Alexis Lafrenière has never been to New York, but that’s about to change.
The Rangers announced on Monday that they have signed the No. 1 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft to an entry-level contract. According to Cap Friendly, it is for the entry-level max at $3.775 million AAV ($11.325 million total) with a cap hit of $925,000.
“It was a really easy process and we worked with his agency and got things done really quick here,” general manager Jeff Gorton said on a Zoom with reporters. “Obviously, we’re really excited about getting him signed and becoming a Ranger and everything that goes along with it. Looking forward to the first time we can see him on the ice.”
When that will be may be very soon. Lafrenière could be in the Big Apple as soon as November to prepare for training camp, Gorton said. He will not return to juniors despite the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season already underway. Last season with Rimouski, he posted 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games — best in the league. Over the course of 173 career games with the Oceanic, he registered 114 goals and 183 assists.
WORLD JUNIORS: Lafrenière’s best moments as MVP | Lafrenière leads Canada to gold
Gorton added that while the future is still uncertain, and the recent date of Jan. 1 as the start of the new season is still iffy, there have been some discussions regarding his playing for Canada at World Juniors in December. In 2020, Lafrenière was the tournament’s MVP as he led the Canadians to the gold medal.
“We’re talking about those scenarios and what’s going to happen,” he said. “Right now our focus is, get him here as soon as we can and have him start training and be here and start focusing on the NHL season and then we’ll take it as far as it comes as far as the world junior or any other situation that might come up.”
“It was an unreal feeling,” Lafrenière said after his selection last week. “The New York Rangers, a great organization and for me, I’m really honored to join them and when I heard my name it was — we’ve been waiting for a long time — so it was something really special for me and for my family. We’re all really excited.”
Who is Alexis Lafrenière? More on the Rangers’ No. 1 overall pick
Lafrenière brings a highly skilled yet physical game to Broadway. He has a high hockey IQ, silky mitts and an insane ability to put the puck in the back of the net. The reigning Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Year, he’s also a back-to-back winner of the QMJHL’s MVP award. The last guy to do that? Former fellow Rimouski star Sidney Crosby (2004-05). But don’t compare him to the Penguins captain.
“For me, I’m really trying to focus on myself and on getting better,” Lafrenière said Oct. 6. “I don’t think I’m Sidney Crosby. I’m really focusing on getting better as a player and, obviously, Crosby is a different level, I think.
“I think I’ll just try to improve as a player and keep getting better and I’m really excited to see New York fans and come to New York.”
Now on Broadway, Lafrenière had to make the next biggest decision of his young NHL career: selecting a number. While he’s sported No. 22 for Canada, his normal number of choice is 11; however, that is unavailable in New York as No. 11 number is hanging in the rafters for Mark Messier. The rookie opted for a number worn by eight former players including Stanley Cup champion Sergei Nemchinov, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Zherdev, Daniel Carcillo and most recently Kevin Hayes.
Meet Alexis Lafrenière — the newest No. 13 for the Blueshirts.
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