The NHL season is over, and for the Rangers, that means turning their eyes to the NHL Draft.
Before getting to make their first pick on June 21 in Vancouver, the Rangers brass will hope for a lucky bounce of the ping-pong balls on Tuesday night, when the league conducts its annual draft lottery. Thanks to their 32-36-14 finish to the 2018-19 season, the blueshirts find themselves with a 7.5% chance of landing the top pick and a 23.3% shot at finding themselves in the top 3.
Should their logo turn up in the right place at the right time, here’s a look at the top three NHL Draft prospects who could find themselves starring on Broadway in the very near future:
1. Jack Hughes (USA)
The long-projected top pick recorded 23 goals and 86 points in 41 games this year to become the US National Team Development Program’s all-time points leader. A 5-foot-10, 170-pound lefty-shooting center, Hughes has drawn rave reviews for his high-end skill and skating and could be the first player to go straight from the program to the NHL.
2. Kaapo Kakko (FIN)
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound right wing from Finland put together one of the best seasons from a 17-year-old in the professional Finnish Elite League, finishing with 22 goals and 16 assists in 45 games. Hailed as a physical two-way player with top skill, Kakko also impressed on the international stage while leading Finland to gold at world juniors.
3. Vasili Podkolzin (RUS)
He may not have the same buzz as Hughes and Kakko, but the 6-foot-1, 190-pound right wing from Russia has already gotten a brief taste of the KHL and is viewed as a complete player with a strong compete level. Podkolzin has also flashed his scoring ability in international play while at times serving as Russia’s captain.