I don’t pretend to know the rules that determine the order of picks in the NHL Draft. I’m pretty sure they changed them this season with eight extra teams qualifying for the playoffs, anyway. Common sense would dictate that the Rangers wouldn’t have a shot at top pick since they were the No. 11 seed in the NHL’s bubble tournament that led into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Common sense, though, is not hockey sense, and it turns out that the Rangers won a 12.5-percent chance at the top pick in the first phase of the draft lottery. In that phase, the first pick was awarded to a mystery team that could be any of the 16 teams playing in the qualifying bubble tourney. That 16-team field was narrowed down to eight when the Rangers were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes and seven other teams saw their seasons come to a sad end.
On Monday night, the Rangers had their ping pong ball drawn to secure the top overall pick.
Is that good or something? Yes, it means the Rangers will have the opportunity to select Alexis Lafreniere, the consensus top prospect who has the potential to be a franchise-defining superstar like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid.
That toe drag against the Americans was just nasty. Since I’m super competitive and against tanking of any kind, I was a little put off by the celebrations of Rangers fans on Twitter. Getting the top pick in the draft isn’t something to be happy about, but given that the team is still rebuilding and wasn’t actively tanking anyway, I should just take it as a gift.
So yeah, let’s freaking go. We got Lefreniere, got Kakko, got a whole lot of hope for the future. Now all we need is for the Islanders to lose to the Capitals in the playoffs and we’re all set.