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Plenty of NHL clubs calling Rangers on Lafrenière, Seattle Kraken to host 2024 Winter Classic, and more: Around the League

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Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy in which we examine news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Canucks-tinted lens.
There’s one part of this edition of Around the League that will come as little surprise, so let’s just get that one out of the way.
Plenty of NHL clubs calling Rangers on Lafrenière
Yesterday, Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali — The Team reported that the Vancouver Canucks had checked in on Rangers forward and 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafrenière.
The report comes after Lafrenière was a healthy scratch for the Rangers’ game against the Tampa Bay Lightning last week. The Canucks are far from the only team in the league to call the Rangers about the 21-year-old forward.
It will likely come as no surprise when we tell you that plenty of NHL clubs have called the Rangers about Lafrenière’s availability in a trade, a source told CanucksArmy. 
It’s unclear at this time if any “front runners” have emerged, but obviously, some team’s situations will allow them to be a more serious contender to land Lafrenière than others.
To this point in the season, Lafreniere has amassed five goals and 12 assists through 36 games. The 21-year-old winger’s ice time has continued to decrease as the season has gone on, with Lafreniere logging over 15 minutes of ice time just once in the month of December.
Seattle Kraken to host 2024 Winter Classic
On Monday, the NHL announced that T-Mobile Park in Seattle would serve as the destination for the 2024 Winter Classic.
The Kraken will take on the only team newer to the NHL than they are, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Obviously this will pique the interest of Canucks fans, as it’s the closest a Winter Classic — not a Heritage Classic — has ever been to the city of Vancouver.
And somehow, the Canucks aren’t playing in it. Now, this could be for a number of reasons, and we’re not here to definitively say which is the biggest factor in the NHL not choosing the Canucks as the team to play their geographical rivals, but one has to think the state of the Canucks certainly didn’t help their case.
The Kraken are a young up-and-coming team and look like they’ll compete in the playoffs this season, while also having Calder Trophy favourite Matty Beniers on their roster for years to come.
They’re fun to watch, and the NHL is clearly hoping to craft some sort of Pacific Division rivalry between the Kraken and Golden Knights. The battle of the expansion teams will take place on January 1st, 2024.
Connor Bedard sets a bunch of records and sends Canada to semi-final
Admittedly, we’ve been paying closer attention to the Canucks prospects on Team Sweden and Team Finland than we have been to Team Canada’s efforts at the World Junior Championship.
But we’ve still been watching, and like many of you, we’ve seen North Vancouver’s very own Connor Bedard put on absolute show.
In Canada’s Monday night victory over Slovakia, Bedard opened the scoring roughly six minutes into the game with a trademark wrist shot that made him the all-time goals and points leader in Canadian World Junior history. With the goal, the 17-year-old Lynn Valley product surpassed Jordan Eberle’s record of 14 career goals and also beat Eric Lindros’ record of 31 career points, which had remained unbroken since 1992.
Slovakia stormed back in the game to force overtime late, and it was Bedard who played the role of hero for Canada as he managed to avoid the upset and send Canada to the semi-finals.
The move was fittingly, absolutely ridiculous:
“I couldn’t score on a shot so I kind of had to do something,” Bedard said post game. “To hear [the crowd], you kind of black out a bit. But even after the goal the crowd was so loud I thought I was going deaf or something. So, it was pretty nuts.”
This kid is something special, and there’s no real Canucks spin on this one aside from the fact he’s from Vancouver and is a fan of the team. That, and how it feels like almost no one would have a problem with the Canucks tanking this year and giving it their best shot at getting Bedard in a Canucks uniform long term.

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