It was with great excitement the New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The organization and its fans were sure they’d found their new franchise superstar, but so far, it’s tough to argue against him being a bust. He’s three years into his NHL career, and honestly, it’s been disappointing.
The Rangers have a star-filled roster, with offensive weapons such as Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, as well as great defensive players like Adam Fox. But their depth has been a disappointment, and most of the blame has fallen on Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko.
Lafreniere has played 216 games in the NHL so far but only managed to score 47 goals and 91 points. Fans had hoped this would finally be his breakout season, but it hasn’t looked all that great during the pre-season, at least according to one of the most prominent Rangers reporters.
In a new column in the NY Post, Larry Brooks slams Lafreniere and his work during pre-season. Brooks said that although Laf looked sharper in Rangers’ pre-season game against the Devils on Wednesday, he hasn’t impressed.
”But until then, the truth that No. 13 had not earned a top-six assignment through his work through training camp was self-evident. One can argue that the lad from Saint-Eustache has not even earned a spot on the roster,” he said in his column.
Brooks continues to say that he ’cannot believe what he saw.’
”It’s not that Lafreniere — who will turn 22 the day before the Oct. 12 opener in Buffalo — hasn’t looked like a first-overall draft selection on the verge of a breakout season, it’s that for the most part Lafreniere has looked like an undrafted invitee to training camp on a tryout. Matt Rempe — a sixth-round pick in 2020 — made more of a positive impression before he was sent out to Hartford last weekend.”
Lafreniere had one assist in four exhibition games, and Brooks can’t figure out why it’s not working for him.
”Again, Lafreniere has not earned a top-six spot. He has seemed paralyzed. My best information is that the Rangers were pleased with his results on his testing on and off the ice. There is no indication that he was lazy over the summer. But his work has not translated onto the ice,” he says.
However, according to Brooks, Lafreniere has never asked out of the Rangers during his time in New York, and he still believes the Rangers will keep on pushing to make it work and for him to get a top-six role.