#15 Dallas Stars
Okay, we all liked Nils Lundkvist, but it would a bit much for New York fans to see him winning a Stanley Cup at the expense of the Rangers. Also, their coach is Peter DeBoer and we bear a grudge against him for coaching the Devils past the Rangers in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. There’s no playoff history between these two teams.
#14 Calgary Flames
There’s one big reason why the Rangers meeting the Calgary Flames in the Cup Final ranks 14th on our list and it’s named Darryl Sutter. After coaching the Kings to their second Cup win in 2014, watching Sutter hoist another Cup at the Rangers’ expense could be too much to handle. Oh yes, Don Maloney is also VP of Hockey Operations in Calgary and he would get a ring if the Flames beat the Rangers.
#13 Winnipeg Jets
A Final series with the Winnipeg would have a lot of meaning for one New York Ranger, namely team captain Jacob Trouba. He would be going head-to-head with the player he was traded for in Neal Pionk. Considering that he played six seasons in Winnipeg and then forced a trade, Trouba would have a lot to prove. Don’t forget that former Ranger Morgan Barron is with the Jets and has a solid season with eight goals and 19 points in 65 games. He scored on a penalty shot against the Devils on Sunday.
This series would pit the defending Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin against Connor Hellebuyck who won the award in 2020. While the Jets have never faced the Rangers in the playoffs, they did face them once when they were the Atlanta Thrashers, winning their1980 Preliminary Round, 3-1.
#12 Florida Panthers
For the Rangers, it’s a “win one for the coach” series as they take on the Florida Panthers who fired Gerard Gallant in a most disgraceful way in 2016, dumping his luggage out of the team bus and having him stand on the sidewalk after a road loss in Raleigh, while he waited for a cab.
Three presence of three former Rangers adds to the intrigue as Anthony Duclair, Marc and Eric Staal will try to get revenge on the team that scorned them. Also, Panthers assistant coach Tuomo Ruutu was a mentor of rookie Kaapo Kakko in his role as the Rangers’ Assistant Director of Player Development. You can be sure that Kakko will want to impress his countryman from Finland.
In their only playoff meeting in 1997, the Rangers knocked the Panthers out of the playoffs. They won a Quarter-Finals series 4-1, beating John Vanbiesbrouck just one year after the Beezer had led the Panthers to a loss in the Stanley Cup Final.
#11 Edmonton Oilers
There’s not a lot of history between these two teams. They have never played each other in the postseason. There are no former Rangers on the Oilers. No current Ranger has worn an Oilers uniform. In fact, most Ranger fans have a soft spot for the Oilers who were kind enough to trade Mark Messier, Jeff Beukeboom, Kevin Lowe, Esa Tikkanen, and Craig MacTavish to the Blueshirts in time for them to win the Cup in 1994.
But there is one overwhelming reason why a Stanley Cup Final between the two teams would be one for the ages. Igor Shesterkin vs. Connor McDavid. That’s it. Enough said.