[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (2023)

Alexis Lafrenière, selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL draft, was onemuch praised left wingafter a successful junior career. He looked certain to be a star at what was then a rebuilding club.

Three years into his NHL career, however, stardom remains elusive for the 21-year-old. A born left winger, he couldn't move up a roster with stars like Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider already in that position. Attempts to make him a right winger have so far proved unsuccessful.

It is still too early to declare Lafrenière conscription. While mainly on the third line with fellow youngsters Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil, he has scored a respectable 19 goals and 31 points in 2021-22 this season and 39 points in 81 games.

Yet much more was expected of Lafrenière given his attacking skills and potential.

He is a restricted free agent coming from himentry-level kontrakt. During the Rangers' first round matchup with the New Jersey Devils, The Athletic's Arthur Staplesuggestedhe could become a trade candidate if the team decides to make changes. After that series wasNew York Postalso Mollie Walkerasked questionsabout his future.

Giving up on Lafrenière just three years into his NHL career seems rash. It could backfire on New York if he gains stardom elsewhere, especially if it doesn't bring him quality returns on the trade market.

However, salary restrictions can be a decisive factor. The Rangers have an estimated cap hit of $11.8 millionfor 2023-24with 14 active selection players under contract. Like Lafrenière, defenseman K'Andre Miller is a restricted free agent and needs a new contract. They also need to address their ongoing depth issues at right wing.

The Rangers could sell Lafrenière in a trade package, hoping to bring in an established scorer on the right wing. They could also consider acquiring a younger goalscoring winger on an affordable contract.

Here's a look at five potential trade destinations for Lafrenière. Feel free to express your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (1)Normzaal/NHLI via Getty Images

Thanks to their continuing arena saga, the Arizona Coyotes face an uncertain future in their current market.

Meanwhile, general manager Bill Armstrong continues to rebuild the team's roster by trading veterans for draft picks and prospects.

Lafrenière could be a tempting target for the rebuilding Coyotes. At 21, he is the right age to fit into their long-term plans. He could skateFirst linewith Clayton Keller on the right wing or on their second line with center Barrett Hayton.

Nick Schmaltz could be the next Coyote that Armstrong shops. He is a skilled playmaker who can play both in the center and on the right wingtrade rumoursthis season. He still has three years lefton his contractwith an average annual value of $5.9 million with a 10-team no-trade clause effective July 1.

However, his contract has also been extended. He will earn $7.5 million in actual salary for next season, followed by $8.5 million for each of the final two seasons. That led to speculation that the price-conscious Coyotes might prefer to move him.

The Rangers may have no qualms about paying the 27-year-old's actual salary, but they may prefer the Coyotes retain some of his annual median.

Despite his injury history, Schmaltz is a proven producer with 59 points in 63 games in 2021-22 and 58 points in the same number of games this season.

[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (2)Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

It didn't take long for changes to come to the Calgary Flames after missing the playoffs this season. Brad Trelivingquitas general manager last month and head coach Darryl Sutter was firedon 1 May.

Whoever replaces Treliving needs to take some cost-cutting measures. The Flames currently have just $1.3 million in projected salary cap space with 18 players under contractfor 2023-24.

This could be an opportunity for the Rangers to use Lafrenière as trade bait to pluck a righty from Calgary. Tyler Toffoli is coming off a career-best 34 goals and 73 points and has an affordable $4.25 million cap hit. One downside is that the 31-year-old will be eligible for unrestricted free-agent status in July.

If the Rangers prefer a younger option, they could look to acquire Andrew Mangiapane. The 27-year-old's production was lower this season with 17 goals and 43 points. However, he scored 35 goals and 55 points last year and could regain his scoring ability in New York. He is signed through 2024-25 at an average annual value of $5.8 million.

Calgary's next GM could be interested in hiring an affordable young lefty with an edge like Lafrenière. With the Rangers in "win-now" mode, they may be more receptive to Toffoli given his contract and playoff experience.

[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (3)Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have been rebuilding since 2021-2022 under the leadership of executive vice president Jeff Gorton and general manager Kent Hughes.

