“He loves hockey, he loves to win, he enjoys people and he has zero issues in the headlines,” said Rennie, who oversees four Canadian national teams, the Rangers’ projected first-overall in Tuesday’s draft. Pique included, told The Post. “From his hockey abilities to his personality, he is almost made for New York. This is really good. ”
The Rangers have previously selected 309 forwards since the inception of the universal draft since 1969. Steve Vickers, elected 10th overall in 1971, is the only player to win the Kelder Trophy. None of the NHL first All-Star teams have been selected. Lafreniere, who separated himself from the unusually strong draft class, could be a trend-buster.
“As a player, he’s the kind of guy who can’t dazzle you personally the way Connor McDavid does, but he’s extremely skilled, and suddenly there he is with two or three points and You know all five guys are looking good because of this baby snow, “said René, who was behind the back for the Blueshirts’ immediate hat-era revival. He said,” He’s the kind of player .
“He makes his teammates better. Connor is a great, great player, and Alexis Conor is not McDavid, I’m not saying that. But when Alexis is on the ice, four others are about to touch the puck and lift the debris that he creates. This is part of his personality. He wants to be a leader and believes that improving his teammates is an important part of leadership. ”
Lafreniere, who turned 19 on Sunday, recorded a QMJHL-leading 112 points (35–57) last season. The Rangers don’t want to unnecessarily push him and add to the burden that the first-overall pick has with the celebrity, but he must compete for the top six spot out of the hopper. If Chris Kreider goes to the right and takes Artemi Panarin skates with Aarti Strom (if signed) or Philipp Chitil, Lafreniore could probably skate in a row with Mika Jibnazad. But he is at least three months away.
Renee first faced Lafreniere in 2017, playing for Team Canada’s Under-17 team. At just 16, Lafrenner posted six points (3-3) in six matches, and was one point away from the team lead shared by Xavier Parent, Ryan Suzuki and. Dylan Cogens. Draft eligibles Dylan Holloway and Justin Barone, who might interest the Rangers in 22nd place, were also in that team.
“I remember him well as a 16-year-old with that team,” said René, who hails from Calgary. “He was good. He knows his talent and he knows his potential but he’s not over the top with it. He’s not obnoxious about it.
“He respects his colleagues. This is one of his great characteristics as a leader. When he was 16 years old on that team, he considered him an experienced, more experienced player and respected him. You can see it the way he interacts with them. It means a lot to me. ”
Lafreniere played for Team Canada’s Under-18 team and then competed in the World Juniors twice. At last year’s tournament, already ranked first among draft eligibility, Lafreniere showed a significant injury to his left knee during the preliminary round defeat to Russia. It was feared that he would be sidelined at least for the remainder of the tournament.
“Right away, he was insisting that he come back,” Renee said. “We are thinking that it could happen sideways and we certainly would not put any pressure on him to play. We were definitely not going to jeopardize his career.
“We left it to Alexis, her family and her agent [Emilie Castonguay]. she called. He would have included himself in the lineup. ”
Lafreniere missed two games. He returned for the quarter-finals. Team Canada won the gold, defeating Russia 4–3 and falling to 3–1 in their team’s third period rally in the final.
“I can repeat myself, but this is a quality kid and a very good young hockey player,” Rainey said. “He is polite, he protects and shares praise. He is bilingual and fluent in both English and French. He is an easygoing conversation.
“He’s a winner. It may take him some time to grow into that role in the NHL, but he’s on the right track. New York is going to be very happy with him.”