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Alexis Lafrenière among the three favorites for the Conn-Smythe Trophy with the Rangers
Credit: Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jeff Gorton Chris Drury’s Rangers have won 10 of their 14 playoff games so far in 2024. They’ve managed to pick up every other game in Florida, although they’ve been outshot 37-23 and 40-23 in those two games, so this morning’s series between the Blue Shirts and Panthers is tied 2-2.

Yes, Rangers fans can thank Matt Rempe… but they should especially thank Igor Shesterkin (10-4, 2.37 and .925), Vincent Trocheck (19 points in 14 games) and Alexis Lafrenière (13 points in 14 games). Without them, the Rangers would have run out of gas.

If the Rangers manage to eliminate the Panthers – two of the three games to be played will be in New York – Shesterkin, Trocheck and Lafrenière will be the three candidates for the Conn-Smythe Trophy on the New York side. And if they manage to win the Cup, one of these three guys is likely to lift two trophies, not just one.

Okay, Lafrenière’s odds will be lower than Shesterkin’s and Trocheck’s, but just mentioning his name in this conversation is a feat in itself. Especially when Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Adam Fox play for your club and an online betting site like Mise-o-Jeu always puts them ahead of you!

The first overall pick in 2021 collected seven goals and six assists in 14 playoff games. He had previously completed the regular season with 28 goals and 29 assists in 82 games.

Since he’s been on the show, he’s gone from 21 points to 31, then to 39, then to 57. #Progression

This week in Florida, he was clearly his team’s best forward, scoring two goals (including a real gem) on Sunday, and another last night.

Less than a year ago, many people in New York and Quebec were (already) calling Lafrenière a bust/flop. Even Larry Brooks thought Lafrenière didn’t even look like an NHLer last October…

Lafrenière is only 22. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the success or otherwise of a prospect drafted in the first round when he’s only 19 or 20. We can’t say it often enough: you have to be patient with high-level prospects.

A year ago, the Quebec media were already talking about trading two disappointing forwards for each other: Slafkovsky vs Lafrenière. Today, we’re talking about two prospects who have just taken a huge step forward in their respective careers, and the talk of a year ago just doesn’t hold water anymore. #Patience

Who knows, maybe Juraj Slafkovsky will be the Alexis Lafrenière of spring 2025 or 2026?

Lafrenière is currently spending the first year of his two-year bridge contract (average annual salary: $2.325 million). He forms an entire line alongside Panarin and Trocheck. If he keeps this up, he’ll break the bank in just over a year.

Because without Lafrenière and Shesterkin, the Rangers might already be on vacation this morning, swept aside by the Panthers on a mission.

The series between the Rangers and Panthers continues tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. Will Lafrenière score in a third consecutive game?


– Former Maple Leafs player heads for the KHL.

– Montreal CF will be looking to get back to winning ways tonight at the Stade.

– Interested?

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