NHL Rumors: Rangers’ Lafrenière trade bait, Yotes relocation, and Sharks to keep Hertl

alexis lafreniere rumors
Jan 3, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafrenire (13) celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers jumped for joy when their ball popped up in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery. There was no question just who they were going to take. Alexis Lafrenière was ranked #1 overall and the Blueshirts GM at the time, Jeff Gorton selected him in his mind as soon as the drawing was over.

Fast forward less than two seasons later and there’s talks of trading him.

NHL Rumors: Would the Rangers trade Alexis Lafrenière?

Larry Brooks of the NY Post is the most plugged in reporter covering the Rangers. In a recent article, he brought up the idea of trading the Rangers only first overall selection of the modern-day draft in their history.

Lafreniere is going to have to move to the right wing in order to get top six minutes in New York. If there is doubt that he can handle the move, the Rangers are going to have to consider their options. (Even now, with a temporary right-side vacancy on the Zibanejad-Kreider Connection, head coach Gerard Gallant is opting to fill the void with Julien Gauthier rather than No. 13.)

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Previous to this article, Lafrenière’s agent Émilie Castonguay was selected as the new assistant GM of the Vancouver Canucks. That’s where he began to speculate that she may press hard in a trade to acquire the 20 year-old star-to-be.

Brooks noted that maybe Bo Horvat would be a great return for the youngster and ended by saying he would be surprised if the Canucks didn’t at least ask about Lafrenière’s availability.

Coyotes relocation

The Arizona Coyotes and Arizona State are in “advanced” discussions for the NHL club to temporarily play their games at the university’s new multipurpose arena, PHNX Sports reported Thursday.

The Coyotes are being forced from their home in nearby Glendale, and the team is awaiting the go-ahead to build an arena in Tempe.

When it was learned that the arena only holds 5,000 people it sent red flags up around the NHL. Certainly there must be some minimum that an NHL franchise’s home base would need to reach?

Chris Johnston answered those questions on a recent TSN Insider Trading:

“This is a place they could potentially play for three to four years while their new rink project goes ahead in Tempe. It’s very close to where that rink would be built in Tempe which they see as a positive and at this point the league seems to be on board as well. The league doesn’t have any rules in terms of how [many] seats have to be in the building because they view it as a temporary home much like the New York Islanders played for many years in Nassau Coliseum and in Brooklyn before going to Belmont. This is a temporary solution albeit one that could be a couple years for the Coyotes.”

Sharks likely to keep Tomas Hertl

tomas hertl trade
Jan 8, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates his second goal during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. He would score his third goal for the hat trick and the game-winner in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I recently spoke with a team executive about the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline. During the chat I asked about some potential and obvious names on the market.

One name that everyone expects to be high on many teams’ trade lists is San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl.

Hertl is 28 years-old and in the final year of a deal that has a $5.625M cap hit. Last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games. This season, he’s keeping a similar scoring pace with 37 points in43 contests.

As soon as he was mentioned, the response I received was that the Sharks are probably going to keep him. In truth, why wouldn’t they? Especially if Evander Kane’s grievance fails, San Jose will have that full $7 million in cap space to extend Hertl.

Per multiple reports, the Sharks told inquiring teams in the offseason that they were still hopeful to work things out. That now seems even more likely now.