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.
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.
In the 2007-08 regular season, the Montreal Canadiens finished first overall in the Eastern Conference before beating their archrivals, the Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs in game seven. The team would eventually bow out in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
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.
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.