Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller have declined invitations to play for Team USA in the upcoming World Championship Tournament that will be played in Riga, Latvia, The Post has learned, while Alexis Lafreniere is expected to decline an invitation to represent Canada.
NHL players have lived under restrictions for months that did not apply to the general population and will face COVID-19 protocols during the tournament that will be played from May 21 through June 6. Lafreniere would face a quarantine upon returning from Latvia to his home in Quebec.
In addition, Miller has been in the New York area since last July and has not been home for close to 10 months. Lafreniere has been in the area since the first week of July and has not seen his parents or family since then. Both need time home and away from the rink.
Fox, who did not record a point over the final six games of the season, is the leader in the clubhouse for points by a defenseman with 47 (5-42). But Edmonton’s Tyson Barrie is one point back (8-38-46) with three games to play while Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman is two back (9-36-45) with one game remaining.
Only three Rangers regulars were on the ice for more goals against than goals for at five-on-five, they being Chris Kreider (27/29), Lafreniere (29/31) and Brett Howden (12/15). Fox led defensemen in goals-for percentage at 58.11 (43/31) while Filip Chytil’s 61.36 (27/17) led the team, just ahead of Artemi Panarin’s 60.0 (33/22).
Kaapo Kakko, meanwhile, made the most dramatic improvement not only on the Rangers but across the entire NHL. After finishing with the poorest goals-for percentage in the league among players with at least 700 minutes played at 28.57 (14/35) last year, the Finn checked in at 55.81 (24/19). All numbers of courtesy of Naturalstattrick.com.
Kreider, sidelined for the final six games with lower-back issues, had the worst statistical year of his career since bouncing between New York and Hartford in his 2012-13 rookie season.
The winger did score 20 goals to tie Pavel Buchnevich for second on the club behind Mika Zibanejad’s 24, but nine of his goals came in a six-game stretch from Feb. 20 through March 4 that included a pair of hat tricks. Kreider thus scored 11 goals in the other 44 games.
Beyond that, Kreider’s five-on-five points per 60:00 decreased from 2.47 last season to 1.42, the lowest since 2012-13. His shots per 60:00 of 5.29 were markedly down from last year’s 8.2.
Chytil led the club in five-on-five shots per 60:00 at 8.59 while Julien Gauthier checked in second at 8.01. Ryan Strome was third at 7.73 with Buchnevich next at 7.59.
Kreider’s 11 power-play goals, however, are fourth-most in the league behind Leon Draisaitl’s 14 and Joe Pavelski’s and T.J. Oshie’s 12.
Buchnevich, Chytil, Gauthier, Howden, Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek and Igor Shesterkin are pending restricted free agents, with only Buchnevich eligible for salary arbitration.
Brendan Smith and Phil Di Giuseppe are the pending free agents on the roster.