In the modern day era of the sport, successful teams are ones that build from the back out. Securing a top goaltender and protecting him with a solid and balanced defensive group is something many teams, including the Rangers, have put at the top of their to-do list.
The piecing together of the Rangers' current defensive unit began in the summer of 2005, when Marc Staal and Mike Sauer were selected by the club in the NHL Entry Draft. At the start of the 2005-06 season, the Rangers welcomed 2000 draft selection Henrik Lundqvist to training camp. Later on in the season, Lundqvist showed the organization that he was the team's goaltender of the present and future.
The following summer, Dan Girardi was signed as an undrafted free agent. The signing came two years before the Rangers selected Michael Del Zotto in the NHL Entry Draft and three years before they acquired Ryan McDonagh from Montreal.
The group was rounded out by the additions of Matt Gilroy, Steve Eminger, Stu Bickel and Anton Stralman; all of whom are no older than the age of 29.
What's impressive is that, despite being so young, this team finished third in goals against last season. And as good as that is, coach Torts will look for improvement in 2013, because not only is this defense the best young defense in the league, it's also the best in the league period. Here's four reasons why.