COL:

1

PIT:

2

Final

SJS:

4

TBL:

3

Final

EDM:

5

DET:

2

Final

SEA:

0

NYI:

4

Final

VGK:

5

NSH:

1

Final

ANA:

3

CHI:

2

Final

Rangers: Lottery Line is beginning to draw results

Being a first-round pick of any New York area sports team is an honor accompanied by tremendous weight. The countless busts are part of a numbers game, but it’s a bit more polarizing in a city like New York, where the fans are equally ruthless and faithful. It would take way too long to dive deep into the draft misfortunes of every New York sports team or even just the Rangers’ bad luck in the past thirty years. The New York Rangers just had one of their most successful seasons in the organization’s history, with a record of 52-24-6. After missing the playoffs the previous four seasons, this turnaround can be significantly attributed to the stellar play of Vezina and Hart trophy finalist Igor Shesterkin. Still, critical contributions came from serval players over the successful 82-game regular season; Chris Kreider scored a mind-boggling 52 goals, Artemi Panarin set career-highs in assists (74) and points (96), Mika Zibanejad became a point per game player for the first time in his career.

The list of career years could go on and on, but there are three players, in particular, that the Garden faithful have been watching intently. Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil have been scrutinized since their names were called during their respective drafts. While none of the three have busted out into a star quite yet, they haven’t been an utter failure either. After a collectively modest season, Chytil (22 points), Lafreniere (31 points), and Kakko (18 points), head coach Gerard Gallant finally put the trio together for the final week of the regular season. Gallant has kept the three youngsters together for the majority of the team’s first eight playoff games because of the familiarity and production of the top two lines showcased during the final month of the season and because the “Kid Line” has been the most consistent throughout the tournament.

With the top two lines’ production hitting droughts at inopportune times, the growth and production of the kids will go hand in hand with how deep this team goes. Game one of the second round saw the only New York goal come off a play in which Lafreniere intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and finished with a one-timer to Chytil. Later in the first period, Kakko set up Chytil with another prime scoring opportunity that Antti Raanta thwarted with a sprawling save with his foot. Ultimately, Kakko missed what would have been the game-winning goal late in the third period when he sailed a shot passed a wide-open net. The Rangers played one of their best games of the season Wednesday night in Carolina and missed a prime opportunity to steal back home-ice advantage.

Perhaps it’s too early to look at the offseason, but the way the “Lottery Line” has played over the last eight games gets me thinking about the future. With the salary cap crunch coming into effect next season, the Rangers have to be prudent with their spending this offseason. That may result in Ryan Strome, Andrew Copp, and Frank Vatrano leaving via Free Agency. That may have been viewed as a cataclysmic loss a few weeks ago, but maybe not anymore. If Copp, Strome, and Vatrano walk, the Rangers could take the Lottery Line and move them up to the 2nd. This would allow Gallant to put out the 1st line of Panarin, Zibanejad, and Kreider. If Chris Kreider is the captain of this team, he should be the one to move to right-wing next season. Most of his production came on the powerplay when he’s set up in front of the net, and with the logjam at left-wing, this would free Gallant to play with the lineup. The third line could be a mixture of Sammy Blais, Barclay Goodrow, Tyler Motte (UFA), or whomever you decide to sign or bring up with the money the Lotter Line just saved you. This franchise’s current and future success is on the shoulders of these kids, and this is only the beginning.

This week we have on the Legend himself, Bill Pidto. We discuss the broadcast, the Rangers 2nd half and do our own fastest 150 seconds on a podcast.Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest Bill Pidto
  2. Half Way There And New Segments!?
  3. Contenders or Pretenders
  4. Guest Josh Khalfin
  5. All Star Smash Mouth

Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

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