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Rangers sign Alexis Lafreniere to three-year, entry-level contract

The New York Rangers have agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere.

Lafreniere had 35 goals and 77 assists in just 52 games for the Rimouski Oceanic in 2019-20, leading the CHL with a point-per-game rate of 2.15. That dominant campaign allowed the 18-year-old to capture the CHL player of the year award for the second straight season.

Of all his pro-calibre qualities — powerful skating, increasingly physical game, elite playmaking — his brain is his best asset. Lafreniere’s agent, Emilie Castonguay, told Sportsnet earlier this year that his vision, compete level, and hockey I.Q. are what stand out the most as the qualities that will best help him transition into the NHL.

“When you have a player like that, it makes everybody around him better. Just the way that he’s able to see the game,” Castonguay said. “For me, when I look at a player — especially of his talent — the first thing you notice is every time he’s on the ice or every time he touches the puck, the game just slows down. There’s not a lot of players that are able to do that. Since he was very young, every time he’s been on the ice at every level, that’s what he’s been able to do.”

That accelerated rebuild has come with a youth movement as well, as New York added Finnish standout Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, and has fellow young stars Adam Fox and Igor Shesterkin in the fold, too.

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