Rangers still have a chance at worst record in NHL
The Rangers currently sit tied for the 26th worst record in the NHL. And while in a normal season that would be something to balk at, the Rangers are in the midst of a rebuild and, though they may not admit it publicly, losing is the best way to accelerate the rebuilding process. It may be a long shot, with the Rangers needing to lose all seven of their remaining games, but there’s still a chance that the Rangers can finish as the league’s worst team if things break the right way.
New Jersey Devils
The Hudson River rivals are just four points behind the Blueshirts, and the Rangers will need some help from the Devils if they are going to sink to the bottom. The Devils finish their season with games against Detroit, St. Louis, the Rangers, Carolina, and Florida. All of these contests, from a New Jersey perspective, are winnable. For the Rangers, if the Devils can record five points or more, they’d distance themselves from the Rangers.
Detroit Red Wings
The team from MoTown has struggled all season, and are currently five points behind their Original Six counterparts. Detroit has six games remaining on their schedule, with two games against Buffalo and Pittsburgh, as well as matchups with New Jersey and Boston. If the Red Wings can earn themselves six points in these six games, it’d go a long way in helping the Rangers.
Los Angeles Kings
Hollywood’s hockey club has been on a slow and steady decline since they defeated the Rangers back in 2014, but the Rangers will need the Kings of yesteryear to re-emerge for the Blueshirts to drop in the standings. Six or more points in their remaining seven games (Edmonton, Vancouver, Chicago, Calgary, Arizona, Anaheim, Vegas) should do the trick for the Rangers.
This one is the most unlikely to happen, more so than anything else, simply because the Senators have been the standard bearer of bad hockey all season. For the Rangers to end up as the NHL’s top cellar dweller, they would need Ottawa to win all of their remaining seven contests. And with just two of those seven games against playoff teams, it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.
The Sabres are an interesting team in this whole hypothetical. The Western New York hockey club is the team tied with the Rangers, edging out the Broadway Blueshirts with three more ROWs (regulation and overtime wins). The Sabres have one of the easier remaining schedules in the NHL, facing opponents with a combined winning percentage of .491%. This is certainly advantageous for the Rangers, who will need the Sabres to win some more games if the Blueshirts are going to finish dead last.
What is likely to happen
Of course for the Rangers to actually finish as the 31st ranked team in the NHL, a lot of dominoes have to fall just right. What is more probable to happen is that if the Rangers do go winless over their seven remaining contests, they’d end up with the third pick. It would mean losing out on guaranteed top-two picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, but it would give the Rangers the first choice at the rest of the incoming prospects.