Diamonds in the Rough

lias andersson filip chytil

The future is now, folks – Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are both on-ice members of the New York Rangers and for the most part, the fanbase is pleased as punch. After a pretty disappointing year (nonsensical coaching, injuries to star players, general malaise) we finally have something genuine to be excited about, something not couched in caveats or qualifiers. I too, am excited, but unfortunately I have to be the bearer of bad news: although Andersson and Chytil have certainly shown great promise, they’re still diamonds in the rough.

Let’s start with the bad news: last night both Chytil and Andersson got caved in as far as shots go, with Chytil being on ice for 11 shots for and 16 shots against, while Andersson was on ice for 11 shots for and a whopping 21 shots against. Expected goals is a little bit better, with Chytil being on ice for 0.94 xGF and 1.00 xGA, with Andersson being on ice for 0.52 xGF and 1.80 xGA. Not exactly a great night, but Chytil did have his first NHL goal, and made some nice plays with Mats Zuccarello, and the Rangers broadly got hammered in terms of shots and expected goals, so there’s that.

Chytil again did alright for himself on Wednesday, but Andersson got cooked yet again – 13 shots for and 14 shots against for the Czech youngster and 4 shots for and 18 shots against (!) for the Swede. Expected goals actually puts Chytil in positive territory this time at 0.79 xGF and 0.43 xGA, but Andersson also had a bad game in that category: 0.08 xGF and 0.89 xGA. Yowza.

Lastly we have Monday’s game, where our future captain Andersson (half joking, half not) scored his first goal of his NHL career. Indeed, this game was much better for young Lias all around – 15 shots for and 9 against, as well as 0.78 xGF and 0.58 xGA. Chytil also had a nice game, with his on-ice shot differential being 17 to 12 and his on-ice xG differently being 0.90 to 0.12. All in all the kind of showing we’d hope for from these two budding Blueshirts as they progress through their early NHL careers.

I guess what I’m getting at is this: while they’re both great players to be excited about, actual on-ice results paint a little bit more mixed of a picture. Of course, in general the Rangers played pretty lousy on Wednesday and Friday, so it’s not a shocker that both of our former first-rounders fared a little bit poorly, and we’re of course dealing with the world’s smallest sample size here. Still, as far as the eye test goes they’re both making smart plays, with Lias being a little bit more defensive savvy and Chytil making excellent passes with his new best bud Mats Zuccarello.

Another upside of the fact that they’re having a couple of rough games is that come October, they’ll be ready to start cooking right out the gate, because if you recall some recent Rangers rookies (Brady Skjei in particular comes to mind) it’s not always pretty for the first few outings, but that doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things once the break-in period is over. The future is here for sure, but they’re diamonds in the rough for now. That still won’t stop me from being excited to see them shine in the fall.

"Diamonds in the Rough", 3 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.

14 thoughts on “Diamonds in the Rough

  • Mar 31, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Savvy move to get Chytil last year. Let’s have three more in June.

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Don’t think JG is that much of a gambler … maybe 1 out of the 3 picks will be a roll of the dice, if we even make 3 picks in the 1st round.

  • Mar 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Giving a statistical analysis at this point is nuts, especially with the defense we have now. Mix in the fact that our last two opponents are arguably the top two in the East and I think you just watch and enjoy. I think 4 of the 6 dmen will not be with this team next year.

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Fair enough, I think I just wanted to point out that they’ve had two out of three not so great games, but that it’s alright because they’re going to do the hokey pokey and shake it all out as it were. You’re right though in that quality of opponent matters a lot here (I’d imagine they would’ve had a much better time against Arizona, for example) and the defense is not so good, as you alluded to. I don’t think I agree that any statistical analysis is out of order at this point, as the scope of it was admittedly micro, but we can agree to disagree there. Good looks though, I should’ve mentioned that stuff.

  • Mar 31, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    This is the lamest article that I ever read. You sugar coat things to make it look like something that’s not really true. For instance ” Making passed with his new best bud Mats Zuccarello”.

