Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere not concerned with trade rumors as contract negotiations continue

The business side of hockey can be a grueling endeavor. New York Rangers LW Alexis Lafreniere a restricted free agent, is feeling how tough things can be.

While Lafreniere’s agent and his Rangers general manager Chris Drury try to work out a new contract, the 21-year-old Canadian is fighting to keep his attention away from swirling trade rumors.

A first-round draft pick in 2020, Lafreniere has had what can be described as a “fair’ first three years in the NHL.

He has played in 216 games but has produced only 91 points (47 goals, 44 assists). That is not to say he hasn’t improved over this period of time; Lafreniere had career-highs in assists, 23, and points, 39, last season.

His entry-level contract ended after the past season and, on a team with very little salary cap space ($6.17 million per CapFriendly) the trade rumors have picked up steam for the St-Eustache, Quebec native.

Alexis Lafreniere not worrying about the rumors, still happy with the Rangers

Lafreniere spoke with Jean-Francois Chaumont of Le Journal De Montreal recently via a cell phone in between shots at a fundraising golf event in Lachute, Quebec, Canada.

“I don’t worry about rumors. There are often rumors. I can’t stress myself with that. I remain very happy with the Rangers.”

Jean-Francois Chaumont

The rumors started following a report by The Athletic, indicating that the Rangers were quietly feeling out offers for the forward.

Rangers GM Chris Drury denies trade rumors

General manager Chris Drury Publically denied claims that he was looking to trade Lafreniere. The two have spoken since the season ended as was confirmed by Laffy himself.

“Yes, I talked with Chris [Drury], our general manager,” he said. “I know that the negotiations are going well. I remain confident. I keep a day-to-day mentality. I am confident that we will find an agreement, I don’t control this portion too much. We’ll see.”

With such a tight salary cap, Lafreniere could sign a bridge deal now and then hope to land a “payday” contract in two years.

Lafreniere looking to play with more confidence this season

He has played on the popular “Kid Line,” along with Filip Chytil and Kappo Kakko. Under former coach Gerard Gallant, the trio was relied on often, though their average time on ice was typically under 15 minutes.

Under new head coach Peter Laviolette, a coach known for giving younger players opportunities to play a larger role, Lafreniere will have the chance to become the player the organization saw prior to the 2020 NHL Draft.

Confidence is something Lafreniere has never lacked throughout his young career.

“I would like to know my best season next year,” I have confidence in my means and skills.”

RangersTown is looking forward to what Lafreniere can bring to the team when training camp begins in two months.

Follow Frank on Twitter at @RangerProud

Mentioned in this article:

More about: