Per Watson, outgoing General Manager Alex Chatelain, who is still working for the club in a scouting capacity as it transitions to new GM Florence Schelling, has been tracking Lettieri on behalf of the club and would like to add him for the 2020-21 season.
Lettieri, 25, has been among the AHL’s top offensive performers over the past two seasons, ranking 14th in total goals over that time. However, he’s struggled to find success at the NHL level. Lettieri scored in his NHL debut in December 2017, but has since struggled over the course of numerous call-ups, registering just a goal and five assists in his next 45 games while trying to translate his offensive-minded game into a checking role.
A move to Europe could benefit Lettieri, where the game better suits his strengths. The bigger ice surface could create more opportunities for him to utilize his speed in open space and find spots to set up for shooting opportunities. Regardless of whether he goes abroad or stays in North America, it seems likely that Lettieri’s time in the Rangers’ organization is coming to a close. Although he was arguably Hartford’s best performing forward this season, the Rangers’ coaching staff has evidently moved on, with numerous other players getting recalls while Lettieri stayed, playing zero NHL games this season.
It’s worth noting that Lettieri is currently with the Rangers in Toronto as part of the team’s expanded roster for the 2020 playoffs. Injuries and the virus could very well lead to him getting games, but it took a literal crisis for him to re-emerge as a serious consideration for Head Coach David Quinn’s team. Lettieri set to become an unrestricted free agent once the season ends and he will likely seek a fresh opportunity in a different setup.