When the New York Rangers drafted Anthony Duclair in the third round of the draft last summer, they were hoping that the young Quebec Remparts left wing would bounce back from a mediocre sophomore season and become a really good prospect. But even the most optimistic scout could not have predicted how successful Duclair would be in his 2013-14 season.
The New York Rangers have had a big turnover in their top prospects over the last few years, as more and more young players have cracked their NHL roster. Chris Kreider, who has been a top prospect since he was drafted in 2009, has graduated after being the franchise's best prospect for the last three years.
It's been an exciting eight months for Danny Kristo. The 23-year-old winger for the Hartford Wolf Pack – the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers – has gone from playing in the NCAA national quarter-final at the University of North Dakota to playing in the last stretch of a losing season with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, and now establishing himself as a star with the Wolf Pack following a July trade.
It seems like a distant memory now, but just six or seven years ago, the New York Rangers had few homegrown players on their NHL roster. Big name free agents were the norm for this original six team, with few of the team's prospects ever appearing in more than one or two games on Broadway.
Of the 30 prospects in the New York Rangers' system, 19 are professional hockey players as of the beginning of the 2013-14 season. With only five prospects selected by New York in the 2013 NHL Draft and four in 2012, there are fewer younger players in the system than there have been in many years.