Photo: Defenseman Ryan Graves had a strong third year of junior hockey, split between the Charlottetown Islanders and Val d’Or Foreurs. Graves was selected by the New York Rangers in the 4th round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
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.
Photo: Forward Anthony Duclair had a huge 2013-14 season in the QMJHL, where he managed 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 regular season games. Duclair was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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.
Photo: Rimouski Oceanic defenseman and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Samuel Morin saw action with the Flyers during the 2013 preseason after having been drafted by the club 11th overall at the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Although recent graduates of the QMJHL include defensemen like Simon Despres and David Savard, as well as up-and-coming prospects like Xavier Ouellet and Nathan Beaulieu, the league does not have a reputation as being a breeding ground for defenders.
Photo: Defenseman Troy Donnay is one of four prospects representing the New York Rangers in the CHL. The 19-year-old was signed to an NHL entry-level contract during the 2013 off-season. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The New York Rangers currently have only four prospects playing major junior hockey. This is the lowest number of prospects assigned to the CHL in recent memory and reflects both a switch in drafting tendencies, as well as the fact the Rangers had a combined nine draft picks in 2012 and 2013.
Photo: Dylan McIlrath has gradually developed into a dependable and physical defensive defenseman. The New York Rangers selected McIlrath 10th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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.