Rangers reportedly unlikely to sign 2023 breakout star to extension this offseason

May 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) skates against the Florida Panthers during the third period of game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have some massive contract extensions on the horizon. While there was speculation they could move to get some deals done sooner rather than later, a recent report suggests they are in no hurry to extend breakout star Alexis Lafreniere to an extension this summer.

Rangers and Alexis Lafreniere will reportedly wait on a contract extension

May 11, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafrenière (13) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Lafreniere experienced a breakout this season playing on the Rangers’ second line. He went from being a potential first-overall bust trapped in the team’s bottom six to a core member of their top six. Despite his rise to prominence, New York is unlikely to tie him down with a contract extension this summer, per Vince Mercogliano of Lohud:

“Rangers team president Chris Drury has a lot on his plate this offseason, but signing breakout winger Alexis Lafrenie?re to an extension doesn’t appear to be on the to-do list,” Mercogliano wrote. “All indications are that the two sides will hold off on negotiations until next summer, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke to lohud.com, part of the USA TODAY Network.”

According to Mercogliano, Lafreniere is planning to bet on himself. Despite a career-high 57 points last season, Lafreniere is anticipating an even more productive 2024-25 season, which could allow him to cash in for an even greater sum next summer:

“The No. 1 overall pick from the 2020 NHL Draft is preparing to make a strategic bet that his career-high 57-point season was only the beginning,” Mercogliano wrote. “And if he takes another step forward next season, he’ll be in position to command an even bigger payday.”

Lafreniere has earned himself an extension

New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) and left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrate after Panarin scored a goal against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena
Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Lafreniere established himself as one of the Blueshirts’ core stars this season. His career-high 57 points (28 goals and 29 assists) paired with a career-high in average time on ice (17:16) and led to a spectacular postseason from the 22-year-old. He totaled 14 points in 16 postseason games as one of the Rangers’ top performers during their playoff run.

Lafreniere signed a two-year bridge deal just last offseason which will make him a restricted free agent in 2025. He will be eligible for an extension on July 1st, but both sides seem content with waiting until next summer to negotiate a new deal.

The Rangers will want to keep Lafreniere around long-term, but holding off on signing him to an extension will allow general manager Chris Drury to focus on adding even more talent to the top six and hopefully making another run at the Stanley Cup this season.

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