Lafreniere's breakout leads to season success for the New York Rangers

May 20, 2024  (7:01 PM)

Laffy puck handling
Photo credit: amNewYork

Alexis Lafreniere was thought to be a bust by the majority of hockey media, for the past two seasons. He's shown glimpses of what made him a 1st round pick but had not found consistency until recently.

Lafreniere is a Quebec native who was picked 1st overall in the 2020 NHL Draft amid a Rangers rebuild. The weight of expectations for Lafreniere had to be heavy on his shoulders.
This season should quell all talk of a "bust" as he has helped propel the New York Ranger forward into the post-season, past the Carolina Hurricanes.
And hopefully, all burdens were lifted from Lafreniere's consciousness.
While only finishing his first season in the NHL as a 19-year-old, with 21 points( 12 G, 9 A) in 56 games he would increase his production yearly. He ended this season with a season-high 57 points(28 G, 29 A) this year.
«There's always, always a lot of pressure on these young guys to come in and have an impact right away," Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad said. «The way he's been working, the way he's believed in himself and just the way he's been able to work, it's been amazing.»

Lafreniere has matured nicely, despite his different and chaotic utilizations, including being on the "Kid Line" when Gallant was running the team. The line featured Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil and was highly popular with fans.

With Lafreniere's linemates, like Vinnie Troecheck scoring 77points ( 25 G, 52 A) and Artemi Panarin scoring 120 points( 49 G, 71 A) having career years, helped Lafreniere's production skyrocket and put him fourth on the team in goals, also sixth in assists and fifth in points.
«It's always fun to score, but I try to play a complete game," Lafrenière said. "Playing with Troch and ‘Bread' obviously helps a lot. You're just trying to get open and when you get a chance, try to finish.»

Lafreniere of course, lending his hand with 10 points( 4 G, 6 A) and adding his name to the roster of five players with double-digit points, including linemates: Artemi Panarin with 11 points( 4 G, 7 A) and Vinnie Troecheck with 14 points( 6 G, 8 A) with Troecheck and Panarin securing victory in key moments against the Hurricanes in overtime, in Games 2(Panarin) and 3(Troecheck).
«That line has been extremely productive for us, and he's a big part of that,» Laviolette said. «(Lafrenière) is playing with Artemi, who's proven to be one of the top players in the league, and (Trocheck) a workhorse in the middle that does an awful lot of things. But you can't discount what Laf does as well with his skill level and the way he's grown even throughout the course of this year. He just gets more confident and confident as the season grows and now as the playoffs grow.»

Chris Kreider who helped eliminate their foes from Carolina with a natural hat-trick had nothing but praise for Lafreniere:
«He's got unbelievable habits for a young guy,» he said. «Always shows up to the rink, the way he works on his craft, just wants to get better, wants to have an impact, wants to win. Unbelievable player, we're just incredibly happy to have him.»

Since Head Coach Laviolette arrived in New York, Lafreniere has turned up his production. Playing 92 games until the veteran coach, he has 67 points ( 32 G, 35 A) with 17:07 TOI during Laviolette's tenure.
The bust narrative should be put to rest, now and forever.
Source: Sportsnet
Lafreniere's breakout season helps Rangers reach East Final
MAY 20   |   154 ANSWERS
Lafreniere's breakout leads to season success for the New York Rangers

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