Kaapo Kakko
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The big day has finally arrived for the New York Rangers. The NHL Entry Draft will be held Friday night and it’ll be Kaapo Kakko or Jack Hughes. 

Frank Curto

With the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers select …

Finally, Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the Rangers will be able to answer the most intriguing question of the offseason. The selection will be made by default, in all reality, as the Blueshirts will take the player that the New Jersey Devils pass on.

The excitement among Rangers fans all over the world has been overwhelming. fans deserve a night like this, one filled with knowing that the club may once again be in the playoff conversation.

Rangerstown deserves to have this opportunity. Just over a year and a half ago, the Rangers organization decided to break the team and begin a “rebuild.” Trades of familiar faces were executed, followed by a tough season that saw a new head coach, plenty of young kids, and a dreadful defense take to the ice every game night.

Now, the team once again owns a legitimate future. Friday night either Jack Hughes or most likely Kaapo Kakko will be called up to that stage and drape himself in a Rangers cap and sweater.

When was the last time Rangers fans had something really to be excited about? Other than the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, the struggles have been gut-wrenching. The conclusion of last season was the last straw as the team traded fan-favorite and the heart and soul of this team, Mats Zuccarello, to the Dallas Stars.

Kaapo Kakko, RoboKaapo T-Shirt

Following the selection in Vancouver on Friday night, many would argue the rebuilding process will be concluded.

A re-birth of tradition, pride and heart is on the horizon. The new Rangers are about to take off. Yes, there will be some veteran faces on this team such as Mika Zibanejad, Brady Skjei and Henrik Lundqvist to show the kids the way. They can’t do it themselves, but they will infuse an attitude that this team has been missing for several years.

Vitali Kravtsov, Alexandar Georgiev, Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox all will contribute to the new and uprising Rangers club.

Hughes and Kakko will be impact players this year and will definitely be in the starting lineup of whichever team drafts each respective kid. A great as things look on paper, there will be growing pains in the beginning, but the endgame is so energetic and positive.

The wins will come.

Jeff Gorton has done the job he was hired to do. He is making the team a conversation within the National Hockey League again. He’ll look down from his Madison Square Garden perch at a team that will be tough to play against, strong on the blueline, and can compete in goal.

For now, however, for just one night, fans can just enjoy the moment, one that has been in motion for some time, one that involved patience and a little luck. Rangers fans, one in all, are going to have one of the best nights in the history of the organization.

The foundation for the next 10 years will be laid down tonight. It’ll be a foundation that could carry the team not just to the playoffs, but one that should lead to another Stanley Cup run in a few years.

After Friday night’s celebration, the next and possibly final piece of the Rangers puzzle will need to be constructed.

Artemi Panarin, the New York Rangers are coming for you. Is Panarin up to the task? We will find out around July 1.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com