Could Filip Chytil make the team?

September 23, 2017, by
filip chytil

Photo: NYDN

Friends, I’m going to be honest. When I heard that the Rangers would be taking Filip Chytil at 21st overall my first reaction was “Who?” I’d imagine I wasn’t alone in this, as the Rangers seemingly went against the conventional wisdom circulating around draft time (with both of their picks actually) and maybe disappointed some of us when they didn’t go for a Liljegren or a Yamamoto. The hype began to build however around Chytil as broadcasters compared him favorably to players like Auston Matthews (actually Chytil’s own comparison) and Ondrej Palat (Bob McKenzie’s comparison) and news began to trickle out that if he had declared for the draft the following year he would have likely been taken in the top 5 in what is by all accounts a stacked draft. Team Chytil began to coalesce quickly, and he has not disappointed thus far in the preseason.

His creative vision and strong play on the puck has been easily noticeable in the preseason games he’s played thus far, and he uses his size (200 pounds at age 18!) and skating effectively. He scored a nice game-winning goal the other night after playing catch with Mats Zuccarello all up and down the ice that evening against the Devils, and against the Islanders in Bridgeport he played a crucial role in the Rangers’ dazzling (but unfortunately unproductive) powerplay in the second period. He’s making quick, effective decisions with the puck, and even saw time on the penalty kill alongside Pavel Buchnevich (imagine if those two turn into two-way threats?). To put it succinctly, he’s impressed so far in the preseason, and would be making a strong case for himself regardless of the Rangers’ roster situation.

But let’s talk about that roster situation.  The Rangers’ bottom six is uh, messy. The departure of Oscar Lindberg to Vegas, the injury to Jesper Fast, and the bumping up of Kevin Hayes in the wake of the Derek Stepan trade has left some sizable holes in the lower reaches of the Rangers’ lineup, leaving ripe opportunity for young players to carve out a place for themselves, if only temporarily. Filip Chytil could hypothetically make the opening night roster and play out the nine game grace period before burning a year off his entry level contract.

It’s a scenario the Rangers’ coaching staff should at least consider, with Chytil slotting into the third line center spot (or playing wing with Lias Andersson playing the center position, providing he continues his strong showing in the preseason as well) and seeing sheltered shifts that would maximize his offensive potential and do damage control on the inevitable defensive slip ups that happen to rookies in the NHL (see, for example, Nikolai Kulemin taking Chytil for a ride on the Islanders’ second goal in Bridgeport). If AV does give Chytil that chance, and he proceeds to kill it during his 9-game tryout, then the Rangers’ depleted bottom six could actually be looking pretty solid. Chytil would play third line center, Desharnais would play the same position on the fourth line, and some combination of Grabner/Fast/Vesey and whichever other youngster gives Matt Puempel a run for his money would be formidable, assuaging concerns that the Rangers improved defensive corp would prove to be stymied by their allegedly diminished forward depth. That rebuild on the fly could begin paying dividends sooner rather than later.

Some other preseason thoughts:

DeAngelo is an interesting player to me on the blueline. He looks so confident in his movements in the offensive zone, walking the line and probing the slot with ease, especially on the powerplay, but defensively looks unsure of himself. The juxtaposition is striking, and has me somewhat concerned if he ends up paired with Nick Holden or Marc Staal. Growing into a defensive role in the NHL is tough enough for most young blueliners, and certainly would be made more difficult by being paired with a partner who can’t really exactly 100 percent cover for themselves. If AV is smart he’ll handle this with care, but we could be in for a rough ride with Tony D on the third pair. Maybe there’ll be a lot of PP assists in the books for him by the end of the year, but we might also see some concerning plays. Major caveat: it’s only been a few preseason games, so I don’t mean to pass judgement on the guy just quite yet. He could very well turn out to be a great player, and I’d be happy to eat my words on this.

It feels weird to say, but the Rangers’ veterans have been looking good. I’m speaking of course of Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and Mats Zuccarello. All three of them have impressed thus far, with Hayes’ vision and hands being on full display, Kreider routinely blowing by defensemen, and Zucc working his usual magic. Even if there are legitimate concerns about the Rangers’ bottom six, their top two lines should be fun to watch this season.

I’m pretty alright with Pavelec’s performance so far, and honestly feel like Allaire can turn him into a serviceable backup who gives the team a chance to win every time he’s on the ice. He may not end up being traded as a starter to a Western Conference team by the end of his contract (going three for three on that front would be kind of ridiculous, no?) but I’m certainly pessimistic. He could very well wind up being all we need out of a backup goalie.

"Could Filip Chytil make the team?", 5 out of 5 based on 13 ratings.
Categories : Players


  1. Robert Skettini says:

    I have

    Kreider Zibanejad Zuccarello
    Nash Hayes Vesey
    Miller Chytil Buchnevich
    Grabner Andersson Deshernais/Letteiri…. Fast when healthy obviously

    McDonagh Shattenkirk
    Skjei Smith
    Staal Pionk


    As my projected opening night lineup at the halfway point of preseason.

    Both 1st round picks have come as advertised. Chytil clearly has the more dynamic offense of the two, but Andersson plays a steady sound two way game… and is aggressive!

