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Lafreniere - Position in '22-'23


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I'm breaking this out into a new thread because there's been a lot of discussion about where Lafreniere should play next season. Most of the conversation has been focused around him playing in the top 6. With Kreider and Panarin blocking him on the left, either one of those guys moves over or Lafreniere moves over. Generally, the argument is mostly between moving Kreider or Lafreniere over to the right. The arguments are strong both ways and I'm seeing fisticuffs and choice words being thrown towards each other about it. General recap of the arguments:

 

Move Lafreniere because:

 

  • Unestablished, unproven, still green. Don't move a known product in Kreider to accommodate an unknown product in Lafreniere.
  • He's young, he can be molded.
  • Kreider has been incredibly successful and coming off a 50 goal year, so why mess with something that works?

 

Move Kreider because:

 

  • Lafreniere's comfort is at LW. He is supposed to develop into a franchise player. Shouldn't this get priority?
  • Kreider is a vet. His experience should help him be more successful moving over.

 

Disclaimers

  • I have been in the "keep Lafreniere in his natural position" corner
  • I got an Evolving Hockey membership for a month to look at contract projections and chartz n stuff, so now I'm totally an expert with hockey analysis. Thanks Evolving Hockey!
  • "Bro, it's 4th of July, take a break" - @Pete, probably. I had an excellent, relaxing weekend. But I just put the kid to bed and I have to work tomorrow. So now I'm relaxing and looking at hockey stuff. Also fireworks are overrated. Don't you judge me.

 

Even though I've initially been thinking Lafreniere should stay in his natural position, I've thought that purely from a "long term franchise player" point of view. I hadn't put any time into looking at what kind of potential impact that might have on moving Kreider to the right. I thought the most important question to ask here is where on the ice is Kreider scoring his goals? We know on the PP they are all in front of the net, deflections, tips, etc. Nothing position specific. So we have to look at even strength. Where is he doing his damage? My initial assumption has always been that he streaks down the left boards, cuts in and makes things happen...receives long stretch passes or perhaps cross-ice passes from center/right to left for easy tap-ins. I was surprised to see that, at least for this season, this assumption was not the case. In fact, if you look at his ES goals that do not involve simply planting his body in front of the net and jamming home rebounds and tips, I found a surprising number of goals were actually from him streaking down the right side of the ice.

 

Here's a link to 50 of his goals this year. It's a good watch for getting some feels from a magical season by #20, but you should also notice some things. I purposely copied the link at a specific timestamp because it shows two goals in a row of exactly the nature I am talking about - coming down the right side with a shot on net. If you skim this video for ES goals, you'll find a few instances where he accepts a pass on the left side of the ice and puts it in, but there are more instances of him scoring "goal scorer's goals" on the right side of the ice.

 

 

 

 

Now here's where my $10 EH subscription comes into play that makes me a guru.

 

ES goal chart for Kreider this year:

 

kreider-21-22-ES-goals.png

An overwhelming majority of these are in front of the net, with some favoritism towards the left side of the crease area. But looking through the goal video, these really were not goals of the "because he's playing the left side of the ice" variety. He scored one goal from the left side within the faceoff circle or further out. Six goals from the right faceoff circle and out. But this is 1 year and could just be an anomaly. And it is, but not to the degree I was expecting.

 

Kreider's career ES goal chart:

 

kreider-career-ES-goals.png

 

There is no right side favoritism from the larger sample size that seemed to be present in this year's smaller sample size, but there is also no left side favoritism either. It's pretty evenly split. Without a name attached to this chart, you might be hard pressed to pick what the player's position is that this chart represents. You might even be thinking more "center" or "switches freely between wings". Make no mistake about it. Kreider is a premier net-front guy who does an overwhelming amount of his damage in front of the net, where position does not matter a whole lot.

 

For comparison's sake, here's Panarin's career ES goal chart:

 

Panarin-career-ES-goals.png

This is much more clearly a left wing's chart, with a strong favoritism towards the left side of the ice.

 

And now here's Lafreniere's production to date:

 

lafreniere-career-ES-goals.png

His career is still a small sample, but there is already a strong favoritism developing towards the left side of the ice.

