Appreciating Filip Chytil

Second year center is having a great season so far

Before the season began, Filip Chytil was pencilled in by many as the 2C to start the season. That was all thrown to the wind when Chytil didn’t have a strong camp and was sent to the AHL to start the season. After putting up 3-6-9 in nine AHL games, Chytil was back up with the Rangers. The question was whether or not he would stick. One week after writing about how we should be appreciating Pavel Buchnevich, we continue the optimism and progress by appreciating what Chytil has done to ensure he sticks.

After 17 games, Chytil has a line of 8-2-10 and has solidified his role in the top-nine for now*. Chytil really clicked with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich when that trio was a thing. Chytil’s scoring isn’t a product of powerplay time either, as all of his points are at even strength. His 40 shots through 17 games is solid on a team that doesn’t shoot that much as well

*-As long as Ryan Strome produces with Artemi Panarin, there’s no reason to split up that duo.

The one item to keep an eye on is his shooting percentage (20%), something that will likely come down. But like with Strome, a shooting percentage that regresses is fine as long as the offensive numbers are still there to whether that storm. And that is where we truly get to see Chytil’s improvement, as he’s one of the top offensive drivers on the team (numbers from NaturalStatTrick), small sample size warning:

  • xGF%: 54.28 (1st)
  • CF%: 50.11 (1st)
  • xGF/60: 2.91 (1st)
  • CF/60: 58.39 (1st)

The most promising thing here is that –and I stress that this is relative to the team and not overall great numbers, and that the Blueshirts’ defensive numbers are awful all around– Chytil’s defensive numbers are pretty solid for being a member of the Rangers. His xGA/60 is 2.5, second to just Jesper Fast. His CA/60 is 58.15, also second to Fast. Relatively speaking, that’s pretty solid.

Nothing on these shot heatmaps should be surprising given the information above, but they drive home how much better the Rangers are with Chytil on the ice than without. The top half shows more red in the middle of the ice (more shots from that location for the Rangers) when he’s on the ice. The defensive heatmap isn’t overly pretty –it’s the Rangers’ effect– but it’s more blue than without him on the ice.

One last item to notice is where Chytil is getting his shots from, which also may be why his SH% is inflated right now. These are high quality shots from dangerous areas on the ice. The Rangers don’t shoot much, but they have enough skill to keep the offense and goals flowing.

Chytil certainly didn’t have the best camp, but he took his cut in stride and turned it into a very successful 17 games so far. He’s already shown he’s going to stick. Now it’s a matter of sustainability, and ensuring he’s not a flash in the pan. Given his skill set, I’m not concerned.

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  • Great piece David.

    This is kid was our 2C coming into the season and he is proving that he should be in that role.

  • And many questioned if he was a good pick early on? In time Phil will be a fan favorite, and darn good player!!!!

    • Good morning to Rainman, and Forrest Gump, I forgot to acknowledge you earlier. I expect to hear from the three Stooges after this reply, LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    • I have to admit I wasn’t impressed last season with what I saw on the ice and was not sold that he would become more than just another skilled guy without the juice to really be an impact player. Thrilled to see how he turned it around after a rough start to the season, and that kind of mental toughness has me eating my words.

  • I admit last season I didn’t think much of Chytil’s game and thought he was overmatched in the NHL (as most teenagers would be). After a bad training camp, and trip to Hartford this year I was disappointed with the kid and worried for the team that one of their future centers was not gonna pan out. BUT I’m happy to say Chytil proved me wrong upon his promotion from the AHL. He’s been a force since his call up and has generally made his presence felt just about every game since his return. I think by the end of the year he may grow into that 2C everyone hopes he can be for the Rangers. Good job by Chytil turning it around.

    On a separate note I’d like to see Quinn settle in on 4 lines and stick with those lines for a quarter of the season. It seems like every game there’s new line combos and new PP combos. Stop the madness, DQ. Let some chemistry form.

    • Stoobie

      Good post, and I have to agree with the last part of your post,
      “On a separate note I’d like to see Quinn settle in on 4 lines and stick with those lines for a quarter of the season. It seems like every game there’s new line combos and new PP combos. Stop the madness, DQ. Let some chemistry form.” There are plenty of us that feel the same way……..

      • Thanks Walt. I appreciate it. I think we’re at the point where somebody has to step in and say to Quinn “Ok we understand it’s a rebuild and tinkering to see what you have is good, but how do you know what we have when you change the line combos every other game?”. As a layman fan I would imagine it puts a lot of pressure on players who are moved up to perform right away and frustrating for the skilled mainstays to have new line mates so often.

        I like the DQ hire, but after 1 1/3 seasons I’m starting to look at his X’s and O’s acumen more closely. I mean the defensive stats are a mess. The PP has enough talent to be a top ten in the league but I don’t think it is. They lead the league in too many men penalties, and I don’t see a lot of set plays off the FOs or even stretch passes like when the dreaded AV was behind the bench. And btw the team is awful on faceoffs. Isn’t it the coach’s responsibility to address some of these issues? It all can’t be chalked up to young players right? What do you guys think of DQ’s strategies as a coach? Am I missing stuff or is he a glorified babysitter?

