New York Rangers: Playoff’s opening round a mixed bag for Blueshirts

Mats Zuccarello, Dallas Stars. New York Rangers. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Mats Zuccarello, Dallas Stars. New York Rangers. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers aren’t directly involved in this year’s playoffs. However, they still have legitimate rooting interests tied to conditional draft picks.

Even though the New York Rangers didn’t qualify for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. That doesn’t mean the Blueshirts don’t have any skin in the game. There are a few conditional draft picks on the line, the Rangers acquired in various trades.

The first round of the playoffs was upset central. None of the division champions won their respective series. Calgary, Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Washington all fell. For NYR, it was a mixed bag. One series had a positive outcome, the other, not so much. Here is the breakdown.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay won the 2018-19 Presidents Trophy awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the season. They were favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Bolts were swept by Columbus, and the New York Rangers also took a hit.

When the Blueshirts started cleaning house in the spring of 2018, Tampa Bay was one of their trade partners. In return for captain Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller, the New York Rangers obtained Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, a 2018 first round pick and a 2019 conditional second-round pick.

The condition was the second round pick becomes a first rounder if the Lightning won a Stanley Cup in either 2018 or 2019. With TBL’s elimination, the New York Rangers will receive the 60th overall pick instead of possibly selecting 31st. That’s a huge difference.

Dallas Stars

More from Empire Writes Back

On the other side of the coin, Dallas shockingly upset the Nashville Predators in six games. They were led by Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov with six points each. Former Rangers star Mats Zuccarello had three points, with two on the power play. Stars goalie Ben Bishop finished the series with a 1.90 Goals Against Average, and .945 Save Percentage.

From the All-Star break until the end of the regular season, Dallas had the second best record in hockey. Their series win over Nashville might have been predicted. The Stars have a ton of momentum heading into their series with St. Louis beginning Thursday night. Unfortunately, they run into a buzzsaw in the Blues who had the best record in the league post-all-star break.

This series is hugely important to the New York Rangers. When they sent Zuccarello to Big D at the trade deadline, NYR received a 2019 conditional second-round pick and 2020 conditional third rounder. The first condition is the pick gets upgraded to a first round pick if the Stars make it to the third round which they do by beating St. Louis. Here’s the difference, if Dallas loses this series, the Rangers receive the 51st overall pick. Should they win, that pick is upgraded to either 20th, 30th, or 31st depending on how far the Stars go.

Next. Time for Rangers to bring John Davidson home. dark

New York Rangers fans will have to temporarily become Stars fans. If you can’t quite stomach wearing the “Victory Green” and White Stars colors, its (understandable). Tell yourself that you are doing it to support Zucc.