By Alex Susskind @ASusskind on June 13, 2014
The New York Rangers captured the Prince of Wales Trophy this season as they represented the Eastern Conference against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Clearly the Rangers are doing something right. Here are five players for them to build around next season in order to continue their success.
Rangers center Derek Stepan was one of the young players off limits to Columbus in the Rick Nash trade back in 2012, and for good reason. The 23-year-old is a playmaking center who can maintain a positive plus-minus. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Stepan suffered a broken jaw but managed to miss only one game. His toughness and good two-way play make him a player to build around for the future.
Chris Kreider was arguably the best prospect in the Rangers' system when he was called to play during the 2012 playoffs. He debuted amid significant hype and did not disappoint. This season, the left-winger scored 17 goals in 66 games for the Bluseshirts. Kreider has proven that he can score when it counts and is part of this team's future.
Ryan McDonagh was acquired from the Montreal Candadiens in the trade that rid the Rangers of Scott Gomez. The offensive-defenseman scored 14 goals for the Rangers this season is a positive plus-minus player. McDonagh has continued to score in the playoffs for the Blueshirts. It's way too early to say this, but McDonagh could be the second-coming of Brian Leetch -- maybe.
The Rangers landed Rick Nash in a blockbuster deal in the summer of 2012 without mortgaging their future. The left-winger was supposed to be the explosive scoring threat in his prime that the team needed to get over the hump. Unfortunately Nash has been relatively disappointing so far in his Rangers career. Nash is still in his prime and with the right players around him can be the prolific scorer he was in Columbus for this team when healthy.
Henrik Lundqvist is the Swedish Superman and the King of Save. Any Rangers fan instantly turns into Paul Heyman when they start talking about Lundqvist (minus the mentioning Undertaker's broken streak). King Henrik is the greatest goalie in team history and is the best goalie of his generation. If the Rangers' front office can't build a Cup winner around him then they just don't belong in professional hockey.
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