The New York Rangers have a shot at landing the first-overall pick in the draft this year and Alexis Lafreniere would be quite the prize.
Not only do the New York Rangers have a shot at their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history, but the Broadway Blueshirts could potentially obtain the 2020 first-overall draft pick.
Here’s the catch though — both can’t happen. Sorry, guys.
If the Rangers were to lose to Carolina in the NHL’s play-in round, then New York would have a 12.5% chance at winning phase two of the newly formatted draft lottery.
This leads to one question: How many times have the Rangers owned the NHL’s first-overall pick?
While there are more than a handful of NHL teams that have never selected first in the draft, the Rangers almost fall into that same category. Per Hockey-Reference, New York has selected first at the draft just once since 1963.
Given the current state of the team’s roster, the first-overall pick in 2020 is the icing on the cake for the team’s recent rebuilding phase, no?
Canada. Would. Not. Be. Denied.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) December 26, 2019
Mika Zibanejad and company are ahead of schedule in the rebuild and with the future still bright for other youngsters on the roster — adding a skater like Alexis Lafreniere places the Rangers in the conversation as Cup contenders sooner rather than later.
Forwards such as Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin clearly established themselves as top-tier offensive threats in the NHL this past season, while new kids on the block, Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo, reminded the league that the future is also promising on the backend at the Garden.
Let’s not forget that it’s too early to give up on the Rangers’ 2019 No. 2 overall selection, Kaapo Kakko. At 18-years-old and still raw, picture the Finnish native progressing alongside an expected generational draft pick in Lafreniere.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 4, 2020
Keep in mind that the expected No. 1 overall-pick can dish the puck like Scott Gomez back in his prime, which opens up time and space offensively for an already talented squad upfront.
Depth is of the essence when it boils down to a club embarking on a run deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs — regardless if the arenas have fans in the stands or not.
Since 2000, four skaters who were selected with the No. 1 draft-pick have won a Stanley Cup (Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Patrick Kane), while some of their teammates were selected between picks two through five around the same time frame. The fact that Fleury, Crosby, and Kane have all won three Cups since 2008-09 cannot go overlooked, either. That, without a doubt, adds greater value to obtaining a No. 1 overall selection.
It’s safe to say that a modern Cup-winning team in the NHL must entail at least two-to-three draft picks who were former top-five selections and homegrown products.
Most fans not only want hockey to return this summer, but witness goaltender Henrik Lundqvist hoist his first-ever Stanley Cup championship.
However, adding Lafreniere offers potential for a Stanley Cup dynasty.
Now is a good time to be a New York Rangers fan.