The Rangers and Alexis Lafrenière gamble on the future in new deal

(Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers re-signed their 2020 first overall pick on Wednesday re-signing Alexis Lafrenière to a two year contract that runs through the 2024-25 season. For both the Rangers and Lafrenière this is a bit of gamble.

The Rangers and Alexis Lafrenière gamble on the future in new deal

The New York Rangers were lucky in 2020 when they won the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery and were able to draft Alexis Lafrenière with the first overall pick. At the time, Lafrenière looked like the consensus best prospect from the draft class, someone who would be a great winger in the NHL providing a top line role in the NHL. Now three seasons later and Lafrenière is signing a very underwhelming second contract for a first overall pick.

Lafrenière has a second contract very similar to Nail Yakupov, the 2012 first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers who ended up only playing 350 NHL games last playing with the Colorado Avalanche in 2018.

Yakupov’s second contract was a two year $5 million contract. That is better than what Lafrenière is getting in this deal. Alexis Lafrenière has not been the star player he was supposed to be when the Rangers drafted him. His best season offensively was this past year when he put up 39 points in 81 games.

In the three seasons he has played up to this point Lafrenière has scored 47 goals and registered 91 points over the course of 216 NHL games. That is fourth amongst his draft class behind Tim Stützle, Lucas Raymond and Dawson Mercer.

Lafrenière has had some big moments in the NHL, like this goal below, but overall he has struggled to be a consistent threat on the ice.

This is a gamble for the New York Rangers and Lafrenière. For starters, the Rangers are gambling Lafrenière’s trade value. There has to be a team right now that would consider adding the young forward, betting on a fresh start helping to restart his career. But two years from now if things do not improve for Lafrenière then it might be harder to sell him in a trade.

For Lafrenière, he is gambling on his future success with the Rangers. He has to find a way to make an impact, preferably in the top six on this team. Signing a two year contract gives two more seasons to reach another level, otherwise he could be heading to a career in the bottom six, a big drop off from where he was projected during his draft year.

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