Last night, the NY Rangers signed us with a four year Filip Chytil contract extension. The extension is a clear win for GM Chris Drury, who has been rather excellent since his first offseason. It’s also a win for Chytil, who almost doubles his current annual salary, gets long term stability, and sets himself up for a nice payday when he’s 27 years old. As per usual, I have thoughts.
Chytil contract is a team win
1. The rejoicing yesterday was warranted, not just because of the Chytil contract extension, but because it was such a team friendly deal. His $4.4375 million contract is well under the $7.6 million UFA valuation, which he was not a UFA, and well under the expected $5 million or higher he was slated to get. Getting Chytil locked up for 4 years under $5 million is a coup.
2. Chytil is putting up 2C numbers while playing 3C and barely getting any powerplay time. Make no mistake, if he were given the 2C role this year, he not only would have higher counting stats, but he’d cost far more too. Yet without that powerplay time to boost his stats, he’s 4th on the Rangers in goals (22), 9th in assists (20), and 6th in points (42). His 14.4% shooting rate is 40% higher than his career average of 10.1%, but far closer to what we should expect than last year’s 5.9% shooting rate, far below his ability.
3. The other thing with Chytil is that he is one of the better two way players on the Rangers. People get lost in his faceoffs, which are bad, and use it to say Chytil isn’t a center. Faceoffs are a nice skill to have, but the center position is less about faceoffs and more about three zone, two way play. The offensive numbers are finally catching up to his ability, and it makes him a valuable piece for the Blueshirts.
Chytil is here to stay
4. The four year Chytil contract shows the Rangers committed to the young center as part of the short and long term future. This was a clear concern for many fans when the Blueshirts committed six years to Vincent Trocheck in the offseason. But now with Chytil, Trocheck, and Mika Zibanejad locked up, the Rangers have the most important position –center– locked up with three strong players. Stanley Cup champions have depth at center. The Rangers have that depth now.
5. Chytil has always been a #fancystats darling, and with his numbers catching up and confidence growing, he’s turned many of his haters to his side as well. The concern with his playing time doesn’t seem to be there anymore, and the contract ensures he’s unlikely to be traded any time soon. After all, $4.4 million, 20-goal, 50-point players don’t grow on trees. Especially when 19-18-37 of that is at even strength.
6. The Chytil contract is also low enough that the Rangers should be able to get K’Andre Miller under a long term contract, something that seems inevitable, with enough room to lock up Alexis Lafreniere as well. If the speculation that Barclay Goodrow is on the move this offseason is true, they may be able to lock of Lafreniere long term as well. All in all, a great piece of work by Drury.
7. If we assume that the Chytil contract signals a desire to keep all three of the kids, then we should expect both Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko (next season) to get similar long term extensions. That is a big IF, of course, but it does seem to be trending that way. All three are a key part of the Rangers, both now and when the core transitions from the current veterans to the three kids.