With only two teams left in the quest for the Stanley Cup, the New York Rangers’ three first round draft picks have now been set in stone. Prior to tonight, New York had already possessed the 9th and 26th selections of the 2018 Entry Draft, the latter coming from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Rick Nash. With the Tampa Bay Lightning’s season coming to an end in the Eastern Conference Finals, we now know where their pick will fall as well.
Due to finishing below the Winnipeg Jets, the Western Conference runner-up, in the regular season standings, Tampa Bay’s first round pick will be the 28th selection of the draft. As such the Rangers will be slated to make that selection as a result of the Ryan McDonagh trade.
Having two picks in close proximity to each other could make the Rangers more comfortable trading the 26th selection away, as the odds of a their player of choice at 26 being off the board by 28 would be minimal. While Tampa’s elimination gives the Rangers a higher selection this season, it ends any hope of New York earning a lottery pick from the Lightning in next year’s draft, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
Regardless of that, Jeff Gorton can begin to finalize his plans for the draft now that all three of his team’s first round selections are locked in. Stay tuned to Blueshirt Banter’s prospect rankings leading up to the draft to keep up on which players Jeff Gorton could end up picking with those selections.