While speaking on Edmonton radio in 2013, Rangers President Glen Sather said that to build a winner "your core players need to be drafted."
Sather added "you need a young group that can grow up together."
At the time of the interview, Sather said of that Rangers team that was coming off a second round playoff loss, "I think we are in the situation today where we are very competitive, the youth we have, we have some good prospects. It doesn't mean you are going to win....we thought we were gonna be in the finals last year, but we ran into tough injuries and it took a toll on our team."
The Rangers team that started the 2013-14 season included homegrown players Derek Stepan (23), Ryan McDonagh (24), Chris Kreider (22), Carl Hagelin (25), Ryan Callahan (28), Dan Girardi (29) and Marc Staal (27).
All of those players also played with the Rangers in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers always add big players via trade and free agency but a large part of the core that had so much success from 2012 to 2017 featured the homegrown players above. Of course, guys like Brad Richards and Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis, Derick Brassard and others were acquired and had a big impact, but many important members of those teams were drafted by or played their first NHL games with the Rangers.
The Rangers are certainly trying to follow this path now with all of the picks and prospects they have acquired and drafted since trading Derek Stepan. The recently drafted players are hopefully going to be the backbone of this team down the line but guys like Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider and hopefully Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey can be the "older" players that help make this thing work. When the time is right they will make the big move they usually do and add that player to a growing group and growing core of homegrown Rangers.