But the team’s top decision-makers know they cannot afford the privilege of landing at No. 1 which distracts them from rebuilding the rest.
“I think we’re in a good place, I really do,” President John Davidson said Tuesday on a zoom call. “I think when you really stop and think about building a franchise to try to win a championship, you’ve come to understand that it’s a slow-moving, mostly, process. Kind of. You might be lucky to get the number 1 pick like we did. It can, without question, speed it up. But at the same time, you can’t get ahead of yourself, it just works that way. Doesn’t. You start to get ahead of yourself, you’re going to make some mistakes and then you’re going to go backwards, and then you have to start. ”
When Pingpong balls offered him the chance to select Canadian winger Alexis Lafrinier with the No. 1 pick, the Rangers were still sorting through postmortem swept by a storm in the final of the Stanley Cup.
The team had an edge together in the second half to bring the Rangers to playoff status – with significant progress from their young players and a big performance from their stars – there was no one to take the ice in Toronto. They were missing Igor Sesterin for the first two games, but the loss was not on Henrik Lundkvist as the Rangers offense disappeared, scoring just four goals in the three-game series.
A self-described optimist, Davidson wanted to focus on the gains the series would make on the young players of the Rangers, 11 of whom made their postson debuts. It can also show management what was missing as it thinks about building the roster for the future.
“It was always an eye-opening experience when you do something new that way, but you can’t either,” Davidson said. He said, “I think that was a good part of the season we played, which got better as we grew, got some great signs with a lot of people. I don’t think you can get beyond what happened in Toronto. Are. It was completely unusual; it was different. And as I told many people who went into it, it was unknown.
“You have to digest it, analyze it, and then find positivity out of it. That was the whole point for me. ”
Davidson described the strong performances of Brett Howard and Capo Kako as positive, as well as the play of defensive prospect K’ndre Miller during training camp, although he was not eligible to play in Toronto.
They were more steps in the remodel starting with the organization’s letter to fans in 2018. Two years later, in addition to a solid young core, the Rangers have reserves and 10 picks in the 2020 draft – which general manager Jeff Gorton can use to get more pieces to improve his roster, especially. With the salary cap remaining flat the following season.
But the Rangers are taking no shortcuts in their quest to reach the top.
“It’s not so much patience, it’s just trying to use his smarts, and a pure understanding of how hard it is to win in this league,” Davidson said. “It’s tough. I thought the group with Jeff and the letter and all that was great. I think Ranger fans have been fantastic, they have an understanding of what the organization is going to do. We got a lot of momentum. [Monday] Night with number one. So we are trending in that direction, but it takes time.
“There will be people who are disappointed at the idea of not moving too fast. But it is like that.