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Rangers: A new coach specifically for Alexis Lafrenière?

There’ll be no hiding places.

Alexis Lafrenière has been a bit of a disappointment in the playoffs, being blanked in all seven games of the New York Rangers’ first-round showdown with the New Jersey Devils.

But hey. In fact, the Quebecer has been good this season, with 39 points in 81 games, and what’s most striking is that he’s been steadily improving since the start of his NHL career.

His development may take a little longer than expected, but you know what? These things happen. It took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 12 seasons to break the 70-point barrier…

And let’s just say that RNH really came out of its shell this season with a 104-point haul. There are other examples, but you get the idea.

All this to say that we still have to be patient with him because he’s only 21. It’s often said, however, that he’s not in the right chair in New York and that he deserves more playing time to make his mark…

And things could change with the hiring of the team’s new head coach. Gerard Gallant’s dismissal leads Elliotte Friedman to believe that the next man in New York will be asked how he can “make things work” with Artemi Panarin, but especially with Lafrenière.

The Sportsnet tipster added another layer, saying he doesn’t think the Rangers want to trade him.

Obviously, the Rangers still have faith in him, and that’s just fine. That doesn’t mean Chris Drury (GM) won’t listen to offers if he ever gets calls…

And it doesn’t mean that the future of Lafrenière, who must sign a new contract this summer, is guaranteed in the Big Apple.

I get the impression that they’re trying to give the first pick in the 2020 draft a real chance to blossom, and that means giving him plenty of playing time.

If things don’t work out, at least the Rangers will have tried. If it doesn’t…

If the Rangers trade him and he explodes elsewhere, they’ll be the ones biting their fingers.

The fact that the organization is “giving the 21-year-old a vote of confidence” is only good news for his development.

In bursts

– It’s true that it doesn’t look like much is changing this year.

– I’m already excited.

– That much?

– He doesn’t make too much noise, but he’s still a leader on this team.

– I love Paul Maurice and his ability to talk to reporters.

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