October 12, 2020

Rangers waste no time, sign Alexis Lafreniere to contract and will wear 13

NYC loves Lafreniere (Getty Images)

The New York Rangers wasted no time ins inking their prized acquisition of the offseason. When the Blueshirts made their first overall selection at the draft it was a longtime coming. New York last selected first overall in 1965.

Now the Rangers have signed Alexis Lafreniere to his entry level contract. Per Cap Friendly, Lafreniere is signing for the max $925K plus full performance bonuses with a potential final AAV of $3.775 million.

Rangers sign Alexis Lafreniere: FULL PRESS RELEASE

Rangers sign Alexis Lafreniere
Lafreniere is a NYR (SN)

NEW YORK, October 12, 2020 – The New York Rangers announced today that the team has agreed to terms with Alexis Lafrenière on an entry-level contract.

Lafrenière, 19 (he turned 19 years old yesterday), skated in 52 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this past season, registering 35 goals and 77 assists for 112 points, along with a plus-41 rating and 50 penalty minutes. He received several awards in 2019-20; he was named the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Year, received the Michel Briere Trophy as the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player, received the Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL’s Best Professional Prospect, received the Paul Dumont Trophy as the QMJHL’s Personality of the Year (which recognizes an individual who had a positive media impact and helped improve the league’s image during a season), and won the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the QMJHL’s leading point scorer. Lafrenière led the QMJHL in points and assists, tied for fifth in the league in shots on goal (261), ranked eighth in the QMJHL in plus/minus rating, and tied for 10th in the league in goals this past season. He averaged 2.15 points per game in 2019-20, becoming the first QMJHL player to average at least 2.15 points per game in a season (min. 20 games played) since Jonathan Drouin in 2013-14 (2.35), as well as the first player in any of the three Canadian Major Junior Hockey Leagues (Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League) to average at least 2.15 points per game in a season (min. 20 games played) since Connor McDavid in 2014-15 (2.55).

The 6-2, 193-pounder has skated in 173 career QMJHL games over three seasons (2017-18 – 2019-20), all with Rimouski, registering 114 goals and 183 assists for 297 points, along with a plus-128 rating and 176 penalty minutes. Lafrenière was named the CHL Player of the Year, the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player, and the QMJHL’s Personality of the Year in each of the last two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20); the only other player who has won each of those awards twice is Sidney Crosby. He has recorded 80 or more points in each of his three seasons in the QMJHL, including 100 or more points in two of those seasons, and he has also registered 35 or more goals in each of his three seasons in the league. Lafrenière has been named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team in each of his three seasons in the league, including his rookie season in 2017-18, when he was named the CHL Rookie of the Year and the QMJHL Rookie of the Year and registered a QMJHL career-high 42 goals in 60 games. His 42 goals in 2017-18 were the most by a QMJHL player in his U17 season or younger since Crosby (54 in 2003-04). In addition, since 2003-04, Lafrenière is one of only five players in the three Canadian Major Junior Hockey Leagues who have recorded 40 or more goals in a season while playing in his U17 season or younger (along with Crosby, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, and Steven Stamkos). He was selected by Rimouski with the first overall pick in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Internationally, the Saint-Eustache, Quebec native has represented Canada in numerous tournaments and has helped Canada earn several medals. Lafrenière registered 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games while helping Canada win a gold medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he was named the Most Valuable Player and the Best Forward of the tournament. He also helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, as he tallied 11 points (five goals, six assists) in five games and served as the team’s captain in the tournament. Lafrenière recorded one goal in five games at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and became the ninth-youngest player to make Team Canada’s roster in the history of the IIHF World Junior Championship; the only players younger were Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros, Connor McDavid, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Kariya, and Mike Ricci. Lafrenière also helped Canada-Red earn a silver medal at the 2017 World U17 Hockey Challenge, registering six points (three goals, three assists) in six games.

Lafrenière was selected by the Rangers with the first overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He is the first player who has been selected by the Rangers with the first overall pick in the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft since the universal Draft was adopted in 1969 (in which all junior players of qualifying age were eligible for selection). Entering the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Lafrenière was ranked No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the Draft. He became the first Quebec-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft since Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003, as well as the first Quebec-born skater to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft since Vincent Lecavalier in 1998. Lafrenière also became the first Canadian-born player to be selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft since Connor McDavid in 2015. Over the last 20 years, he is one of five players listed as a left wing who has been selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft (Ilya Kovalchuk – 2001; Rick Nash – 2002; Alex Ovechkin – 2004; Taylor Hall – 2010).

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