The Rangers made official on Tuesday night what had been expected for quite some time, selecting Alexis Lafreniere No. 1 overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Lafreniere, an 18-year-old winger from
the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) is viewed as the best prospect in the draft -- and a better prospect than both Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, who were taken No. 1 and No. 2 in 2019.
In 52 games this past season, Lafreniere racked up 35 goals and 77 assists.
Rangers GM Jeff Gorton spoke last week about the potential of picking Lafreniere, but didn't tip his hand.
"We're really impressed with him," Gorton said. "We've had a few Zooms with him. Obviously we've done our homework on him, we've talked to a lot of people around him. He's a really humble kid who gives credit to everybody around him. He's a good family kid, he works really hard, he's really focused.
"Obviously he's in a different situation where he's been considered a high pick for a very long time, that's now extended into a few more months. Little bit of a crazy process for him. ... We've been nothing but impressed."
Even before adding Lafreniere, the Rangers' rebuild had gotten a jolt over the last 18 months, with the Blueshirts adding Kakko, Artermi Panarin, and Jacob Trouba (while locking up Chris Kreider long-term) to accelerate their timeline to contention.