New York Rangers: Forget Alexis Lafreniere for now, just win

The New York Rangers have a 12.5 percent chance of gaining the number one overall draft pick this year if they lose to Carolina in the qualifying round. Forget that, just win.

Since a mystery play-in team won last week’s NHL Draft Lottery, New York Rangers fans have been picturing consensus first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere in the team’s colors. The Blueshirts can’t afford to think that way. They are in the playoffs (sort of), and winning games is the most important thing.

Watching videos of Lafreniere, it’s easy to see why he is such a highly rated prospect. It’s almost mind-boggling to think of the damage a line consisting of him, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin could do to opponents. They would be devastating.

This reality check is brought to you by former Jets head coach Herman Edwards: “You play to win the game, hello. You play to win the game.”

It feels like forever since the New York Rangers have smelled a whiff of playoff hockey, but they have only missed the last two postseasons. Since the Blueshirts lost to Ottawa in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, virtually the entire team has turned over.

Only seven players remain from that group, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, and Zibanejad. Well, really it’s six because Smith is a spare part.

The current incarnation of the New York Rangers is both young and hungry. They played hard all season. Let’s see what they can do in literally, the second season. There is much to be gained both in experience and confidence from going through several rounds of the playoffs.

Lafreniere, at this point, is a pipe dream. There is only a 12.5 percent chance the pick would belong to the Rangers even if they did lose to Carolina in qualifying round. Winning the series isn’t their best option; its the only option.

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What do you think about the possibility of the New York Rangers losing to Carolina and getting the top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.

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