Some believe he will be traded, others reports that the New York Rangers are not actively looking to move forward Alexis Lafreniere.
One thing is clear however: ever since he was a healthy scratch for the Blue Shirts last week, trade chatter emerged on whether or not Lafrenière could need a change of scenery to meet the expectations all had for him as the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
There were hints that the relationship between Lafrenière and head coach Gerard Gallant was strained, however the bench boss spoke to Jean-François Chaumont of Le Journal de Montreal on Thursday ahead of the Rangers’ game against the Canadiens in Montreal, and explained exactly what happened with his forward, that unfortunately led to all these trade speculations. This is translated from French:
“’Laffy’ is 21, he still has a lot of time to grow. There are young players who become big stars immediately, like Crosby. I have no problem with Laffy. We are happy with his development, he will be a good player in the NHL.
“You should ask him the question to find out what type of player he is. He would like to score 50 NHL goals a season and it could happen, but it won’t happen now. I have confidence in him, he will be a very good player in the NHL.”
When Chaumont asked Lafrenière about his struggles this season, the forward echoed what his head coach has mentioned before him. Also translated from French:
“There are ups and downs. I have had good times and bad times. I didn’t know what to expect when I started playing in the NHL. I still have to adjust, I’m still young. There are several veterans with the Rangers. I can learn from them to know what they do to remain consistent.”
There are less than two months left for Lafrenière to prove to Gallant and GM Chris Drury that he got the message when he was scratched and can be the player they know he can be.
However on Thursday against the Canadiens, Lafrenière did not impress : he shot only once at the net and did not record a point, ended the night with a +1 rating in just over 13 minutes of ice time in a 4-1 victory.
Don’t know how patient Gallant will be and how it will impact the Rangers’ plan for the trade deadline…
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