Every single year, the World Junior Championships are an opportunity for the best amateur players on the planet to represent their country in a two-week tournament. This year, the New York Rangers will be heavily represented in the form of four number of players.
While rebuilding is typically an unglamorous and tedious process, there are a few bright spots. First, it means that the organization will be open to any and every solution to fixing its problems. If a franchise doesn’t recognize that there is actually a problem, the rebuild can truly never get started.
For the New York Rangers, the front office is somewhere between acknowledging the problem and actually fixing it.
For any team to turn around its fortunes, it will require new talent. In the NHL especially, the entry draft is the life’s blood for turning things around. All it takes is one generational talent to change the entire trajectory of an organization. Except for if your team is the Edmonton Oilers, then it only changes things for one year and it goes back to normal.
As the Rangers’ front office is looking to go about rebuilding the team in the right way, hopefully, things won’t devolve to the level that they did in Edmonton. Fixing the organization will require a multi-year injection of amateur talent into every level of development.
The team was successful this decade through a marriage of talented draft picks as well as marquee free agents and impactful trades. For the team to even consider giving up future assets or signing free agents to long-term deals, it needs to get its own house in order. There are several holes in the team right now that require the utmost attention.
The 2018 iteration of the World Junior Championships is simultaneously a time machine and a measuring stick at the same time. If players fair well against other players in their age groups, they’re passing the measuring stick test and giving the organization that owns their draft rights a sneak peek at the future.