Islanders: Ranking the landing spots for Alexis LaFreniere
By Matt O'Leary
Tonight, we will find out who lands Alexis LaFreniere. Here are the best to worst cases from the New York Islanders perspective.
With the New York Islanders advancing, they miss out on the chance for Alexis LaFreniere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than thrilled that they won and I was strongly opposed to the idea of tanking for LaFreniere at this point.
Now, one of Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto, the Rangers, Florida, Nashville, Minnesota, and Winnipeg will be in the mix for the young goal scorer. Each team has a 12.5 percent chance of winning the lottery.
What I wanted to do was rank the different teams from best-case scenario to worst-case scenario from the Islanders perspective. Let’s take a look:
1 Minnesota Wild
The West Coast teams are going to come first, for obvious reasons, but honestly, Minnesota deserves a player like LaFreniere. Outside of Kevin Fiala, this team is super old. Ryan Suter, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise are all 35+ years old and Mats Zucherllo and Jared Spurgeon are on the wrong side of 30 now.
The Wild are in a desperate need of a retool and I wouldn’t have any ill will towards LaFreniere going there.
2 Nashville Predators
I have a soft spot for Nashville. They are a fun team in an awesome city and they deserve a star player to go along with Filip Forsberg on the offensive side of things. Their defense is elite with Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis they just desperately need help on the wing and LaFreniere would be a nice piece.
The Islanders only see Nashville twice a year since they are in the Western Conference and the likeability of the team makes them an easy choice for a LaFreniere destination.
3 Winnipeg Jets
The Jets already have Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine, I could do without them adding yet another offensive piece. They’re on the West Coast, so it doesn’t impact the Islanders as much, but I would much rather see a Nashville or Minnesota come away with LaFreniere.
4 Edmonton Oilers
No, just no. The Oilers have had four first overall picks from 2010-2015, they’re all set. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draistatl running the show over there offensively, the last thing I want is for them to have ANOTHER elite player.
Although, a small part of me thinks it would be kind of fun to watch LaFreniere cook with one of McDavid or Draistatl.
5 Florida Panthers
The Islanders just beat the Panthers in the Qualifiers and I guess I feel kind of bad for them. They have a good offense already, so adding LaFreneire would put that unit over the top. They’re the team I care about having him the least out of all the Eastern Conference teams, and I’d assume all Islanders fans feel the same way.
6 Pittsburgh Penguins
This would be bad, like really bad. The Pens have been a dominant team for the better part of the last decade and a half. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are getting older and they’ve kind of stagnated over the past two years but they’ve had enough success.
I think we speak for a majority of the NHL when we say that nobody wants LaFreniere to be a Pittsburgh Penguin.
7 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs got bounced again last night which was an absolute joy to see. They have an elite level offense and are lacking defensively, there’s no denying that. With John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander nobody needs to see Alexis LaFreniere added to the bunch.
8 New York Rangers
The most obvious choice, from the Islanders’ perspective, is the Rangers. They won the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes last summer, they added Kaapo Kakko second overall last year, they are well on their way to a very quick rebuild.
Your cross-town rival adding the prized jewel from the 2020 NHL Draft Class is exactly what you don’t want to see.
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I will be rooting hard for Minnesota or Nashville tonight. Pretty much any of the Western Conference teams or Florida is okay. The Leafs, Penguins, and Rangers would be an absolute disaster for the Islanders.