Any New York area hockey fans in the building? If so, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourselves (unless you’re a Devils fan. The Isles are still in the playoffs). The New York Rangers, our spiritual cousins and MSG roommates, won the 2020 NHL Draft lottery. They will almost assuredly select 18-year-old winger Alexis Lafreniere with the No. 1 pick.
The Rangers were actually invited to the NHL’s Bubble this summer. They were on the fringes of playoff contention before the virus hit, but were bounced by the Carolina Hurricanes in a pre-playoff series before cashing in on a 12.5% chance of hitting the lotto.
So what does this mean for the Knicks? For one thing, it should give us hope. If you think the Knicks never pick first, the Blueshirts haven’t had the No. 1 overall pick since 1965, which is 20 years before the fateful Ewing lottery (and the frozen envelope). Like the Knicks, the Rangers have been rebuilding, though they have more high-level young talent and a genuine MVP candidate in Artemi Panarin.
James Dolan, who owns the Rangers as well as the Knicks, has his fingerprints all over recent sports draft lotteries. In the WNBA, the New York Liberty franchise he just sold won the right to draft Sabrina Ionescu first overall. I remember thinking in that moment: “Of course they win after he sells...the sports gods will never let a Dolan-owned team win a lottery!”
How wrong I was...about the Rangers, anyway. Now, about the Knicks...
We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose. The NBA Draft lottery is set for Aug. 20. The Knicks have a 9.0% chance of landing the top overall pick. Let’s shock the world!