Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery took place on Monday, August 10th.
Each team that was ousted in the Stanley Cup qualifying round got a 12.5% chance at the first overall pick of the 2020 draft; that pick will almost certainly be used on QMJHL phenom Alexis Lafrenière.
The winner of the draft lottery was the crosstown rival New York Rangers, whose fans promptly celebrated the possibility of a roster with Lafrenière, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin.
Throw in rookies Kaapo Kakko and Igor Shesterkin, and the Blueshirts have a dangerous team that could possibly contend for a Stanley Cup in a couple of years.
What does this have to do with the Islanders?
Quite a bit actually.
The Isles weren’t a part of the second phase of the draft lottery, because they won their qualifying series; however, with the Rangers winning the draft lottery, the top-prospect in hockey will likely end up in their division and in their market. That means at least four matchups a year, and the boys from the Island haven’t exactly been stellar against the Blueshirts recently (1-2-1 this past season). Islanders fans have jokingly asked for a Stanley Cup victory this year in exchange for the Rangers lottery success, but this may very well be their best shot in the next two or three years.
Does this mean that the Islanders championship window shuts once Alexis Lafrenière takes the ice for the Rangers? No.
At best, the rivalry can reach heights not seen since the 1980s; with a healthy mix of young guns and seasoned vets, both teams are a few roster moves away from being division contenders, and possibly Cup contenders.
At worst, both teams still contend for playoffs, and they don’t really provide the excitement that the teams of the 80’s did.
Either way, the best rivalry in hockey just got a lot more interesting.
The Islanders really have to take this current playoff opportunity and run with it, because it may not be too long until the Broadway Boys show up ready to go after that elusive fifth Cup.
Featured Image: ---