If there is one area where the rebuild is clearly working, it is on the blueline. In less than two years, the team has completely remade the defense with the only one holdover from the pre-rebuild days.
At the 2018 trade deadline, the top six on the Rangers defense consisted of Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Brady Skjei, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith and Nick Holden. The depth was provided by Anthony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk, Steven Kampfer and John Gilmour.
As a result of the rebuild the Rangers have traded McDonagh, Holden, Kampfer and Pionk and have discarded Shattenkirk and Gilmour.
Is the current defense better than the pre-rebuild squad? Would a top six of Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Kevin Shattenkirk and Tony DeAngelo be a better blueline than what we have now?
Based on a small sample size of 38 games, you could make an argument for both, but the advantage has to fall on the new group. Trouba is close to Ryan McDonagh and Adam Fox is an even swap for Shattenkirk. Though young and still going through growing pains, the tandem of Lindgren and Hajek are better than Smith and Holden.
The rebuild also bodes well for the future. K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Joey Keane and Zac Jones will all be NHL ready within three years and will step in to replace Staal or any of the current defense corps that can be used as trade bait.
When it comes to a rebuild, Jeff Gorton has done a masterful job and accelerated it by trading for Trouba (although his contract is probably excessive).