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NHL Notebook: Former Calgary Flames forward Sven Baertschi announces retirement and New York Rangers sign Alexis Lafreniere to two-year deal

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
Former Calgary Flames first-round draft pick Sven Baertschi has announced his retirement from hockey.
First reported in early August, news of his retirement was made official by the NHL Alumi association. Baertschi cited injuries as a reason for his retirement.
“Today I am announcing my retirement as a professional ice hockey player with mixed feelings. It’s a painful decision. Ice hockey is a sport that demands everything from the body. Like most players, I’ve had a number of injuries that are now taking their toll. After months of training, I realized that my body can no longer perform as well as I need it to. And playing with less than 100 percent, I can’t accept that.“
Here’s more on his retirement from Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell:
He was a first round-draft pick for the Flames, going 13th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. He spent parts of four seasons with the Flames, where he had 8 goals, 20 assists, and 28 points in 66 games.
After requesting a trade, Baertschi was dealt to the Canucks at the 2015 trade deadline for their 2015 second round pick that was then used to select defenseman Rasmus Andersson. In six seasons with the Canucks, Baertschi became an everyday NHLer, with 58 goals, 52 assists, and 110 points in 225 games, including a career-high 18 goals, 17 assists, and 35 points in 68 games in 2016-17.
After his play declined and he spent the entirety of the 2020-21 season in the AHL with the Utica Comets, he signed a one-year deal with the Golden Knights and spent most of the 2021-22 season in the AHL as well, playing one game for the Golden Knights where he was held pointless.
Baertschi had spent the previous season in the National League in Switzerland with Bern SC, where he had 4 goals, 10 assists, and 14 points in 36 games.

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Rangers ink Lafreniere for two years

Alexis Lafreniere has a new two-year deal with the New York Rangers.
The club signed the RFA to an extension Thursday carrying an AAV of $2.325-million.
Here’s more from Daily Faceoff’s Naftali Clinton:
Lafreniere was a first overall pick of the Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft when they got lucky in the draft lottery. He has played his entire ELC in the NHL but has failed thus far to reach anywhere near his potential. In the last three seasons, he has never scored more than 20 goals in a season or 40 points. In the 2022-23 season, he improved his point total to 39 in 81 games, along with 16 goals. He finished ninth on the Rangers in scoring this past season.
The Rangers seem to be comparing Lafreniere to recently signed Oilers centre Ryan McLeod. He signed a two-year deal at $2.1 million annually after a 23 point season in 57 games played. That puts McLeod on track for 33 points over an 82-game season. The extra $225k that Lafreniere will receive is for the six point lead he had on his RFA comparable this past season.
Over his three year NHL career, Lafreniere has scored 47 goals and 91 points in 216 games, along with 78 penalty minutes and a +5 rating. While he hasn’t reached his potential in the NHL yet, the former first overall pick would be a wise bet to have a breakout season in 2023-24.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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