Photo: Connecticut Whale forward and New York Rangers prospect J.T. Miller, along with his Team USA teammates, has found it difficult to generate offense against the stronger clubs at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Team USA hasn't played badly at the 2013 World Junior Championship, but they find themselves in a must-win situation heading into their final game of the preliminary round. The need for a win over Slovakia, a team that has played some good hockey at this WJC, has come about because of today's close but hard-fought loss against Canada.
Photo: Michael St. Croix is one of only four Rangers prospects playing at the CHL level in 2012-13. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
For the first time in many years, the New York Rangers have fewer junior players in their system than almost any other NHL team. There are only four New York prospects skating in the CHL this season, two in the WHL, and one in each of the QMJHL and OHL. Although this is partly the result of the team moving toward drafting players headed to college, it also can be explained by the small number of selections that New York has had in recent drafts. In the last three years, the Rangers have only drafted 16 players, including four in the 2012 NHL Draft. Of the four drafted in 2012, two are playing for NCAA teams and two are continuing their development in Europe.
Photo: Drafted 10th overall in 2010, Dylan McIlrath brings size and toughness to the Rangers blue line. McIlrath has yet to suit up this season due to a knee injury suffered this past summer. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers have become one of the NHL teams that rely most on good player development. As the result of a rebuild that lasted at least half of the last decade, close to half of the players on the 2011-12 roster had either been drafted or signed as free agents out of junior hockey.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Selected 28th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, defenseman Brady Skjei could be the next in an ever growing line of talented, mobile Rangers defensemen. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
After several years with a very strong group of prospects, the New York Rangers have graduated a lot of home-grown talent to the NHL team. The system remains strong defensively, but the only potential star in the system is winger Chris Kreider. Organizational depth in goaltending remains a weakness, with only Jason Missiaen and Scott Stajcer among the netminding prospects.