The New York Rangers have received “plenty” of calls on the first-overall pick before tonight’s draft according to Frank Seravalli of TSN, but continue to rebuff those interested. Seravalli reports that Rangers even received an offer from the Los Angeles Kings to swap top picks (the Kings hold the second-overall selection) but have “zero intention” of moving off number one.
That would certainly suggest that the Rangers agree with the rest of the world and will select Alexis Lafreniere first this evening. While Quinton Byfield and Tim Stuetzle are supremely talented players that will make their respective franchises very happy, there’s just no comparison to the potential that Lafreniere brings as a do-it-all superstar. The 18-year-old winger has won the CHL Player of the Year award in each of the last two seasons and showed the world what kind of a competitor he was at the World Juniors, physically dominating his opponents and returning from a knee injury to help Canada win a gold medal (and take home the tournament MVP honors).
- The Vegas Golden Knights are trying hard to move Marc-Andre Fleury, as Seravalli reports on TSN’s Insider Trading that they are trying to encourage teams to act as a “broker” and take on some of Fleury’s cap hit in a three-team deal. The Toronto Maple Leafs did something similar for Vegas this season when they assumed part of Robin Lehner’s salary in exchange for a fifth-round pick, but the Golden Knights are offering an even bigger prize to teams willing to help them facilitate a Fleury trade. Seravalli reports that Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon has offered a second-round pick to that broker team, but so far that hasn’t been enough to eat the $3.5MM that the Golden Knights are hoping for. Instead, teams like the Carolina Hurricanes who have been involved could be asking for as much as a first- and second-round pick in order to take on that much salary over the final two seasons of Fleury’s deal.
- While the hockey world goes crazy over this week of draft and free agent frenzy, remember that the 2020-21 season is not going to start for quite some time. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet confirmed today what many have speculated on, that the league is now looking at January 1, 2021 as a potential start date for next season. Previously, the league had listed December 1 as the target, but that always seemed optimistic.