The Rangers are now 5-7-3 (1-3-1 when I originally wrote this article). They are now sitting 7th in the East Division. What continues to be even more frustrating for Rangers fans, is that first-overall pick, Alexis Lafrenière, who has played in all fifteen games so far, has only 1 goal on 21 shots on goal, and is a minus-7 while averaging 14:31 in ice time. Calling this a “slow start” is by far an understatement. He is off to the worst start by a No.1 overall pick since Patrick Stefan in the 1999-2000 season – and in fact, is on pace for the worst start of all time. Heck, even Stefan had 3 goals and 7 points through his first 15 games. Scouts had Laffy expected to have a 60-point season in his rookie campaign and it looks like that’s far from a reality. Though the Rangers haven’t been the strongest team, his speed and stamina can be questioned not to mention the confidence playing a huge factor as well. People continue to argue he’s not playing with the expected line mates, on a healthy team, with the perfect scenario. But, he’s still struggling as a third liner?! If anything, he should be putting on a clinic as it’s very unlikely teams are lining up a shut-down line against the Rangers’ third line. Think about it – his speed and lack of stamina is already being questioned on a third line with less ice-time than most recent other No.1 NHL picks. Right?
Somehow, the puck below did not end up in the net!
Furthermore, what looked like to be the top goaltending tandem in the NHL with Shesterkin and Georgiev between the pipes, is questionable as the two goalies combined have allowed 14 goals against in 5 games – one of those games being a shutout. Georgiev has the better numbers so far with the Rangers’ only W which was also a shutout in 2GP so far.
Prior to the draft, I had suggested the Rangers trade that No.1 pick to Ottawa in exchange for Ottawa’s 3rd and 5th first-round picks. People laughed and suggested it was crazy to even think of such an idea. Well, Ottawa’s Tim Stützle so far has 1G in only two games played and No.5, Jake Sanderson, has 1G and 5 points in nine games played with the University of North Dakota. I know, it’s still early to make a conclusion as such – but so far, I still stand my ground. The Rangers would have benefitted much more with the No.3 and No.5 picks.
He’s had the time that’s for sure. Laffy is currently averaging 15:36 TOI with 10:40 average TOI on the PP. He’s had 6 recorded shots, 2 blocked shots, a minor penalty and a minus-2 rating. Still early, I know. But is Alexis Lafrenière what everyone was expecting to see? Or is the 19-year-old Quebec native perhaps not ready for the NHL?
Only time will tell here, but I certainly think the Rangers failed to address their needs and could have definitely traded this No.1 pick for a much greater return.