With Game 70 under the belt, we are in the home stretch of games. The Blueshirts have 12 games remaining until the season ends, and eyes are more on the kids and less on wins and losses. It is a bit refreshing to watch stress free hockey, but also a little depressing when you realize there is probably at least another year of this.
The good news is that we are expected to see 2017 first rounders Lias Andersson (7th) and Filip Chytil (21st) for the tail end of the season. The organization has confirmed they will be up with the Blueshirts for an extended look, and the question is when.
Before we understand when they are getting called up, we must understand their contracts. They are assigned to ELCs, which is standard. Andersson was re-assigned to Frolunda in September. He was then “loaned” to Hartford later in the season.
It appears Chytil was “re-assigned” to HC Zlin after his two game stint with the Rangers, before being “loaned” back to Hartford. In the grand scheme of things, we saw it as a move to Hartford.
However the phrase “loan” is critical here. If I’m understanding this properly –which I’ve been told I am– then the normal professional experience rules need not apply to Andersson and Chytil. This year does not count toward professional experience as long as they stay under 10 NHL games played. It’s a weird loophole.
Since they are on loan to Hartford, playing just nine NHL games keeps them under loan status. That means their contracts slide a year and their professional clock does not start until next season. Both of these are critical, as it not only keeps costs down, but keeps them both exempt from the NHL Expansion Draft that is looming in June, 2020.
With that in mind, we get to answer the question of when these kids will be called up. Chytil has played two games already, so he has seven remaining. Andersson has all nine. If I were a betting man, I’d bank on seeing Andersson at game 74 and Chytil at game 76, assuming the plan is play the full nine games.
The key is not rushing the kids, who appear to be playing very well in Hartford. Chytil is tearing it up (10-18-28 in 41 games) with Andersson not far behind (5-8-13 in 20 games). Let them get their cuppa, hopefully play some playoff games in Hartford, and then come into camp next year competing for a spot. Their development is going to be highly scrutinized.