    Chytil lacks at center, Hayes has to hold his hand all night. A new coach or AV it doesn’t matter, I can see him playing wing next year. If he stayed making plays than he would have kept up with Hayes who seemed to be going down the ice all night. Any plays that he made was with him utilizing his speed which was good to see. His best moments involved chasing down the pick and beating Tampa. If he knew how to read the plays better he could have been getting passes that would sling him to breakaway chances. The main issue wqs his 1 on 1 battles down low. He couldn’t take advantage of Girardi ice angles or IQ.

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      He’s 18 years old. You’re expecting him to be Crosby. He’s not. Relax.

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      I want you to consider not even the likelihood, but just the faintest possibility that we have different outlooks and perspectives on hockey, and that perhaps where you saw lots of shortcomings, I instead saw flashes of promise. Let’s leave aside who’s right or wrong for now, or whether Chytil/Andersson had good or bad games (even though I mentioned that for two out of three games things were not so great), and just imagine, let’s simply entertain the notion that sometimes sports experiences are subjective, at least in some ways.

      Is that possible? Not a rhetorical question also, I just want to know whether or not really, deep down, you think there’s a chance that we interpreted things differently, or, whether it was indeed the lamest article you’ve ever read and I totally sugarcoated an otherwise objectively abysmal performance by someone who is barely old enough to vote, were he American. Just let me know, and I’ll adjust my future articles according to your preferences.

      • Mar 31, 2018 at 7:44 pm

        you are a master wordsmith, Pat! I applaud your logical analysis!

  • Mar 31, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Both players did well in the FO circles. I liked where they were on the ice for most of the offensive zone time. #72 is a big young boy! Man he could be really fun to see as he grows up.. looked like a big body gliding on the ice … one play he was really moving, he looked huge doing it!

    #50 has grit and fight to him as well.. competitive to no end!

    Good building blocks of skills that cant be taught!


  • Mar 31, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    With all due respect Pat, the sample size is not just small, it is minuscule. It is also taken from the first games that the players have played in the NHL and with their line mates. Finally, the quality of the performance of their line mates in the past should be a factor and that is not considered at all. Especially in Andersson’s case, where his line mates have not exactly been stars defensively.

    That all being said, the eye test does correspond somewhat with the statistical machinations. They have had both good and bad experiences thus far. Tampa Bay is an elite hockey club in the NHL. I would expect the youngsters to get schooled by them. By the same token, they both played pretty well against the Caps.

    I appreciate your efforts as usual. But, as usual, I have a lot of reservations regarding these kinds of stats because they do a poor job of accounting for the play of the people a player plays with and against.

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      I’m all in favor of factual based analysis, but I have to agree with you that the sample size is absurdly inconsequential at this point. Right now it’s all about the eye test and it should be the general consensus that both kids are getting passing grades. I can’t even say they’ve played a “bad game” because within each game they have had good periods, bad periods and periods of no consequence.

      This is to be expected as they start the long process of adjustment to the faster pace of the game in the NHL — unless of course you’re a generational teenage player or just an older more mature prospect — and even in the latter case there are bound to be gaffes when you step up to the NHL, just ask Pionk who has shown us flashes of brilliance to go along with a few defensive miscues that would make a call girl blush.

      • Mar 31, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        I’m sure that call girls will make any defensive miscue you like without blushing if they’re paid enough 🙂

        • Mar 31, 2018 at 4:00 pm

          That would probably require Academy Award worthy acting on their part … but I’m sure it isn’t out of the question entirely. 😉

    • Mar 31, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      But, as usual, I have a lot of reservations regarding these kinds of stats because they do a poor job of accounting for the play of the people a player plays with and against.

      Have to agree with this 100%.. And at this point who cares what the advanced stats for three games say about Andersson and Chytil. Both played credibly against top professional competition, each putting up a goal and an assist,which for their age and experience level is plenty good enough. Neither one looked out of place or overwhelmed despite making some rookie mistakes and displaying some uneven play. I think Chytil probably has a higher ceiling as far as scoring but Andersson looks like a solid 200-foot player who isn’t afraid to mix it up in the corners and can chip in some offense to boot. None of that guarantees long-term success for either one but there’s certainly nothing to be concerned about at this point in time.

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