I think it’s safe to say no one envisioned it taking this long. If you were to tell me in June that not only would K’Andre Miller be signed before Lafreniere, but he still wouldn’t be signed mid-August, I’d probably come back to you now asking for the lotto numbers. Well, here we are; Lafreniere is still not signed, but perhaps finally, they are getting closer to sealing the deal.
It’s clear as day that this would be a bridge deal, and the first thought was…..well, what did Kakko get? Yes, it would probably be a bit more than the 2.1 AVV he got, as Lafreniere had 40 points last season (Kakko had 18 points his contract year but in 43 games due to injury). I know everyone is disappointed with his playoff performance this year and, in general, how he’s producing, but at the end of the day, he’s a former 1st overall pick that scored 40 points. It will probably be a number you’re not exactly excited about.
Many people think it will be a two-year deal; however, some reasons indicate it being a three-year deal. I believe it would be in the 2.7-2.8 AVV range if it’s a three-year deal. Now, if you’re going to say that’s too much, it’s going to be less. First, before I break it down, I see a lot of: “No Arbitration, his agent can’t negotiate, they have no choice.” By that logic, why not just say, “ok, here’s the minimum NHL contract” because General Managers have to maintain a relationship with the player and the agent. They have to work with them numerous times, not just regarding this player. There is some merit to agents not having that much negotiating power when the player has no arbitration rights, but sometimes people overblow it.
Now the first question is, why is it taking so long? Perhaps it’s because the Rangers want three years (I will explain why), which might cause it to drag out. Why? Because three years means it’s a year after the salary cap is expected to skyrocket (after two of three expected big Cap bumps). Which means they miss a year of potentially higher earnings. So it would make sense to be upped a tad due to that, but how much? Now that’s where some of the dragging out could be coming from. The next thing you’ll probably ask is why not just do a two-year deal. Well, in two years, Shesterkin and Miller have to be re-signed, and while the Cap is expected to go up, Shesterkin will take a solid chunk of that. In addition, if Miller becomes what some people envision him being, there may not be enough for Lafreniere. So why not make it one more year where Trouba’s massive contract is off the books (if not traded or bought out by then)? You’re going to point to Goodrow’s contract they can trade. If it were going to happen, the Rangers would have done it by now. Whether you like it or not, they value him and want to keep him. Maybe later that changes, which is a possibility, but for now, he’s here.
Now the 2.7-8 AVV… if this were a two-year, I’d expect it to be a 2.5ish AVV deal; however, due to the reason we discussed before, a 2.7-8 AVV deal suddenly doesn’t sound so off anymore. However, some of that will be in bonuses, perhaps 700k- 800k.
If this ends up being wrong, my only other theory would be that Lafreniere’s offseason training is possibly determining the AVV. If you haven’t heard the rumors, and again I’ll reiterate “rumors” that Lafreniere’s work ethic is underwhelming, this would be an “I can’t give him that until I know he’s serious, and will give it 100%”. If he does what the Rangers expect this summer, they’ll be willing to offer a bit more on the AVV for his contract. Aright back to no hockey activity in mid-August; this is hell.