Who Is Alexis Lafreniere?
The Rangers got lucky and won the 2020 draft lottery, giving them the right to draft Alexis Lafreniere with the first overall pick. Expect Lafreniere to make an immediate impact. He scored 297 points in 173 with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.
He also won gold for Canada in the 2020 World Junior Championships. He was one of the most dynamic skaters in the Canadian junior season the last few years, and taking him with the top overall pick was a no-brainer.
Where Lafreniere will appear on the Rangers’ lineup remains unclear. But with his skills, he could enter the team’s second line on the first day of the season.
An Outstanding Offense
The Rangers’ offense is mostly intact from the previous season. The Rangers were one of the most proficient goal-scoring teams in the league last year, scoring 3.33 goals per game. Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, and Pavel Buchnevich are still on the team, while Tony DeAngelo and Adam Fox both make appealing supporting defensemen. The only significant subtraction came from Jesper Fast leaving for the Carolina Hurricanes.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 5, 2020
You can also expect Kaapo Kakko to have a breakout season. Last year’s second-overall pick, Kakko had 23 points in 66 games last season, but he had growing pains as he had a -26 plus/minus. Kakko should mature and become more proficient for the Blueshirts this season.
The Goaltending Question
The departure of longtime goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the Washington Capitals was not a surprise, as Alexander Georgiev has been conditioned to be the next goaltender for the team. Georgiev averaged more than three goals allowed per game last season, so his improvement will be critical to the Rangers’ success.
Igor Shesterkin will be the backup for the team, although he might compete to become the top option between the pipes. Shesterkin went 10-2 during the regular season, although some of his wins come off the Rangers’ offense. The Rangers’ goaltending situation needs to be sorted out before people can take that next step forward, but the offense will at least keep the pressure off.
Should You Bet on the Rangers?
The New York Rangers have plenty of great players worth watching in 2021. The Rangers will be looking to bring playoff hockey back to Madison Square Garden, but the goaltending will be an issue for the team. But with Alexis Lafreniere coming into the fold, the team’s rebuild has accelerated.
The Rangers will make for an interesting upset choice for your NHL betting plans. The Rangers have been improving in the last few years, and you can expect them to contend for a division title or at least a playoff spot.
*Odds are correct at time of writing.
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