        • Quinn is not nearly as innovative or flexible (in terms of adjustments) as I hoped, and if he’s paying attention to metrics as much as I would have preferred, he wouldn’t be making a number of the decisions he has made. I think some of the stuff he has pulled with the younger guys (Buch last year, sending Chytil down this year, Lias all-around, favoring Howden – until recently, anyway, etc.) has maybe been a bit of unnecessary theater…not over the top, just a bit. Carrying Haley and McKegg is not a choice I would have made, personally – not with Lemieux on the roster, anyway.

          While I’m glad he got away from man/overload on the defensive end (which is really just a tough system to execute unless you have a fleet of above-average agile two-way types that really no NHL team has…it’s a video game system IMO), I am dismayed to see that he believes the current direction of giving up the blue line is the way to go instead. Basically went from one bad defensive system to another, unfortunately…and the goalies are still getting peppered to the tune of second-worst in the league, only one tenth of a shot per game from worst.

          So, he’s running a bad defensive system (at least in terms of personnel fit), doesn’t seem to be paying attention to metrics in some areas, has made some questionable deployment decisions, seems to prefer to constantly jumble the lines hoping to strike chemistry lightning as a solution rather than adjust his system to accentuate the strengths and diminish the weaknesses of the roster…seems a bit familiar, no? I was hoping he’d be vastly different than AV in more ways.

          • Egelstein

            I could have written this post, so right on the money…….
            Your reference to AV was something I mentioned a few months back, but it’s good to see some knowledgeable posters see that same traits. We haven’t heard from you in a while, please post more often!!!!

          • That was great analysis! Thanks for chiming in. So what do you think about how the Rangers have not been good on face-offs for years? Isn’t that a skill that can be taught and improved upon? It seems like a no brained to me? Face-offs are an important part of the game in all zones, right?

          • I wouldn’t go so far as to say “faceoffs don’t matter” like some people, but I also don’t dwell on them too much, personally. I also think it’s something that you don’t necessarily seek out in terms of the draft or free agents…if a guy is great at faceoffs but has holes in other areas, the holes in other areas are likely more problematic than a player who is strong in those areas but worse at faceoffs. Given a choice for a kid with plus speed but maybe a 40% FO type, or a kid who’s a 60% FO type but may not have NHL-ready speed, for example, I think you gotta go with the speedster and hope the faceoff skill develops. It’s gonna be harder to teach or condition the other kid to skate faster IMO. It would kind of be a luxury to have a roster so good that you could actively seek out a faceoff specialist to occupy a roster spot, unless he also is plus at something else (a pugilist, or a good PKer, etc.). I certainly think faceoffs can be taught to a degree though, unlike some hockey skills or talents that can’t be taught as easily, or at all – for sure. So it’s definitely worth the coaching crew to address more thoroughly, if for some reason they are not.

            Thanks for the kind words, Walt! I haven’t been spending quite so much time on the hockey blogs in recent months is all. I’ve been reading them pretty regularly still, though! Just like AV, I’m giving DQ a solid chance here, a good 2 or maybe 3 seasons…but, to say I have no concerns yet would be rather inaccurate, haha.

  • Chytil has all the makings of a big-time player……Richter was correct. This kid is the goods!

  • He is a very good young player. He needs to consistently play 5v5 minutes and some PP minutes to round out his game. I already like what the AHL coaches have taught him regarding defensive responsibilities. Seems like he is listening and doing the right things.

    Team could use more players like him.

    Makes me think of what could have Kraftsov have become if he gave the Hartford team 25 games? He would rather be playing in Russia than learning the NHL game with good teachers.

    • And, he started well back in Russia, but his play (and his TOI) have dropped off lately. Not good.

        • Word on Banter is that he got benched in one game after a lazy shift leading to a goal, and only got one shift in his last game. It wasn’t entirely clear if both posts referred to the same game, or it was two games

  • Chytil will still have some development to go through in order to become what some fans claim he already is. I have noticed that he doesn’t have to worry about the matchup game until Quinn plays along which seems to happen more on home ice for this coach.

    The Metro has some really good 1-2 punches down the middle. I know everyone is down and out on NJ but Hish/Hughes will look real nice soon. If the Rangers end up where I think they’ll be in the standings come April, then I hope to see this club draft the best available center. Resting on a string of 5-6 games is not a good strategy.

  • Can you create the same “Unblocked Shot Locations” chart for Tony DeAngelo? In an article yesterday his elevated shooting percentage was noted, but I have to think that he’s taking shots from much more dangerous areas this year than last, as well as relative to other defenders. He’s not just ripping slapshots from the point, he’s had multiple goals from down low in the slot.

  • The kid has the stuff.

    The almighty hockey gods came down and touched this one with soft hands a silky stride and strong on the puck.

    Is he the 2nd coming of Jagr , no but every time he gets the puck , I get ready to stand up to cheer.

    I can only see him getting better.

  • There will be bumps in the road but all indications are he’s a “minor” star in the making.

  • Read that the NYR are quietly shopping Lias and are including him in deals.
    If he does get traded, we all have to agree he was a bust at the 7th pick.

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