Why the Rangers did not loan Alexis Lafreniere to Team Canada?

This year’s IIHF World Junior Championship is on the horizon. The New York Rangers have made the decision to not loan first-overall draft selection Alexis Lafreniere to Team Canada for the tournament.

Lafreniere, who was a standout in the international junior competition last year, will continue to “train locally and focus on his first NHL training camp,” according to Darren Dreger.

Why did the Rangers choose to not loan Lafreniere

The Rangers saw an injury risk that they deemed too great to allow Lafreniere to play in the tournament, a souce told Forever Blueshirts. Lafreniere sustained a left knee injury in last year’s tournament in a 6-0 blowout victory over Russia.

Alexis Lafreniere (CP)

Another reason could be related to a report by Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer.

Don Waddell, the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes said he believes that the team will play their homes games at PNC Arena “sometime in January”. He also added that the ongoing discussions between the NHL and NHLPA could be resolved in the coming days.

This belief could potentially be shared among other franchises. If that’s the case, it may be a reason as to why Lafreniere was not loaned to Team Canada. It would inference that the Rangers believe there will be hockey in January.

Speaking of “games,” what’s the latest on the season?

There is more good news regarding a potential upcoming season. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the NHL shared a 56-game schedule draft with the NHLPA that featured a Jan. 1 start date. But the two sides did discuss pushing that back.

January 1 is only 28 days away. So if the NHL wants to have a season start on that date, they will need to quickly work out COVID-19 protocols and other economic issues with the NHLPA. Seravalli noted that the NHL sharing a schedule with the NHLPA was one of the “most positive signs yet” that there will be a 2021 season.

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