Although they did not win the Draft Lottery, they did earn the second overall pick, a monstrous upgrade from picking sixth overall. And yes, it earned them a chance at a franchise-changer.
With the highest pick in the draft since they took Brad Park with the second overall pick in 1966, the Rangers are projected to draft Finland's Kaapo Kakko, who some consider the better overall prospect of the top two projected selections.
If you believe the Devils on Twitter, though, we know who they're selecting.
Today's the 9th— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) April 9, 2019
Taylor Hall wears #9
It's the year 2̶0̶1̶9
Jack Hughes was once 9 years old
Kaapo Kakko vs Jack Hughes
The main debate all summer in the hockey universe will be Hughes vs. Kakko. The difference between the two prospects, on the surface, is their position. Hughes is a centerman, while Kakko is a winger. That being said, they play two completely different games; Kakko plays more of a power-based game, while Hughes is more elusive due to his smaller body frame.
Kakko also has over 25 pounds on Hughes, and led his country to a World Juniors Championship over Hughes and the USA, where he scored the game-winning goal late in the third period.
This rivalry will likely be seen at least four times a year, with the New Jersey Devils holding the first overall pick.
Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko likely joining the Battle of the Hudson. Now that's a hell of a start to the offseason for the Devils and Rangers.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 10, 2019
What can the Rangers look forward to, assuming that they take Kakko with the second overall pick?
Well, based on David Quinn's ability to maximize young talent (bye bye, Alain!) and the exciting NHL player comparisons he draws, a whole lot of flourishing should be on the table.
Kakko took the Finnish Liiga by storm at the age of 17. Last season, playing for TPS, he set the league record for goals scored by a player under the age of 18 years old, and hit the mark in six less games then when Aleksander Barkov set the initial record at 21 goals in 51 games.
Kaapo Kakko NHL Comparison
With a 6-2, 194 pound frame, the Finnish winger is seen as on the verge of becoming a generational player. In terms of NHL players, he draws comparisons of Patrik Laine, the Finnish sniper of the Winnipeg Jets. These originated due to their bloodlines, of course, but the comparison has grown widespread due in large part to Kakko's ability to rip the puck with power and accuracy.
Every other aspect of his game is best compared to another Finnish star, and the player whose goal record he broke, Aleksander Barkov. His vision with and without the puck, his hockey IQ, and most certainly his patience all compare to Barkov. Kakko seems to be a better skater than Barkov, but uses his big frame to power through defenses, as Barkov is more of a shifty skater who can finesse his way around defenders more often. The main thing that separates Kakko at this stage from Barkov's youth is his wicked shot.
Also, both Aleksander Barkov and Patrik Laine were selected with the second overall pick in their respective drafts, for what it's worth.
New York Rangers Draft Picks
In a word: many.
The New York Rangers have at least two first-round draft picks in the upcoming draft, as they hold the Winnipeg first rounder as well. They have the possibility of as many as four first-round picks because of a few helpful conditions.
Rangers likely getting Kaapo Kakko and have seven first-round picks in three-year stretch since 2017.— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) April 10, 2019
* If Tampa wins Cup: eight first-rounders.
* If Dallas makes conference final + Zuccarello plays 50% of games in Rounds 1-2: NINE first-rounders
This rebuild is a-cookin!
The Rangers have had huge success in their recent draft history, especially in the first round. With first-round selections (some controversial) like Lias Andersson (7), Vitali Kravtsov (9), Filip Chytil (21), K'Andre Miller (22), and Nils Lundkvist (28) all in the past two drafts, the NYR are attempting a swift and sweeping rebuild.
To say the future is looking bright is an understatement, especially when you dig deeper into their draft picks beyond the first round. In addition, the Rangers have traded for good, young players in recent years, like Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, and Ryan Lindgren.
Of course, this is not to mention the best goalie in the KHL for the past two seasons, Igor Shestyorkin, who was a fourth-round selection by the Rangers in 2014.
For New York Rangers fans, hang in there. This rebuild is going to be something to behold once it is fully completed, and expect the Blueshirts to become Stanley Cup contenders in the near future.