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Alexis Lafrenière: the Canucks are working (very) hard to acquire him

Since Alexis Lafrenière was drafted first overall in 2020, his professional career has been rather tumultuous. Being “taken” by a team that can’t make room for him in the top-6 seems to be hurting him a bit, while he still hasn’t hit his stride offensively.

39 points in 81 games isn’t “bad”, but for a first-round pick in his third season, it leaves something to be desired.

And after a difficult first round of the playoffs in which he failed to pick up a single point in seven games, some are wondering if his future really lies in New York. And recently, Rick Dhaliwal (who covers the Canucks) said that the Western outfit would be working hard to try and acquire the Quebec forward.

Our colleagues at HabsolumentFan made the find.

The easy link to make between Lafrenière and the Canucks is the presence of Émilie Castonguay in the Vancouver field hockey organization. Remember that she was Alexis Lafrenière’s agent before making the leap into a management role (she’s currently one of Patrik Allvin’s assistants) and could be pushing to try and bring her former client to town.

If there’s one person who can speak knowledgeably about Lafrenière, it’s probably her.

That said, there’s no indication that the Rangers are necessarily eager to part with the Quebecer. Elliotte Friedman doesn’t feel that way, at least, and stated a few weeks ago that he believes one of the missions of the team’s next coach will be to help Lafrenière get off the ground.

Will John Hynes, who seems to be the favorite at the moment and all in all has a good track record of developing youngsters, be hired with that in mind? The question arises.

Getting back to Dhaliwal, he also notes in his speech that the Canucks like to target such players. The club snapped up Vitali Kravtsov last year (which didn’t work out) and also had Kirby Dach in its sights a year ago before the latter came to Montreal.

Clearly, high draft picks who don’t live up to expectations with their home clubs seem to intrigue the Canucks (and the CH, for that matter).

With Vancouver, the forward would undoubtedly have more opportunities to get big playing time. That’s a problem for him in New York right now, and it’s hurting his development.

So we’ll see if a deal involving Lafreniere materializes between the Rangers and Canucks, but I’m personally skeptical. I don’t think the Rangers are ready to give up on him just yet, and we want to give him another chance to get comfortable.

But at the same time, this is no surprise in the world of the NHL.

In gusts

– I agree. To me, a signing like that can’t hurt (and Alex Belzile fits the same mold).

– Not a bad comparison.

– Logical.

– The Diamondbacks are surprising a lot of people this season. My text on the subject.

– Let’s hope he recovers well.

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