New York Rangers: Blueshirts are excelling at not excelling

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As the 2018-19 NHL season draws to a close, the New York Rangers are getting close to the league’s cellar. Their fall has recently been accelerating.

Friday night the New York Rangers host the playoff-bound St. Louis Blues. It’s a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions. That’s OK because the Rangers are supposed to be bad this year. Remember, it’s a rebuilding year.

At the 2018 trade deadline Rangers management sent a letter to fans saying they couldn’t win with the players they had. Their plan was to blow up the roster and “restart” with young talent. That goal has been accomplished. Players such as Rick Nash, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Hayes, and Mats Zuccarello have all departed.

The old guard has been replaced with players such as Boo Nieves, Ryan Strome, Vinni Lettieri, and Brendan Lemieux, a cavalcade of future Hall-of-Famers. You got to give it up to general manager Jeff Gorton, he’s sticking with the plan.

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As of now, the Rangers have the fifth worst record in the NHL. That means the team has been doing its part to get a better draft pick. The Blueshirts won’t catch Ottowa for the worst record, but with a handful of games remaining, they could still finish 30th out of 31 teams. Los Angeles, who holds that spot now is only six points behind the New York Rangers. Maybe the Kings can get hot.

New Jersey is 29th and only trail the Rangers by four points. A Devils win when the teams face each other Monday night would certainly tighten things up. Unfortunately, after their NJ game, the Senators come to the Garden two days later. On the bright side, if you see it that way, the season ends against two teams who are desperate to make the playoffs, Columbus and Pittsburgh.

"According to, the New York Rangers odds of landing the top pick, Jack Hughes, are 8.5 percent. Hughes is described as a generational talent, so think Connor McDavid. Their odds on picking second, Kaapo Kakko, the Patrick Laine of this draft are 8.7 percent. Keep this in mind though, currently, the Rangers odds of finishing seventh are 15 percent greater than landing a top three pick."

While they have gone 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, it isn’t good enough, or bad enough, again depending on how you see it. I ran the simulator 10 times, once I hit the second pick, and once the third. Otherwise, it came up sixth or seventh.

The New York Rangers have excelled at not excelling recently, but they can’t sleep on it. There are six games left.

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Authors Note: In reality, I’m pretty happy with the talent coming up through the Rangers system. They will be a good team in a few years. A player of Hughes caliber could really kick the rebuild into high gear.