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The Rangers have a lot of young talent who can contribute for a while.
Leading the way is Derek Stepan. At just 22, Stepan has 15 goals and 20 assists this season. Outside of Rick Nash, Stepan has been the Rangers' most productive and consistent player.
He will be a restricted free agent after this season, according to CapGeek, but the Rangers will make him a priority. He is one of the best playmakers in the league, a center with incredible vision and accurate passing. The tandem of Stepan and Nash has been dangerous and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
The Rangers also have young, top-six forwards in Carl Hagelin, who is 24, J.T. Miller, who is 20, and Chris Kreider, who is 21. These three figure to be productive players for the Rangers for a long time.
On defense, the youth movement is led by the 23-year-old Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh plays on the first pair and is a shutdown defender. He averages nearly 25 minutes a game and still has a plus-6 rating. In fact, for his career, he has a plus-47 rating for his career.
The Rangers also have Michael Del Zotto, who is 22 and has dynamite playmaking skills from the blue line. Marc Staal, although currently injured, is just 26 and one of the best defenders in hockey. John Moore is still developing, but he's a 22-year-old with tremendous upside.
The Rangers also have good prospects in the system. While they don't have a potential star in the system, they do have a number of solid players.
Michael St. Croix has potential as a top-six center with playmaking skills and could start in the AHL next season. Cristoval "Boo" Nieves just finished his freshman season at University of Michigan, where he had eight goals and 29 points. Jesper Fast, who just finished a season in the Swedish Elite League, had 35 points in just 47 games.
On defense, the Rangers are led by Dylan McIlrath. The former first-round pick has battled injuries, but the 6'4", 215-pound blueliner is physical and nasty. He's not afraid to drop the gloves or throw the body and should be on the Rangers blue line next season. He is the physical crease-clearer whom the Rangers have needed for years.
Brady Skjei just finished his freshman season at the University of Minnesota, where he played in 36 games. He's young, but projects as a solid defenseman. Additionally, the Rangers signed former University of Massachusetts defenseman Conor Allen to a pro deal. Allen scored 19 points in 35 games.
One major downside to their system is that they have no future starting goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist is dominant, but he is 31 and his game will eventually decline. The Rangers need to start thinking about the future in net, and would be wise to spend a first-round pick in the next few years on a goalie.
On the whole, the Rangers have a bright future. They have elite players in Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, as well as a great in core in Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, John Moore and Michael Del Zotto.
They have a number of good prospects, including some with untapped potential. Nieves and Skjei are both 19 and have the potential to be stars, especially Nieves. McIlrath should be playing in New York next season, as should Jesper Fast.
The Rangers do need a goaltender of the future, and that is a significant weakness. However, the future is bright for the Rangers for a long time.