Photo: Derek Stepan (left) and Michael Del Zotto (right) have been key contributors to the New York Rangers. Both skaters were selected in the 2008 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Will Schneekloth/Icon SMI)
In the most successful draft in recent memory, the New York Rangers selected seven players in 2008, including four who are currently playing in the NHL. Two of the four NHL skaters are key players in New York. Of the five 2008 draftees who are no longer with the organization, the Rangers got value in return for two.
Photo: Forward Kyle Jean is one of many Rangers prospects who brings a lot of size and toughness to the organization. (Photo courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
There are 11 "home grown" players currently on the New York Rangers' roster, including former first round selection Chris Kreider, who played with the AHL Connecticut Whale as recently as January. Of the Rangers prospects currently on the Connecticut Whale roster, there are two former first round picks (Dylan McIlrath and J.T. Miller), one second round selection (Christian Thomas), and seven rookies overall.
Photo: Connecticut Whale forward and New York Rangers prospect JT Miller wrapped up his U-20 eligibility in style as a member of the gold medal-winning USA squad (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
While John Gibson, John Gaudreau, and the defensive unit have received a great deal of well deserved credit for Team USA's gold medal win at the 2013 World Junior Championship, forward JT Miller was somewhat of an unsung hero for that team.
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.