As the Vancouver Canucks continue to work through a tumultuous season, one name they have their eye on ahead of the March 3 NHL trade deadline is New York Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière, according to Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal.
Lafrenière, the first-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, has not lived up to expectations in New York. The 21-year-old has five goals and 12 assists in 37 games this season, and was a healthy scratch in a contest last week. He has 36 goals and 69 points across 172 career games at the NHL level.
The Canucks are very familiar with Lafrenière's game, as current Vancouver assistant general manager Émilie Castonguay used to represent him when she was an agent. Even though Lafrenière has underwhelmed, the asking price still figures to be high, per Dhaliwal.
Vancouver currently sits sixth in the Pacific Division and finds itself seven points back of a playoff spot as it enters a very difficult portion of its schedule. Acquiring Lafrenière would give the Canucks a young, core piece to aid a rebuild or retool. Dhaliwal added the Canucks were similarly interested in 21-year-old Kirby Dach last summer before the Chicago Blackhawks traded him to the Montreal Canadiens.
New York, on the other hand, holds the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference and is in more of a win-now mindset. Dhaliwal floated Canucks captain Bo Horvat as a possible piece to head back to the Rangers, which would give New York a dynamic player to slot into its top-six.
Horvat has appeared in a number of trade rumours in recent weeks following reports that the Canucks were looking to move him after he rejected a contract extension. The 27-year-old is on pace for a career-best season as he plays out the final year of a six-year, $33-million pact.
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