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Hostile bid for Alexis Lafrenière: Rangers more vulnerable than ever

Yesterday afternoon, the Rangers settled one of the two major deals on their table by reaching an agreement with young defenseman K’Andre Miller. We’re talking about a two-year pact for $3.872 million a year, as my colleague Marc-Olivier Cook reported just over 24 hours ago.

Now, the other file to settle for the Rangers is that of a well-known guy in Quebec: Alexis Lafrenière is currently a restricted free-agent player and must sign a contract before the start of next season.

Currently, the Rangers have only $2.3 million (and counting) under the salary cap. That said, they are likely to bury an AHL contract (probably that of defenseman Connor Mackey), so they could probably find $3.1M for Lafrenière next year without too much trouble.

That said, if Alex Newhook is worth $2.9 million a year, Lafrenière is probably worth a bit more. But hey.

On the other hand, what you notice when you look a little further down the road is that there’s one scenario in which the Rangers are really handcuffed: the one in which a team makes a Jesperi Kotkaniemi-style hostile offer (one-year contract at a big salary, like $6.1 M) to the Quebec forward.

If this were to happen (and Lafrenière were to sign), it would probably force the Rangers to trade Barclay Goodrow. Since the Rangers would have their backs against the wall, and since he doesn’t have a very attractive contract ($3,641,447 per year for the next four seasons), the club could be forced to pay a hefty price to send him elsewhere.

Oh, I forgot: he can submit a list of 15 teams to which he refuses to be traded.

And even though he’ll have a second window to buy out contracts considering that Brandon Scanlin has requested salary arbitration, he won’t be able to buy out Goodrow’s contract, since the player must have an annual salary in excess of $4 million before he can be bought out.

So, submitting such an offer to Lafrenière could really put the Rangers in trouble. The scenario remains unlikely, but when there’s a hostile offer, it’s often part of a war between the CH and the Hurricanes when a club is in a vulnerable position.

I can’t wait to see if a team (like the Blackhawks, for example) dares to take the chance.


– We can take Greiss out of the mix now that he’s retired, but the others are still available.

– Not to be missed.

– Several defensemen have surprised on the offensive side of the ball this year.

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