Montreal is going to come up a lot when trade rumors regarding Alexis Lafreniere surface. It’s no secret that the Canadiens love to ice Quebecois players and have people in the organization that can address the media in the native French spoken in the Canadian province. Lafreniere being a French-speaking winger is going to be drooled over by Habs media around the hockey world in English and French.
Montreal is one of those cities where it does not matter what the Rangers say about Lafreniere, they will want to push the narrative of a French Canadian coming back to eastern Canada because the fans like it. However, the Canadiens do actually have a few pieces that may interest the Rangers enough to part with their former first-overall pick. Mainly because they have one of their own.
Juraj Slafkovsky is a great prospect, but he went first overall and really should not have. That was the Shane Wright draft where Wright was the obvious pick and the Canadiens didn’t feel like taking Wright, New Jersey had made a commitment to Simon Nemec, and Arizona had made promises to Logan Cooley so Wright fell to Seattle. But this shouldn’t take away from what Slafkovsky is.
While the young Slovakian only had 4 goals and 6 assists in 39 games this season, he’s got the ability to be a strong player in this league. The Rangers get an additional pick in the deep 2023 draft, even though it is currently looking like it is going to be 32nd overall with the way the Florida Panthers keep ripping through teams. It’s unlikely something like this happens, but a deal like this isn’t beyond the bounds.
There is another alternative to a deal for Lafreniere to Montreal, and that would have to be based on a more forward-thinking approach on a bigger scale. If the Rangers were going to move Lafreniere, I think this second idea is a lot fairer in comparison to the first one because this is a team that has not hidden its intentions to try to win now. At least not particularly well.
Cole Caufield is a winger that needs a contract himself, but due to him not playing enough professional games, he’s not eligible for an offer sheet, making him an ideal fit for a team like the Rangers that may need to push the can down the road before extending him. At an incredibly young age too, Caufield would add some serious scoring to this lineup. This is the kind of idea I think the Rangers would want in a Lafreniere deal.