First : the bad news. The New York Rangers will be without the services of star player Artemi Panarin tonight, as they face the Boston Bruins, he who is sidelined with a lower-body injury. While head coach David Quinn mentioned that he doesn’t think this will be a long-term issue, and that Panarin is “day-to-day”, the good news comes to rookie Alexis Lafreniere, who’s getting a huge promotion.
The first overall pick at the 2020 NHL Draft will move up into his spot and join Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko on the second line. The kid gets a chance to step up during Panarin’s absence.
Lafreniere will now get to play more meaningful minutes and prove that he is the quality player the Rangers selected first overall.
When the young forward struggled in his first few games on NHL ice, fans were quick to call him a fourth liner at best and even a bust! While Quinn often talks about Lafrenière’s maturity and swagger, his physical play and his smarts, he has not given him a consistent chance to make a difference. That’s mostly because the bench boss can trust Panarin.
Without him, Lafreniere gets a huge part of the stage and might be able to show the Rangers what he is made of.
Let’s see if Lafreniere can make the best of this bad news in New York City.