The Start of a Dynasty
After getting swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoff qualifying round last week, the Rangers and seven other teams had a 12.5 percent chance of drawing the first-overall selection in the second phase of the NHL draft lottery. The Rangers ended up coming out on top. While the Rangers would rather still be skating in the playoffs, they will have the rights to draft a player for a short- and long-term gain. What does this mean for the Ranger’s future?
This is the first time the Rangers have held the top pick since 1965, selecting André Veilleux, who ended up not playing professional hockey. The Rangers have a young core and still have developing rookie Kaapo Kakko who was selected second overall in last year’s NHL draft. The Rangers could go in any direction they want, but Alexis Lafrenière is considered the consensus top pick by almost every account.
Lafrenière projects to be a highly skilled, dynamic offensive force at the NHL level, and he’s expected to be ready to make an immediate impact for whatever team he goes too. He has exceptional hands, creativity and vision, and is also capable of making plays in the blue-collar areas as well. At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, the left winger is considered the total package and one of the most complete prospects to enter the draft in recent years and is even drawing comparisons to future hall of famer, Sidney Crosby.
While Lafrenière may be a slightly less certain superstar than Crosby or the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid when they were prospects, he is widely regarded as a guaranteed first liner with pro-level upside. Where Lafrenière skated, hardware followed in the form of nearly every “Player of the Year” trophy for which he was eligible. He should make an immediate impact as soon as he steps on the ice with the young core Blueshirts surrounding him.
Thanks to a handful of trades done by the Rangers, they have a total of 10 draft picks for the 2020 draft. It looks like this lottery win is a step in the right direction for the Blueshirts.