New York Rangers Rebuild Paying Off In 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The New York Rangers declared they would focus on the future in 2018. The talents they acquired are creating a profound imprint on the team's 2024 Stanley Cup championship aspirations.
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New York Rangers front office is seeing their former draft investments come to fruition in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, receiving integral contributions from recent selections.

Will Cuylle scored his first Stanley Cup playoff goal 8:06 into the first period on Saturday night, Kaapo Kakko saucing the perfect dish to help Cuylle split two defenders en route to the goal.

Braden Schneider released a howitzer from the point, redirected by Barclay Goodrow to bring the Rangers within a goal 12:43 into the second period. Alexis Lafreniere scored his fourth goal in the last three contests to tie things up 2:04 into the third period on a bank shot.

Looking at the transaction receipts, every player involved in the Rangers three goals in Game 4 were acquired after the release of the 2018 letter, outside of Mika Zibanejad who assisted the Lafreniere tally.

Kakko, the second-overall draft selection of the 2019 draft, re-signed with the Rangers in the summer of 2022, shifting into a third-line role—his puck possession a key ingredient to the success of his checking line.

Lafreniere was the highly touted first overall draft pick of the 2020 draft that began to blossom this season in the top six with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck.

Coming into this post-season had skated in 32 playoff contests and only scored two goals. He has 10 points (four goals, six assists) and is playing the best hockey of his career in this playoff run.

Schneider and Cuylle were also drafted in 2020. The Davidson-Gorton regime traded the 2020 first-round pick (22nd overall) and third-round pick (72nd overall) for Calgary’s 19th pick in the first round, hopping over the New Jersey Devils at pick No. 20 to acquire the rugged rearguard. Schneider is averaging 18:34 TOI in eight games in the playoffs.

Cuylle was drafted with the 60th overall draft pick and put in a season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, making the big club out of training camp this year. He is playing opposite of Kakko on the Rangers third line.

When the chips are on the table, it does not matter how players were acquired or how they got to New York, rather, how they can help the team win every shift. It is important to note how the assets the organization sought to add have propelled the Rangers to an incredible 7-1 postseason record.

The names above were just the players on the scoresheet in Game 4 against Carolina. Matt Rempe, K'Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, and Adam Fox have all played a major part in the Rangers playoff success. Filip Chytil is also set to return to the lineup for Game 5.

Looking at just the youth the Blueshirts acquired since 2018 does not account for the impact of two of the best free agent signings Panarin and Trocheck, their trade deadline acquisitions Alex Wennberg and Jack Roslovic, their top-line cornerstones in Chris Kreider and Zibanejad and the team's spine Igor Shesterkin.

Along the way, there were a few duds. Lias Andersson's competition was his demise, and Vitali Kravstovs's lack of competition drew a never-ending saga from July 2018 to February 2023. Nils Lundkvist and Morgan Barron became trade material, and the only prospect to play at the NHL level in the last three drafts is Brennan Othmann.

The Wolf Pack continues its success in the AHL and offers a more stable environment for NHL prospective skaters to grow than it had in years passed. Adam Sykora, Brett Berard, and Othmann stick out as a few players that could make the team in the future.

That talent pipeline will be vital to sustaining success in years to come, but the vision of the rebuild is now. Busts come with the build-through-the-draft territory. As the Rangers look to advance to the Eastern Conference Final, they are gaining championship impact from their coveted young pieces.