    They, with Pionk (and Letteiri for that matter) should make this team out of camp if they stay consistent

    • Eugene says:

      Agree with the forwards, disagree with defs and goalies.

      McTruck – Shatti

      Skjei – DeAngelo

      Smith – Pionk

      King – Georgiev

      Pavelec was really bad, Allair will not help him, just wave him

      Demotivated Staal will spend his year in the press box, he only needs to make nice haircut learn some speeches, because he’s going soon to join MSG tv squad 🙂

    • Mintgecko says:

      Nah I can still see DD getting a first crack at 3c. If Chytil makes the team then I think he will play on the 4th line until he really impressive or if DD ends up not working out.

      I don’t find it a surprise that Chytil is the more offensive threat between the two. It was clear as day that Andersson has the ability to play a shutdown role when his game takes off in this league but I never saw the hype of him taking a 3c role as a rookie and posting up 30 points.

    • RichS says:

      Nice job Robert…..
      Cant argue with kreider-zib-zucc line …it was great beginning of last season
      BUT Chytil sure looked good in place of zib………

      And I agree with Eugene I also would prefer these pairings with all D-men on their natural stick side…
      McDonagh Shattenkirk
      Skjei DaAngelo
      Smith Pionk

      Either way watching the play of Chytil, DeAngelo, Pionk, Letteri and Anderson…….This team is STACKED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Andrei Petrovitch says:

    I say, let him and Andersson play.

    I always wonder why it is that first rounders from other teams seem to have no issue jumping into league action right away, while Ranger first rounders “need development,” as we get to watch mediocrities like Pirri and Glass eat up ice time at the NHL level to little benefit to the team.

    There’s no better development than NHL ice time for a young player. If either of these kids is truly a first round talent (and the consensus, at least with Andersson, is that he is), then let’s find out now.

    • Mintgecko says:

      Chicago’s 1st round had zero issues in making the jump to be a NYR and learn to play arguably one of the most difficult position in hockey (Hayes). I agree though, AV just needs to manage their ice time and try and get them setup with a line that works.

      • John says:

        Hayes was 21 or 22 his rookie year and those four years make a big difference both physically and emotionally. Not saying neither Chytal or Anderson can’t make the jump but it isn’t easy. Maybe you can hide one of them, but 2 would be tough.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      Not sure what you mean. Are you referring to staal, miller, kreider, skjei

      We haven’t had a first round pick in 4 years.

  3. Peter says:

    Regarding DeAngelo I think it comes down to this: You play him on the third pair and on the power play while he learns to be better in his own end. The kid’s offensive skills and speed are apparent. Defensive zone play can be taught. Tony’s shot and speed can’t be taught. Simple as that. Play him in sheltered minutes and teach him to be good defensively and you will end up with a brilliant two way player who plays with some edge to his game.

  4. upstate tom says:

    i’ll tell you what, chytl is the real thing & so is andersson, right now the thing with chytl is that he needs to shoot more and that will come. he sees the ice almost as well as buch. over the past 58 yrs i think the only ranger i’ve seen with chytl’s type of talent is jean ratelle. with andersson i see a lot of messier only @ this point i’m not sure to what extent. right now i’m predicting chytl as a # 2 center somewhere into the season, so as far as i’m concerned the rest of the rangers need to work their asses of just to get ice time. also very impressed with letteiri. on “d” got some big choices to make, pionk is going to give all a run for their $$$ and deangelo, as talented as he seems IS going to have to work on his “d” but has an upside. you can only have so many offensive “d” so something could be up later. i think the rangers have more TALENTED players now than they’ve EVER had !! as far as i’m concerned, the players THAT are MORE motivated to go out and win games rather than just pick up a paycheck ( hayes, kreider, z-bad, vessey & nash who needs to play like a 7 million $$ man) are the ones that need to be on ice opening night. one more thing if there’s any question of the rangers replacing lindburgh, who would have been in the line-up, they drafted two better than him. no brainer with those two. gorton is good !!!

    • RichS says:

      Spot on comments! Most talented Rangers team I have ever seen also, probably better than 78-79 team[ nillson, hedberg, mcquen, murdich , hickey etc etc] and early 70’s teams….
      9 deep up front, and if Chytil keeps it up…..Ratelle? Big skates to fill but you may be right…..Love his calmness with the puck and vision and ability and size ….just what we needed a potential star….
      Go with 2…… 18-19 year olds ?? …..why not?

      Thank goodness this isnt a fighting league ….with all the lightweights here…

  5. mintgecko says:

    I was being a smart a$$ and was referring to Chicago’s 1st pick in Hayes.

  6. Ron Diaz says:

    I agree that Chytil has impressed so far, but I would be even more surprised if he made the team as a 3rd line center at 18 years old. However, if he isn’t going to play on the 3rd line or better it’s not worth it. Keep him down for one year where he will get ample playing time and only get better. It wouldn’t make sense to have him sit on the bench for his entire rookie season, especially since he’s 18. Sometimes you have to be patient.

  7. Richter1994 says:

    As I have said previously, I would consider keeping both Andersson and Chytil and rotate them during the regular season giving each approx 40ish games a piece.

    They are going to play that many games not matter where in the world they play anyway. Granted they are not the same as NHL games but it would still be limiting their work load.