It’s nothing short of amazing where the Rangers are right now as an organization. Think back to May of 2017. The had just sputtered out of the playoffs yet again. An aging team that had no direction created a crisis of direction. Three years of poor drafting and trades had depleted the prospect pool, and they lacked second- and third-round picks for the upcoming draft as well. It was no exaggeration to say that this team’s long-term outlook was an impending disaster.
Yet look at the Rangers now. Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Michael Grabner, Mats Zuccarello, Nick Holden, and Kevin Hayes all traded. A slew of draft picks and prospects acquired in their place. As a result, the Rangers have, in my view, the best prospect pool in the NHL. And they may not even be done yet. Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome
Jimmy Vesey, and Vlad Namestnikov are all focal points of current trade discussions. Should the Rangers acquire a few more assets, it would only add to their riches.
That doesn’t even count the non-prospects. The Rangers graduated a number of young players to the NHL last season. It seems strange to classify 23-year-old’s like Ville Meskanen and Patrick Newall as prospects while leaving out a 19-year-old like Filip Chytil. Technically, those guys are prospects while Chytil is not. However, that doesn’t really reflect the spirit of this exercise, which is to lay out the Rangers’ prospective future.
Which is why we’re going to do something different this year. The prospect rankings will be posted as normal, and afterwards there will be a Top-24 for all players and prospects in the organization who are under the age of 24. At the end, it should be quite obvious that, while the Rangers’ work is not done, they have established a hell of a foundation for what could eventually become a perennially contending team.
Here are the prospects from last year’s rankings who, for various reasons, are not part of this year’s crop (though some will feature in the top-24 list).
This year’s list will consist of 35 prospects, and we’ll start publishing on Monday. In the meantime, feel free to check out last year’s rankings.