What Jeff Gorton and Alexis Lafreniere said after the Rangers got #1

Jeff Gorton and Alexis Lafreniere met with the media following the Rangers winning the #1 overall pick (NHL):

Jeff Gorton:

  • On what getting #1 does for the Rangers and Alexis fitting in, (Audio Issues) “I’m sure Ranger fans everywhere were pretty excited when the ball came up Rangers.”
  • Is Lafreniere a slam dunk pick, “Listen, I’m from the school that we will take some time and let it all settle in here. I wouldn’t want to give away exactly what is going to happen and we haven’t had the luxury of, we didn’t want jinx ourselves and do our zoom with Alexis until we had the good fortune of winning the lottery, I didn’t want to waste his time. We will go through that process and start to meet the young man and go down the road of talking to him and his family and doing all that. Let’s get through that first and for tonight, let’s let the Ranger fans be happy about winning the lottery.”
  • Did you have the same good luck charm as last year, “yes, I absolutely do. I have Steve McDonald’s badge with me that his wife Patty-Ann let us use again. Last year it worked so we reached out again and as you know, huge Ranger fans, we have an award named after him that goes to, basically, the hardest working guy on our team. It’s fitting. Good luck charm, I don’t know, starting to believe in them. Really excited they let us use it and we are 2-2 with it. Really excited to have it with me and have it work again.”
  • How might this change the offseason plan, “Short-term, a few days ago we are the first team out of the bubble and feel terrible and still trying to get over that and ask questions why and move forward with that. That isn’t going to change, we have to go through that process and sort out some things. You don’t get the first pick very often and this is a special year, it’s exciting. We are really exciting. You never expect this and when we saw the ball come up, I’m watching every logo on the balls spinning around except ours and started getting nervous and then you see the tube and you are begging to see the logo. Once I saw it come out on top it was a lot of different emotions you go through. Going back to the letter a couple years ago that we wrote and talking about our rebuild and trying to do things the right way. We knew we needed luck and luck was on our side tonight and we are pretty happy with that a few days after coming out of the bubble and walking away pretty upset. It’s a funny game sometimes, the good and the bad, it’s a great feeling.”
  • What does this do to accelerate the rebuild, “When you go through something like this you try to amass as much talent as you can and obviously if you look through some of the best players in the league, some of the star players in this league, it’s not a huge secret where the teams are getting them. It’s lottery picks and high end parts of the draft. That is generally, it’s not always the truth, but it’s where you get your players and it’s hard. The opportunity is huge, think back to the last few years and you try and do things the right way, try to solidify goaltending, good young defense pieces and now we have been lucky in the last couple of years to do what we’ve done in the lottery. I feel like things are coming together, there is a lot of work left to be done and don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s a good night for Ranger fans to be excited. It’s never happened before, it’s the first time picking first, that is a long time.”
  • On this softening the blow for losing to Carolina, “anybody that is on the call that was in the bubble, leaving the bubble first hurts. There are still seven teams in the hotel and you are walking by them all, they are all getting coffee and you are getting on your bus. Usually you lose, you walk out of the rink, fly home. This one, you are with all these teams and you are the first one out. As we flew home it was a tough feeling, to lose like we did and be swept. We’ve been going through that the last few days and thinking about what is next and what we have to change. I’ve said it a few times on this call, it’s huge excitement for an organization to get the first pick in any year and I think this one is even more special.”
  • How much does losing to Carolina impact the season as a whole, “that is a good question, still trying to get through that one. I think fairly significant. Even though it was three games, the way we lost, I think we have to consider a lot of things that we could do differently as we move forward to be a harder team to play against. I don’t want to dismiss the 70 games and how far we came as a team and where we were prior to the pause, we were in a good spot, winning a lot of games, a lot of young guys were doing good things, Panarin had a special year, Mika had a special year, Shesterkin had come on, Fox, so many good things that were happening, I don’t dismiss that at all and I’m excited about it but at the same time, we’d be kidding ourselves not to say ‘why were we taken out so easily. We are going through that now for sure.”
  • Does this add urgency to add a veteran down the middle, “It might, I think, it’s still pretty raw, we just lost and we are going through that now. It’s all speculation and I understand you guys ask the questions but it’s like, if I just went on this call and told you all of our holes and what we need to do and what we are going to do that probably doesn’t help me in the market when I make calls. I think it’s a fair thing to say, something we will look at like a lot of things. I wish I could answer it further but we have to have more meetings and I’d like to keep it closer to the vest than announcing we are going to get centers or do something else, if you know what I mean.”
  • What have you been told about the draft, “the draft is excellent, very deep and we have a second pick in the first round that we are excited about too. I think we are thinking this draft is better than a lot of the ones we’ve seen recently, so we are very excited that we have an additional first round pick also.”

Alexis Lafreniere:





What does it feel like to know where you are going, “it’s been a really long last couple of months but fun to know who won the lottery today and really good team obviously with good players, for sure it’s pretty good news and I’m really happy.”

Is it possible you go back to Rimouski before NHL training camp, “for sure, there are a couple of possibilities but we don’t know yet our decision. We will talk with my agents and family and make the best decision that we can.”

What do you know about NY, “I’ve never been to NY. My favorite player for sure this year was Panarin, an unreal year he had and dominant one of the best players in the league, really exciting to watch.”

How much have you been training, “I’ve been on the ice a couple of times a week for maybe two months now. It’s always fun to work on yourself and the player you try to become, and the gym too. To be productive in the NHL you have to work in the gym and on the ice to get better. You need to work hard and try to improve every year.”

What would you ask Artemi Panarin, “I’d probably just ask him what it’s like to play in NY, simple questions, try to get to know him a little bit would be my approach.”

Can you describe your best assets as a player and teammate, “I’d say my vision offensively to create chances for me or my teammates. My leadership is real big, just all my offensive abilities, play offensively with the puck.”