 

So, in short, I will still maintain that Lafreniere should be kept on the left, and Kreider should move to the right. Kreider will get his goals in front of the net anyway and he has proven he can score from the right side of the ice effectively too.

Edited by rmc51
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Awesome post and honestly, it's hard to argue against it. If I had to play Devil's Advocate it's simply that Lafreniere has still not earned his ice despite an excellent playoff even though I don't really believe that

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1 hour ago, rmc51 said:

I'm breaking this out into a new thread because there's been a lot of discussion about where Lafreniere should play next season. Most of the conversation has been focused around him playing in the top 6. With Kreider and Panarin blocking him on the left, either one of those guys moves over or Lafreniere moves over. Generally, the argument is mostly between moving Kreider or Lafreniere over to the right. The arguments are strong both ways and I'm seeing fisticuffs and choice words being thrown towards each other about it. General recap of the arguments:

 

Move Lafreniere because:

 

  • Unestablished, unproven, still green. Don't move a known product in Kreider to accommodate an unknown product in Lafreniere.
  • He's young, he can be molded.
  • Kreider has been incredibly successful and coming off a 50 goal year, so why mess with something that works?

 

Move Kreider because:

 

  • Lafreniere's comfort is at LW. He is supposed to develop into a franchise player. Shouldn't this get priority?
  • Kreider is a vet. His experience should help him be more successful moving over.

 

Disclaimers

  • I have been in the "keep Lafreniere in his natural position" corner
  • I got an Evolving Hockey membership for a month to look at contract projections and chartz n stuff, so now I'm totally an expert with hockey analysis. Thanks Evolving Hockey!
  • "Bro, it's 4th of July, take a break" - @Pete, probably. I had an excellent, relaxing weekend. But I just put the kid to bed and I have to work tomorrow. So now I'm relaxing and looking at hockey stuff. Also fireworks are overrated. Don't you judge me.

 

Even though I've initially been thinking Lafreniere should stay in his natural position, I've thought that purely from a "long term franchise player" point of view. I hadn't put any time into looking at what kind of potential impact that might have on moving Kreider to the right. I thought the most important question to ask here is where on the ice is Kreider scoring his goals? We know on the PP they are all in front of the net, deflections, tips, etc. Nothing position specific. So we have to look at even strength. Where is he doing his damage? My initial assumption has always been that he streaks down the left boards, cuts in and makes things happen...receives long stretch passes or perhaps cross-ice passes from center/right to left for easy tap-ins. I was surprised to see that, at least for this season, this assumption was not the case. In fact, if you look at his ES goals that do not involve simply planting his body in front of the net and jamming home rebounds and tips, I found a surprising number of goals were actually from him streaking down the right side of the ice.

 

Here's a link to 50 of his goals this year. It's a good watch for getting some feels from a magical season by #20, but you should also notice some things. I purposely copied the link at a specific timestamp because it shows two goals in a row of exactly the nature I am talking about - coming down the right side with a shot on net. If you skim this video for ES goals, you'll find a few instances where he accepts a pass on the left side of the ice and puts it in, but there are more instances of him scoring "goal scorer's goals" on the right side of the ice.

 

 

 

 

Now here's where my $10 EH subscription comes into play that makes me a guru.

 

ES goal chart for Kreider this year:

 

kreider-21-22-ES-goals.png

An overwhelming majority of these are in front of the net, with some favoritism towards the left side of the crease area. But looking through the goal video, these really were not goals of the "because he's playing the left side of the ice" variety. He scored one goal from the left side within the faceoff circle or further out. Six goals from the right faceoff circle and out. But this is 1 year and could just be an anomaly. And it is, but not to the degree I was expecting.

 

Kreider's career ES goal chart:

 

kreider-career-ES-goals.png

 

There is no right side favoritism from the larger sample size that seemed to be present in this year's smaller sample size, but there is also no left side favoritism either. It's pretty evenly split. Without a name attached to this chart, you might be hard pressed to pick what the player's position is that this chart represents. You might even be thinking more "center" or "switches freely between wings". Make no mistake about it. Kreider is a premier net-front guy who does an overwhelming amount of his damage in front of the net, where position does not matter a whole lot.

 

For comparison's sake, here's Panarin's career ES goal chart:

 

Panarin-career-ES-goals.png

This is much more clearly a left wing's chart, with a strong favoritism towards the left side of the ice.

