Rangers want to keep Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller a long, long time
Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury met with the media on Saturday after making several key low-cost free agents signings. After speaking about the additions of veterans Blake Wheeler, Tyler Pitlick, and Jonathan Quick, he addressed rumors the Rangers were shopping restricted free agent Alexis Lafreniere.
“I have not talked to one GM about Alexis,” Drury stated via NHL.com. “He’s a real good young player and we think his best days are certainly ahead of him. We’re thrilled he’s a part of our team and hope he’s a Ranger for a long, long time. So, that’s a completely false report.”
Fellow RFA K’Andre Miller received some similar assurances after being asked how contract negotiations are going.
“I’m not going to get into contract stuff, but we think the world of K’Andre,” Drury said on NHL.com. “He’s extremely talented, a terrific young player. He’s been with the organization since the draft and we hope he’s here for a long, long time.”
Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller
Lafreniere, 21, registered 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points in 81 games last season. After a midseason healthy scratch, speculation began to swirl that the Rangers would possibly move him with the Vancouver Canucks being a likely destination.
Much like yesterday, the Blueshirts shut that noise down.
“Predictably, there were teams that checked in with the Rangers last week after his healthy scratch,” TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported in January. “The reality is the Rangers told those teams, ‘We still believe in this young man,’ and the Rangers have told the same to Lafreniere himself. They hope this is a good reset and they very much believe in his longterm potential. So for now he’s certainly a Ranger.”
For his career, Lafreniere has posted just 91 points in 216 regular-season games which is low for a first-overall pick and why these rumors persist. Multiple sources believe Lafreniere is in line for a similar bridge deal that Kappo Kakko signed last summer in the neighborhood of two-years and $2.1 million AAV.
Miller, 23, picked up a career-high 43 points in 79 games on the strength of 9 goals and 34 helpers in 2022-23. His eye-opening play caught the eye of former Ranger and NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp.
“He’s got that skating ability and reach,” Rupp told Forever Blueshirts. “He shouldn’t forget the advantages he has with his size and K’Andre can start flexing that a little bit more.”
The Rangers, who are up against the salary cap are hoping to get Miller on a multi-year deal with an AAV under $4 million.