The New York Rangers organization does not generally follow the standard script. They have drafted players against the consensus pick. They have built a contender on elite goaltending rather than strength at center. And since February of 2018, the New York Rangers rebuild has been anything but standard.
Did the New York Rangers really rebuild?
The Rangers began the rebuild with a notice to the fans and began to sell off highly valued and fan favorite players. But just one season into the rebuild, they made a splash in free agency by signing Artemi Panarin in July of 2019. less than a year later, at the 2020 trade deadline, the team decided to extend Chris Kreider.
These actions have led the New York Rangers down the path of a hybrid rebuild. They have torn it down in part, but retained and or acquired key pieces to raise the team back into the tick of the playoff race. However, bucking the trend and not following the standard rebuild protocols, has had unintended consequences.
The New York Rangers knew that their rebuild sell off trades would provide them with valuable assets for the future. What they could not have known was that they would score big wins in the draft lottery in consecutive years. In doing so, the Rangers were able to draft Kaapo Kakko second overall in 2019 and Alexis Lafrenière first overall in 2020. How these players fit in will go a long way towards the success of the team now, and in the coming years.