This is a weird one. Seattle makes sense but not for the reasons you’d expect. The link to Montreal is easy for any Quebec-born player in the NHL. Seattle and the way they are starting their existence as a franchise by putting a team on the ice that is fun to watch and a player that has the pedigree of Alexis Lafreniere would certainly help a hockey market that is already the fastest growing in the sport gain a little more viewership.
Lafreniere to Seattle makes sense from the off-ice perspective, but on the ice, the fit is not so clean. Seattle’s undoubted strength is how strong it is down the wings. Lafreniere would only add to the logjam they have at that position already. With the wings in the Emerald City already quite well flushed, you can argue that the Kraken may not be the best fit.
With the Kraken roster being built the way it is, there are a lot of promising talents in the pipeline for the Kraken that they may be willing to move. Shane Wright is a 4th overall pick that was a consensus number 1 overall pick that might be a good target for the Rangers. Matty Berniers was a 2nd overall pick in their initial draft. Although the Kraken is unlikely to move any of these players, it does make sense in theory.
For the Kraken, the next step is to break into the playoffs, and having a 20-year-old that has already seen the conference finals could help mentor some of the players that haven’t gotten to that point. It is unlikely to happen at any rate, but I thought the Kraken could make sense in theory. It’s not te same idea as the Montreal suggestion, but there are reasons to think that a deal between these two could make sense.
Whether or not Lafreniere does eventually get traded, there will always be links between the player and the Vancouver Canucks. His agent used to be Emilie Castonguay, an Assistant General Manager in Vancouver. She is also Quebecois and you know that the French Canadian media will force that agenda wherever they can. His current agent is Olivier Fortier so it isn’t quite as smooth, but there is a link.
According to Rick Dhaliwal of the Athletic, the Vancouver Canucks really like Alexis Lafreniere. He’s the kind of player they want to build their organization around in the future and such glowing praise means you may be able to extract quite an exorbitant price out of the Canadian franchise. If Vancouver values him that highly then maybe you can get the kind of value Chris Drury and company in the Rangers front office would be looking for.
Vancouver also may make sense because it is on the other side of the continent. It does help when the risk of the player coming back to haunt you is reduced greatly on account of the fact that you would only see the team you are trading him to twice a year unless you both happen to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Whether he then haunts you or not, there is a genuine case to say you have had a successful season in that situation.
New York’s desires from Vancouver could differ. A lot of the major pieces Vancouver has to offer could help the Rangers now. While the Canucks do not have the best prospect pool, they have a good group of players that the Rangers may be able to get now in order to support their current group and core. It depends on what the Rangers would feel the weakness of the roster is because you could get a lot from Vancouver for this player.
Is it likely Lafreniere is traded? No. In fact, I think he’ll probably stay in New York for the foreseeable future. Depending on his contract talks, there might be a deal then, but I fully expect him to be a Ranger until the end of the season. The Athletic, Sportsnet, and TSN are all reporting that the Rangers have no desire to move Lafreniere. But this conversation just seemed like fun.