(Not sure if it has been posted here, so I'll will go ahead and post this story. And if it has been posted, sorry in advance, but it has been one month since the rankings came out, so it is due for a follow-up.)
Strengths: The Rangers have excellent depth at both center and on defense. New York has been very successful in drafting top talent players in the middle of the first round, and Chris Kreider, who was drafted out of prep school in 2009, looks to be another of those gems. Weaknesses: The Blueshirts biggest organizational weakness is on right wing. There are only two wingers on the right side in the entire organization, and one, David Kveton, may never again play in North America. There is also uncertainty between the pipes. Chad Johnson has played well in his first professional season, but his upside is still uncertain. University of Alabama-Huntsville netminder Cameron Talbot was signed recently. However, it is unclear whether there is a true NHL backup to Henrik Lundqvist within the system, let alone a starter. Top 5 Prospects: 1. Evgeny Grachev, C; 2. Derek Stepan, C; 3. Chris Kreider, LW; 4. Bobby Sanguinetti, D; 5. Ilkka Heikkinen, D.
Alot has changed since these rankings were revealed. Most Notably, IIkka Heikkinen's departure to Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL. The Rangers also signed Mats Zuccarello-Aasen, who certainly in my opinion, should rank in the top 5.
Is it a bad thing that the Rangers have fallen 10 spots since the last ranking? I'm not going to answer that. Why? Because you can look at it from different angles. Other teams have vastly improved, so you can't expect one team to remain in a certain spot for so long. On the other hand, the Rangers haven't seen the improvement they were hoping in some players. A notable player who fits this is Ryan McDonagh, once Montreal's best prospect, was part of the Rangers' top 5 prospects. The Rangers had hoped McDonagh would fit the bill as an offensive defenseman, but according to Hockey's future, he is "no longer considered as a prospect at the highest level". They went on to say "McDonagh's first two seasons at the University of Wisconsin showed him to be more of a two-way player than the offensive blueliner that had been hoped for." This does not mean McDonagh isn't a valuable prospect. With Heikkinen's departure, McDonagh, who currently sits at the 6 spot in the Rangers' prospect rankings, would move right in to the top 5 once again. (However, with the addition of MZA, there is an argument there). He simply just hasn't met expectations. And that can be said about alot of prospects. It could be said about Gilroy, Sanguinetti, who according to Hockey's future has been "lackluster, at best" since returning to Hartford from a call-up, and Grachev, who according to Hockey's future has had trouble adjusting to the AHL, with the transition has not being "as smooth as the organization had hoped, and he has not steadily improved either his offensive production or up and down effort."
So being 12 is still better than half the league, and it is something to be proud of. While it can be viewed at different angles, it is also something worth watching, as prospect rankings are important to the organization.