Will the NHL give us more New York Rangers games in the future?

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-New York Rangers at Los Angeles Kings
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The New York Rangers have been dazzling fans over the course of 82 regular-season games since the 1994-95 season.

Lately, there’s been a buzz regarding the potential increase of teams that make the playoffs and adding two more games to the schedule.

An 84 game slate was actually in place for two seasons spanning from 1992 to 1994. Yes, that would also coincide with the last time the Rangers hoisted the Stanley Cup. Seeing how the last drought spanned 54 years and this one is reaching 30, a return to that schedule would be welcomed by most fans.

New York Rangers could play 84 games a season soon

1994 new york rangers
Rangers players pose for a team photo after defeating Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

Starting in 1974-75, the NHL went from a 78 game schedule to 80. It remained that way until the 1992-93 campaign when it increased by two for teams to play those contests in non-NHL cities.

At the conclusion of the 1993-94 season, Rangers fans were euphoric thanks to Mark Messier and Company ending the curse. Watching the team parade the Stanley Cup through Manhattan during that summer, the anticipation of raising their first banner since 1940 to the Garden Rafters was all anyone could think about.

Then the NHL and NHLPA came to an impasse over implementing a salary cap leading to a lockout that the delayed the ceremony until January 20, 1995.

Although the cap as we know it today wasn’t implemented, rules on rookie salaries and when players could become unrestricted free agents laid the groundwork. Also as part of the deal that ended the lockout, the new CBA reduced the regular-season to 82 games.

So with renewed talks around the league, is an increase in games coming for the regular season? And will we see more playoff teams too?

I wouldn’t count on a change to the playoff system. Especially since commissioner Gary Bettman has openly expressed not being in favor of increasing the number of playoff teams with a play-in round. However, there seems to be an appetite for adding more games to the docket.

It’s something ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski asked new NHLPA head Marty Walsh about in a recent interview.

“Any conversations about rule changes, league changes or the game changes, those are things that I would have a long conversation with players about first,” Walsh said. “I’m certainly not in a position to recommend changes on how we do things in the National Hockey League without having support of the players I represent.”


Whether or not the league and NHLPA decide to increase the regular season remains to be seen. That may be part of the new CBA after this one expires before the 2026-27 campaign.

In a recent post at The Daily Goal Horn, I advocated for both sides to get it done. If it means the reduction of meaningless exhibition games and an increase in revenue to help raise the salary cap ceiling, everyone should be for it.

For Rangers’ fans, it could also be a positive sign to end this latest championship drought sooner rather than later.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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