Rangers should use Svechnikov’s deal with Canes as barometer for Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko

The Carolina Hurricanes agreed to terms Thursday with RFA Andrei Svechnikov on an eight-year, $62 million extension through the 2028-29 season. The deal will have an AAV of $7.75M against the cap and a modified 10 team no-trade clause starting in year five.

Per CapFriendly, the contract breakdown is as follows:

  • 2021-22: $2M base salary + $4M signing bonus
  • 22-23: $7M
  • 23-24: $9M
  • 24-25: $9M
  • 25-26: $10M (M-NTC)
  • 26-27: $7M (M-NTC)
  • 27-28: $6M (M-NTC)
  • 28-29: $8M (M-NTC)

Svechnikov’s deal is exactly what the New York Rangers need to begin considering for Alexis Lafrenière and to a lesser degree Kaapo Kakko.

Rangers young forwards to consider for long term deals

Svechnikov, 21, has 140 points (59 goals, 81 assists) in 205 games since the Hurricanes made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Last season was his best registering 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 55 games.

His points per game average since his rookie season in 2018-19 are .45, .89, and .76. His career points per game average is .68. These are solid numbers and certainly a benchmark for some of the Blueshirts young stars up front.

In 2019, the Rangers selected Kaapo Kakko second overall and he’s often drawn parallels to Svechnikov. Production wise, Kakko has not even come close to his numbers. Kakko’s points per game average in his rookie season was .34 and .35 for his sophomore season last year. That’s why the Rangers are unlikely to go long term on the 20 year-old unless he explodes in the final year of his ELC.

alexis lafreniere
Mar 19, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Hartford Wolf Pack and acting New York Rangers head coach Kris Knoblauch (L) looks on from behind the bench against the New York Rangers in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alexis Lafrenière is a player the Rangers should consider locking up long term if he can improve on his .37 points per game average in his rookie year.

Heading into the 2021-22 campaign, expectations are high for the soon to be 20 year-old forward. He’s projected to play on one of the top two lines at either left or right wing. Furthermore, he should see more power play time this season as well.

If Lafrenière can flirt with the 60 point mark in his sophomore season that would be good for .73 points per game. Right along the lines of where Svechnikov was producing.

Locking up young stars long term is the way to go

The salary cap is projected to go up to $82.5 million next season. This is promising news considering some saw the cap staying flat at $81.5M until 2025. Regardless, teams must be cap smart and the Rangers in particular need to be more so because of all their young talent.

Adam Fox is due for an extension next summer and he is expected to get an 8 year deal in the $9M range. Artemi Panarin is in at over $11M, and who knows if Mika Zibanejad’s next deal is going to hit $10M or not. Still, it would be wise to lock up a potential superstar like Lafrenière for under $8M, especially if he reaches a point a game potential by the time his ELC expires in 2023.

There’s risk involved in being too aggressive with a young player’s contract or being too passive. That’s why the Blueshirts are interested in locking up Fox now instead of waiting for his ELC to expire in the summer. Imagine how much more he will command if he picks up another Norris Trophy? He wouldn’t sign for less than $10M at that point.

Winning in the NHL is not just about having the talent but also what that talent costs against the cap. The Tampa Bay Lightning are a prime example of identifying young top players and giving them long term deals to try and keep costs down.

It’s a difficult thing to manage but something the Rangers need to start planning for with this talented group.

NHL Trade Bait Board

In this edition we’ve added the Flyers Claude Giroux to the list. Although the Flyers sound optimistic; they will not negotiate until the end of the season.

The other big news to report on Eichel is he fired his old agents and is now represented by Pat Brisson; one of the NHL’s top agents. Read More!