Rangers heading for another draft lottery; winning it again would be poetic justice

By Anthony Scultore
Rangers win the draft lottery. (NBCSN/NYR)

The New York Rangers will be involved in the NHL Draft Lottery that will take place on June 2nd. For this season, the only change being implemented is the reduction of three lottery picks to two. More changes are coming in 2022.

Per NHL.com:

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery will be reduced from three drawings to two as part of changes announced Tuesday.

The changes, approved by the NHL Board of Governors, will determine the order of the NHL Draft for the teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Two other changes will begin with the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery:

  • Teams will be restricted from moving up more than 10 spots if it wins one of the lottery draws.
  • Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Wins in the lottery prior to 2022 will not be counted toward this total.

New York Rangers can still win the Draft Lottery again this season

That means when the New York Rangers miss out on the post season they will get a lottery ball for either the #2 or #1 pick in the draft. There’s no rule this season that would prevent the Rangers from jumping all the way into the top two.

Most likely the Blueshirts will finish as the 16th team not in the playoffs. Seattle is guaranteed the 3rd best chance to win the lottery, and if Arizona misses they have already forfeited their first round pick. That gives Jeff Gorton a 1.1% chance at the second pick, and a 0.5% chance at first overall per Tankathon.

Now wouldn’t that be something if they won it three years in row. Just how nuts do you think the league would go if the Blueshirts could jump into the top two again?

Rangers winning the lottery in 2019 and 2020 caused an outcry

New York Rangers rebuild
Lafreniere and Kakko key pieces to rebuild (Bauer/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have had the luck of the ping pong balls in two successive draft lottery drawings. In 2019, they jumped from 6th to 2nd overall and selected Kaapo Kakko. That may have irked a few teams, but the 2020 drawing saw them as an ousted team in the qualifiers land the 1st overall pick, Alexis Lafrenière. A jump from 11th to 1st was a bridge too far and even had some saying it was rigged.

While Lafrenière was getting set to star on Broadway for the next decade plus, Detroit picked 4th. Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings were livid behind closed doors and let the NHL know about it. Calls for change were demanded and it sounds like they got what they wanted. It may be only a small change this summer, but 2022 will be everything Yzerman and other GM’s asked for.

“NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirming to me that the league is working on changing the format for the draft lottery,” Pierre LeBrun said earlier this season. “Something’s going to be presented to the Board of Governors sooner rather than later.” The demand was to increase the chances of the lower teams to land the first pick and also eliminate teams like the Rangers moving up as they did to get Lafrenière. The changes accomplish that starting in 2022.

So while the chances of it happening again in 2021 are low, wouldn’t it be some kind of poetic justice if the Rangers won it again? I for one will be tuning into the lottery hoping and praying it happens. Not that the Rangers need another top two pick, because I think even if they won the lottery Jeff Gorton would trade the selection this summer in a blockbuster deal. No, I want them to win just to watch the madness that will follow.

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