In case you missed it, and I don’t know how you could have, the Rangers won the draft lottery (in the loosest of definitions) and moved up from 6th to 2nd in the 2019 NHL Draft. I have celebratory thoughts.
1. This was incredibly huge that the Rangers got into the top-two. This draft is very deep, but there is a significant talent drop off after Jack Hughes/Kaapo Kakko. The guys at 3-10 are no slouches, but they are not the elite NHL ready talent that both Hughes and Kakko are. It is expected that both will be able to play in the NHL immediately.
2. Suffice it to say, the Rangers haven’t had a prospect like this in a long, long time, no matter who they get. Vitali Kravtsov is a potentially elite talent as well, and we’ve seen the hype train with him. Kakko is supposed to be even better. This is a huge get for the Rangers. I cannot stress this enough. It honestly doesn’t matter who the Devils take at #1, both Hughes and Kakko are elite talents. That said, I actually prefer Kakko. Something about the Scandinavian game is just great. It’s expected the Devils will take Hughes, which is A-OK by me.
3. This is the highest the Rangers have ever picked in their history. Their last top-five pick was Pavel Brendl. He was #4 overall in a first round that ended after the Sedins went 2-3 and should have gone 1-2. The next highest was Al Montoya at #6 overall, which in hindsight was a terrible pick because of what we know now about goalies and voodoo and Henrik Lundqvist. I’m sure a lot of Debbie Downers are going to point to them as reasons why the Rangers will screw this up. But you know what, be happy for once in your life.
4. This is also why there were so many people who weren’t exactly upset when the Rangers lost games. I will never root for the Rangers to lose, but I can be less upset if they do. I still stand by my thoughts that the loser point should be banished, though, even if it did get the Rangers to the #6 spot and then the #2 overall pick.
5. Let it be known that Pavel Buchnevich’s game tying goal in Game 81 and Ryan Strome’s OT winner in Game 82 gave the Rangers the #2 pick.
6. This pick will forever be associated with Steven McDonald. A fitting legacy for an incredible human.