 

And now here's Lafreniere's production to date:

 

lafreniere-career-ES-goals.png

His career is still a small sample, but there is already a strong favoritism developing towards the left side of the ice.

 

So, in short, I will still maintain that Lafreniere should be kept on the left, and Kreider should move to the right. Kreider will get his goals in front of the net anyway and he has proven he can score from the right side of the ice effectively too.

You mak3 a strong case and I applaud you for the leg work. I’m more leaning towards Alf going right. Before his NHL says, Alf’s game was less about position and more about driving towards the net. I think at his age he’s more likely to adjust towards a position change than a 10 year veteran is just off a 50 goal season. I think the issue is the timing mostly. Kreider finally realizes his top potential and the following year we wan5 him to start a position change? Kind of a hard sell to me. 
 

 Besides, as you said, small sample size for Alf. Too small to really jump into a strong lean to the left. I mean, that is his position, and we are talking about a career 31 goals only. 

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7 hours ago, Pete said:

It's a moot point. They asked Kreider to move already and he spent 4 shifts on RW before going back to LW. He's not moving, IMHO. 

 

I agree that it is probably a moot point and that it is a lot more likely they move Lafreniere simply because it's the easier thing to do to move the unproven kid around. But I think we should stop pretending that moving Kreider over is without merit just because he scored 50. He didn't score 50 because he played left wing.

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13 hours ago, Valriera said:

Awesome post and honestly, it's hard to argue against it. If I had to play Devil's Advocate it's simply that Lafreniere has still not earned his ice despite an excellent playoff even though I don't really believe that

Lafreniere has done about what you could expect given his linemates and his lack of time on the powerplay.

 

There's a beast there waiting to emerge as evidenced by his ferocious forechecking in the post-season and his 5v5 play overall.  The Rangers need to unleash the beast.

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14 minutes ago, rmc51 said:

 

I agree that it is probably a moot point and that it is a lot more likely they move Lafreniere simply because it's the easier thing to do to move the unproven kid around. But I think we should stop pretending that moving Kreider over is without merit just because he scored 50. He didn't score 50 because he played left wing.

Oh, I don't think that at all. I just think when a guy comes off a year like that, you leave him be, period. 

 

Also to your point, half his goals on the PP where there are really less concerns about which side of the ice he's on. 

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11 minutes ago, josh said:

In order of my preference: 

LW1

LW3

 

 

 

RW1

 

 

 

 

 

RW2

 

6 minutes ago, Long live the King said:

I second the CK as LW3 idea.

That makes even less sense than moving him to RW. We're breaking things that aren't broken to fix other things.

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Lafreniere talks the talk and walks the walk, but I think we need to consider he may be feeling a different way behind the scenes. Top picks like that don't normally get sheltered like this. They play and they get paid, and the less they play the less likely they are to get paid. He knows it. His family knows it. His agent knows it.

 

I'm sure the Rangers are cognizant of that. They even gave Kakko a top 6 role going into last season. Lafreniere is further along than Kakko in less time. It's important he gets top 6 minutes and the opportunity to make a name for himself, whether it's on the left or the right.

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1 minute ago, rmc51 said:

Lafreniere talks the talk and walks the walk, but I think we need to consider he may be feeling a different way behind the scenes. Top picks like that don't normally get sheltered like this. They play and they get paid, and the less they play the less likely they are to get paid. He knows it. His family knows it. His agent knows it.

 

I'm sure the Rangers are cognizant of that. They even gave Kakko a top 6 role going into last season. Lafreniere is further along than Kakko in less time. It's important he gets top 6 minutes and the opportunity to make a name for himself, whether it's on the left or the right.

He needs to come to camp in the best shape of his life. Because he's a real milk bag right now.

Edited by Pete
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29 minutes ago, Pete said:

 

 

That makes even less sense than moving him to RW. We're breaking things that aren't broken to fix other things.

 

Except the Rangers' 5v5 play was broken...

 

Laf and CK had nearly equal 5v5 production per 60.  CK playing with Zib, and Laf with Chytil.  Would stand to reason Laf would produce more at 5v5 with Zib than Kreider does.  He'll still get his special teams time and still be able to use his speed for breakaways and 2 on 1's from the 3rd line.