A promising young player like Lafrenière could be attractive if the Rangers decide to trade him. In fact, Gorton was the Rangers general manager who selected the young winger firstthree years ago.

Hailing from Sainte-Eustache, a suburb of Montreal, Lafrenière could be a good fit for the Canadiens. Head coach Martin St. Louis has developed his young players well and was able to bring out the best in the winger.

Lafrenière would have the chance to skate on his natural left wing and perhaps challenge Cole Caufield forrole in the first line.

Mike Hoffman, 33, currently fills the second line left wing role for the Canadiens. They could drop him to the third line to make room for Lafrenière, but 2022 first-round pick Juraj Slafkovský could play that role next season. With a year to goon his contractand a $4.5 million cap hit, the Canadiens could try to trade Hoffman in a separate deal.

The argument could be made that the Canadiens don't need Lafrenière since they already have Slafkovský. However, the Rangers winger can be a good insurance if the 19-year-old Slovak should find it difficult to live up to expectations.

Acquiring Lafrenière could mean the Canadiens send Josh Anderson the other way to fill the Rangers' need at right wing. The 29-year-old power forward has four years lefton his contractwith an annual ceiling of DKK 5.5 million.

However, pulling it out could force the Blueshirts to shed some additional salary unless the Habs retain some of Anderson's cap hit.

[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (4)Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After several disappointing seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers replaced Chuck Fletcher as general manager with Daniel Brière.

After his appointment, the 45-year-old hasindicatedthat he intends to rebuild the guard from this offseason.

Den 22. marts, Sam Carchidi fra Philly Hockey NownoticedThe Flyers have some depth at right wing with Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, Owen Tippett, Tyson Foerster, Wade Allison and Bobby Brink. He wondered if any of them could be traded to add depth to their roster elsewhere, including left wing.

Perhaps Brière is looking to see if the Rangers are willing to move Lafrenière to a division rival. He wanted the fresh start and the chance to regain form. He would play for a demanding head coach in John Tortorella, but could become a player who thrives under his tutelage.

The Rangers probably won't be interested in Cam Atkinson. The 33-year-old has aCap hit of $5.9 millionthrough 2024-25, but missed this entire season to recovernakkeoperation. Foerster, Allison and Brink have yet to fully establish themselves as top-six talents, while Brière may prefer to keep 24-year-old Tippett.

However, Konecny ​​could be attractive to the Rangers. He still has two years left on his contract at a reasonable $5.5 million per year. The flamboyant 26-year-old scored a career-best 31 goals and matched his career-best 61 points in just 60 games this season.

Brière could consider moving him if he does not fit into the club's rebuilding plans.

[Speculation] 5 trades and landing spots for Rangers winger Alexis Lafrenière (5)Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

With a cap hit of $84.2 millionfor 2023-24, the Vancouver Canucks are already over the projected cap hit of $83.5 million. They could get some cap relief if Tanner Pearson or Ilya Mikheyev remain on long-term injured reserve, but they're more likely to try to shed some payroll.

Canucks right winger Brock Boeser has been a fixture in trade rumors this season. During his interview at the end of the season, he saidindicatedthat he loved playing in Vancouver and didn't want to be traded. However, the 26-year-old has a $6.7 million cap hit through 2024-2025 that management may try to trade to make room for other moves.

During a May 6 appearance on the Sekeres and Price podcast, CHEK-TV's Rick Dhaliwalpointed outThe Canucks tried to add younger talent this season. He said they are looking into Lafrenière's takeover and noted his former agent is Émilie Castonguay, Vancouver's assistant general manager.

Dhaliwal believes the Canucks plan to shed some salary this summer, suggesting Boeser could be one of their trade candidates. The 26-year-old right winger could help the Rangers fill their need at the position, while the affordable Lafrenière would be just the type of return the Canucks need to cut costs and get younger.

It would be difficult to get dollars to suit the Rangers. They are unlikely to absorb Boeser's full cap hit, but the Canucks may not be willing to retain his salary. An additional cost saving agreement from Blueshirts may be required for this to work.

Salary cap info and line combinations viaCap friendly.


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