Los Angeles Kings
This is probably my favorite idea of the three, and there is a reason for it. The Los Angeles Kings are in such a great position in order to help their players succeed, as we’ve seen with the younger kids coming through the LA system. It feels like this is a team that would have a solidified interest in the player Alexis Lafreniere was to become available this summer to protect from the threat of an offer sheet.
For Lafreniere, he’d get to live in the 2nd best city in the country after living in the best. He’s not exactly going to see a major decline in his lifestyle. Moving out west would get him out of the pressure of this major market and perhaps allow him more time to become everything that was expected of him when he came out of the QMJHL as one of the best prospects we’d ever seen.
Byfield was the 2nd overall pick in the same draft as Lafreniere. He’s struggled with injuries which have taken away some of the crucial development time and he’s unlikely to reach the expectations placed on him as a 2nd overall pick, but to say that he is a bad prospect is beyond a bad take. He’s starting to break into the NHL, and the fact he isn’t an NHL regular is what allows the Rangers to ask for this kind of package.
Jordan Spence is an Australian-born defenseman who has a heritage in both Canada and Japan, making him a player that would have an international following. He’s also not a bad prospect and as a right-shot defenseman, he could be important in a few years when the captain’s contract is up and there is a gigantic hole to fill in the defensive core because the Rangers’ right side is a little thin for the future currently.
While the pick won’t be where they got Lafreniere, it would be another asset the Rangers could flip to get players in exchange to load up for a deep run or to continue to fill out the prospect pool at the draft table and build the organization up for the future given the current issues with it. Cheap, young players that have come through the system are the best way to replenish the depth you lose in free agency after all.