During the 2017-18 season, the Rangers organization made the decision to focus on building the next Stanley Cup contender. That resulted in the departure of several key players, including captain Ryan McDonagh. Through several trades in February of 2018, Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton acquired two first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, along with prospects such as Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, and Ryan Lindgren.
At the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Rangers made three selections in the first round of a single NHL Amateur/Entry Draft for the first time in franchise history, (their own selection and the two they acquired), drafting forward Vitali Kravtsov with the ninth overall pick and defensemen K'Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist with the 22nd and 28th overall picks, respectively. Gorton continued towards this goal during the 2018-19 season, acquiring young assets and draft picks in exchange for veteran players. Following the 2018-19 season, the Blueshirts won the second overall pick in the NHL's Draft Lottery, enabling the team to pick second overall or higher for the first time since 1966.
Before the Rangers made their pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the franchise welcomed back one of its most popular figures to oversee the next chapter. John Davidson was named the 11th President in Rangers history on May 17, 2019. Following his career as a player with the Rangers and a broadcaster with MSG Network, Davidson helped two franchises - the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets - become perennial playoff teams as their President of Hockey Operations. Returning home to New York, Davidson has the same opportunity with a young, exciting core of players, as he continues to build on what the organization started.
The Rangers' lineup for the 2019- 20 season could feature several of the team's elite, young prospects. With the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Rangers selected Finnish-born Kaapo Kakko. Prior to being drafted, Kakko set a Finnish league record for goals in his age-17 season, and he became the youngest player in hockey history to win a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship, the IIHF World Junior Championship, and the IIHF World Championship. Kravtsov also has an opportunity to make the Rangers' roster out of Training Camp. The 19-year-old led all players younger than 20 years old in goals, assists, and points last season.
As David Quinn enters his second season as Rangers Head Coach, one addition who will play a major role offensively is Artemi Panarin, who was signed as a free agent on July 1, 2019. Panarin, already an elite point producer in the NHL, registered 87 points last season. Panarin, along with Mika Zibanejad, who had a breakout year offensively in 2018-19 and was the Rangers' MVP, should provide a tremendous boost to the Rangers' offense.
Quinn's lineup card will also feature a new addition on defense, as the Rangers acquired Jacob Trouba during the offseason. Trouba, a two-way defenseman who recorded 50 points last season, helps the Blueshirts in all three zones on the ice. Adam Fox, a Hobey Baker Finalist last season at Harvard University, will push to make the opening night roster in his first pro season. In goal, the Rangers will be led by Lundqvist, the team's nine-time MVP.
With a young, developing team that features elite talent throughout the lineup, the future is bright on Broadway.