Rangers: Young star is proving doubters wrong with elite play

New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) scores the game winning goal in a shootout against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are finally witnessing the long-awaited breakout season by Alexis Lafreniere. The former 2020 first-overall pick has had a rocky start to his career, having only posted a season-high of 39 points throughout his entire entry-level contract.

Now 14 games into the 2023-24 season, Lafreniere has begun to prove everyone who doubted him wrong. The top six minutes seem to be exactly what the young star needed, as predicted.

Lafreniere had many doubters entering the season

After going scoreless in the 2022-23 playoffs, and then putting on a less-than-ideal performance this preseason, many fans began to question why Lafreniere remained with the Rangers. As a first-overall draft pick, expectations were very high.

There was much criticism being thrown his way, especially after this year’s preseason, but those doubters have clearly been proven wrong already.

The Rangers are expecting new career highs from Lafreniere

Fourteen games deep into the season, Lafreniere has managed to tally seven goals and 11 total points. The Rangers’ most recent matchup against Columbus saw the star net two goals in regulation, as well as the shootout winner.

Per EliteProsepcts, Lafreniere is currently on pace to rack up a whopping 41 goals and 64 total points by the end of the season. If this projection were to become reality, his previous career highs in both categories would be blown out of the water.

Lafreniere is currently on a four-game point streak in which he’s recorded seven points and will look to extend that streak on Saturday versus New Jersey.

The Rangers are loving Lafreniere’s production so far

Following the Rangers’ shootout victory against the Blue Jackets, star centerman Mika Zibanejad spoke highly of Lafreniere’s contributions thus far:

“Just seeing what he’s done this year has been a lot of fun. I’m really happy for him, too. You can tell he’s just playing. He’s doing the things that [are the] reason why everyone wanted him. I think he’s finding the balance and the confidence too with when he’s making a play and when he’s not.”

Mika Zibanejad via Mollie Walker of NY Post

Seeing the rest of the Blueshirts giving praise to Lafrneniere is a welcoming sight. Following all of the criticism thrown at the first overall pick and the pressure that comes with it, Lafreniere has certainly proved the haters wrong and deserves all of the praise being given at the moment.

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