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6 minutes ago, Long live the King said:

 

Except the Rangers' 5v5 play was broken...

 

Laf and CK had nearly equal 5v5 production per 60.  CK playing with Zib, and Laf with Chytil. 

Pointless stat. They are matched up with different defensive assignments. P/60 only matters when you are comparing roles. The third line isn't getting the same zone starts or defensive players assigned to them as the first line, which makes this...

Quote

Would stand to reason Laf would produce more at 5v5 with Zib than Kreider does.  He'll still get his special teams time and still be able to use his speed for breakaways and 2 on 1's from the 3rd line.

A giant leap in logic.

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25 minutes ago, Pete said:

Pointless stat. They are matched up with different defensive assignments. P/60 only matters when you are comparing roles. The third line isn't getting the same zone starts or defensive players assigned to them as the first line, which makes this...

A giant leap in logic.

 

They actually got very similar zone starts.  61% oz starts for Laf and 57% oz starts for CK.

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32 minutes ago, Long live the King said:

 

They actually got very similar zone starts.  61% oz starts for Laf and 57% oz starts for CK.

Lots of that is PP, not ES which was your point. And OK, even if ZS are similar, defensive assignments aren't and it's not even close.

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5 hours ago, Pete said:

Lots of that is PP, not ES which was your point. And OK, even if ZS are similar, defensive assignments aren't and it's not even close.

 

RE zone starts:  Laf-Zib-Kakko can still get heavy OZ starts because I trust CK-Goodrow defensively more than any Chytil line.  Also not afraid of Zib and the kids starting in the dz.

 

RE matchups:  So CK gets easier matchups and Laf gets a way better C.  Win win.

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1 minute ago, Long live the King said:

 

RE zone starts:  Laf-Zib-Kakko can still get heavy OZ starts because I trust CK-Goodrow defensively more than any Chytil line.  Also not afraid of Zib and the kids starting in the dz.

 

RE matchups:  So CK gets easier matchups and Laf gets a way better C.  Win win.

I love the circular logic but it's not happening LOL. 

 

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Panarin does a lot of his work just off the boards on the right side in the offensive zone.  The cross ice setups for Zibanejad on the PP are all about the defenders having to deal with Panarin working above the circle on the right.

 

Right now the Rangers have the deepest frontline depth at LW and are hurting at C and RW.  Something has to give.

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1 hour ago, Long live the King said:

 

RE zone starts:  Laf-Zib-Kakko can still get heavy OZ starts because I trust CK-Goodrow defensively more than any Chytil line.  Also not afraid of Zib and the kids starting in the dz.

 

RE matchups:  So CK gets easier matchups and Laf gets a way better C.  Win win.

Why not switch Kakko and Kreider in this scenario? It allow Kakko to grow more offensively, and everything else stays the same. 

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17 minutes ago, josh said:

Why not switch Kakko and Kreider in this scenario? It allow Kakko to grow more offensively, and everything else stays the same. 

 

Kakko isn't going to produce with Goodrow centering him on the 3rd line.  He needs a center like Zib who will find spots to get open for a pass and can finish.

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6 minutes ago, Long live the King said:

 

Kakko isn't going to produce with Goodrow centering him on the 3rd line.  He needs a center like Zib who will find spots to get open for a pass and can finish.

 

Kakko's problem isn't with linemates. He had last season almost entirely with the top 2 lines and he still didn't produce.

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50 minutes ago, Long live the King said:

 

Kakko isn't going to produce with Goodrow centering him on the 3rd line.  He needs a center like Zib who will find spots to get open for a pass and can finish.

Idk. It’s not the line I’ve been going with, but based on some of the lineups posted, I’m not opposed to a Goodrow-Chytil- Kakko line. Those some big bodies, wingers playing solid defensively. And offensively, none have really shown much chemistry with others, mostly muckers that capitalize. 
 

kakko, here, gives him a chance to grab and carry the puck if he pleases. He loves to get the puck and circle/cycle in the offensive zone. He’s not getting those chances with Zibanejad and Lafreniere. Instead of deferring all of the time, let’s see him develop his beast mode. 
 

Kreider plays the big bodied  forechecker on the top line, and Lafreniere and Zibanejad can control the puck. 

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