Now is a special time to be a New York Rangers fan.
A year after selecting Kaapo Kakko with the No.2 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers will now have the first selection in 2020.
While the sweep to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Qualifying Round hurt, that pain didn’t last long given the consolation prize.
Handed a 12.5 percent chance to win the first overall pick in the NHL 2020 Lottery Draft, Blueshirts the world over were dreaming about the unthinkable heading into Monday.
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And, keeping in line with what has unfolded over the last year or so, dreams became reality when the ping pong ball with that famous Rangers logo on it was plucked out first.
Yes, the New York Rangers had won the Draft Lottery and, therefore, the chance to draft stud forward Alexis Lafreniere with the No.1 overall pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on October 9 or 10.
No, you are not dreaming.
I’m currently in England so I stayed up to see how the Lottery Draft unfolded, fully expecting the Rangers to end up with the No.10 overall pick.
So I was absolutely stunned when events proceeded as they did, and I’ll admit that a fair bit of shouting and running around like a crazy man did take place.
I also had to double check Twitter this morning to make sure that I wasn’t in fact dreaming last night.
But enough about me.
This was another huge moment for the Rangers, another significant turning point in a year full of them.
Lafreniere is a legit generational talent and all signs point towards that he’ll be NHL ready whenever the 2020-21 season begins.
He had a staggering 297 points in 173 games for Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL, which is a 1.72 Points Per Game pace.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 11, 2020
Blessed with a dazzling playmaking ability, a high compete level and the attitude and mentality needed to flourish under the bright lights of Broadway, Lafreniere is primed to be the next superstar to take the NHL by storm.
Barring anything unforeseen between now and October, Lafreniere will be pulling on that famous New York Rangers jersey and that is incredibly exciting on its own.
But, when you consider that the soon to be19-year-old will be added to a loaded core already featuring Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, then this really could be the start of a bright new era for the Rangers.
Add into the mix that Kaapo Kakko should be better in his sophomore season, Vitali Kravtsov could finally break through and stud defenseman K’Andre Miller could make the leap to the NHL, you can’t blame us for wanting 2020-21 to be here already.
Plus, under control for three years on an entry-level contract, the Rangers will have some cap flexibility to add more pieces in and around Lafreniere if needs be.
Let’s not forget either that the Blueshirts will have another first-round pick, and an opportunity to draft another stud at another area of need.
And, while we aren’t going to predict that the Rangers could be the next great dynasty in the NHL, because we all know how hard winning the Stanley Cup is, there is no doubt that this storied franchise is building something special.
They made giant strides in 2019-20 and now they will have an opportunity to close the book on this rebuild and really start making some noise.
I mean, just imagine Zibanejad, Panarin and Lafreniere all on the ice together, or Lafreniere and Kakko on the same line.
The possibilities are endless with Lafreniere on the roster and it adds another scary weapon to an already potent offense.
This is a special time to be a New York Rangers fan right now and Monday was another notable milestone to really cherish.
It seems as though the glory days are rapidly on their way back and Alexis Lafreniere could well be the guy to help make the New York Rangers a real powerhouse again.
Now bring on the NHL Entry Draft!