With the New York Rangers waiting to get a glimpse of Lafrenière in a Rangers uniform, what number will he wear?
For hockey stars, a uniform number is important. Everyone knows that Wayne Gretzky was #99. Mario Lemieux wore #66. Sidney Crosby owns #87. Hall of Famer Ray Bourque gave up #7 to Phil Esposito when it was retired by the Bruins and made #77 his own. The New York Rangers have retired eight numbers, never to be worn again by a Ranger player. And that’s an issue for Alexis Lafrenière.
Lafrenière has worn number 11 throughout his career in the QMJHL. The number has become synonymous with him in Quebec and he surely would want to wear that number in the NHL. It’s not to be. #11 is one of the eight retired numbers, worn by Mark Messier and Vic Hadfield.
So the question then is what number will he wear?
The last time he didn’t wear #11 was at the 2019 World Junior Championships. Lafrenière hadn’t established himself as the best young Canadian hockey player and gave up #11 to Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Jaret who? Anderson-Dolan was a second round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2017 and has been playing in the AHL ever since.
Since #11 was taken, Lafrenière wore #22, but the next year was back in #11 for Team Canada.
So, is #22 available? It has been since Kevin Shattenkirk left last summer. The best player to wear #22 for New York was Mike Gartner. It is also the answer to a trivia question that came about after the Rangers signed Dan Boyle and he took the same #22 that belonged to Brian Boyle…the only time in Blueshirt history that the same number went to a player with the same last name in consecutive seasons. It was also worn in New York by fellow Québéc natives Bobby Rousseau and Ian Laperriere
22 may be a nice choice for Lafrenière as he will hopefully be following in the footsteps of one of the greatest French-Canadian players in NHL history. Mike Bossy immortalized #22 as a prolific scorer for the New York Islanders and it would be a nice tribute to him.
Lafreniere has made it know that he idolizes Patrick Kane who wears #88. Could he wear Kane’s number? It’s been worn by only two Rangers, Ken Hodge and Eric Lindros. If that’s too derivative, #86 is available and was last worn by Josh Jooris.
If he picks #15 any Ranger fan who has a Jason Lafreniere jersey from 1989 will be able to take it out of storage.
It will be a few months before the Ranger rookie has to make that choice and it will be interesting to see what he picks. We’re leaning towards #22. It’s a nice distinctive number, is available and has some history on it. Also, if you are a numerologist and if you add his birthdate (10-11-01) , it adds up to 22.
And that also means that Sunday was Alexis Lafrenière’s birthday as he turned 19 years old.
Happy birthday Alexis, your first of many as New York Ranger!