complete player he is capable of being or should be. WTF! Quinn doesn’t get it. He is a complete player and Quinn is a nightmare Coach. Then we have very common fans at the Garden who want immediate results and think well we got the 1st overall pick then we don’t need to rebuild anymore. They are the same fans you see in MSG NETWORK COMMERCIALS… jerks. They have no patience. Well take a long look at the NY ISLANDERS and how they won 4 Stanley Cups and developed their talent these past years- starts at the draft and landing top picks and letting your young core develop- same for Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Avalanche, NJ Devils. This Rangers team is still rebuilding just look at some clips with JD when we landed Lafreniere etc. and listen and watch. Stop buying all the talent you see in Free Agency or make trades for someone else’s player. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Have patience and Lafreniere will live up to the hype but it’s the coach and his screwed up system. You have to put these kids into key situations and let them play- like the top Powerplay. I pay to watch Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko not Colin Blackwell.

  • I think his biggest issues are his weight and his skating. He put on 12 ponds from the draft probably thinking he needed it to compete with the larger players in the NHL. That needs to come down. His skating is fine once he gets going but his lateral movement is really poor and so is his initial step. He doesn’t get much explosiveness. This is something that is crucial for him to work on otherwise, he will never be able to do in the NHL what he was able to do in juniors.

    O/T

    What a shame that the Rangers didn’t try and move up last season from the 20th pick into the 9-10 slot to draft Trevor Zegras. What a player this kid is. Instead we couldn’t wait to trade Neil Pionk and the 20th pick for an overrated, underperforming albatross of a player.

    • WTF are you talking about. Lafreniere is a teenager and is considered by many pro scouts to be a Generational Franchise Superstar- he is fine. Just need a new Coach where he can play in key situations like Powerplay unit #1. Not Colin Blackwell. Trevor Zegras wasn’t been dealt. I am sure Rangers tried to draft up for many centers with their #19 pick in first round but no takers. They did land Braden Schneider a tough big physical defenseman who will dominate and clear the crease. Have patience my friend. Lafreniere will be fine and live up to the Hype.

  • on another subject, The Isles blasted the Bruins 7-2 last night. Not good news for us….With a depleted defense, and host of other issue which I will not bring up for conversation, we pretty much are in deep this evening….Let us pray…

  • Put Lafren back with Chytil and Kakko, KEEP THEM TOGETHER through thick and thin, and just let them go.

    In other words, coach, stay out of the way.

  • Here’s the thing. You’re not just taking about a first round pick, you’re talking about a first overall pick. A guy whose juniors is mentioned in the same sentence as the likes of Crosby. I have zero doubt that Laf will find his way and be a great player in the league, but the bar has to be higher for a first overall pick.

  • Agreed. It is very sad some fans are impatient. Here we have our first overall draft pick and the #1 overall draft pick considered by most a Generational Franchise Superstar and fans. Not just some Rangers fans but Canadian fans who just hate New York and Rangers as they love Montreal, Ottawa, etc rip Lafreniere and say Lafreniere is a bum or a bust – Strutzle better. It is a crazy season unlike any other. Yet I do blame Coach Quinn for the way he’s coaching Kakko and Lafreniere. He just doesn’t get it.
    Example:
    Powerplay unit 1. Lafreniere and Kakko need to be used in key situations like Powerplay unit 1. You don’t play Colin Blackwell a Journey man 27 year old AHL PLAYER constantly. I laugh how Quinn says he wants Lafreniere to be the complete player he is capable of? Uhh? He’s a franchise superstar. He is not a piece of clay or project you are trying to develop. He has all the tools. Just got to play him in key situations like Powerplay unit 1. Inexcusable on Coach Quinn.

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