rangers preseason recap bruins

After a long summer off, we finally made it to hockey time again, which means our first Rangers preseason recap. While there was a lot of negative discourse throughout the summer about this team and franchise, I couldn’t wait for them to get back together and finish what they started. Last night’s first preseason matchup against the Bruins unfortunately was not a night for the score sheet, but there were some positives in Peter Laviolette’s first game behind the Rangers bench.

Not everything was great, but three Rangers deserve call outs for their play. First up is Filip Chytil, who was the 1C with Alexis Lafrenière on his right, and Will Cuylle on his left. Chytil was the best player on the ice for both teams. He had many great chances to score, and he looked very comfortable with the responsibility and extra ice time thrown his way.

After scoring 22 goals last season, there was always a hesitation about whether Chytil would not only be able to surpass that, but potentially become this team’s full time 2C. It’s only been a single game of preseason, but the kinds of plays he was making out there, protecting the puck, stick handling around defenders, it’s clear he’s got confidence going into the year. Could he hit 30 this year? It’s certainly possible.

The second player was Adam Sykora. He’s only 19, and by all accounts he should not make the team out of camp, but he looked good. He’s got a rocket of a shot, and he nearly scored off the rush with a dart. Unfortunately the Rangers post-hitting woes continued into this pre-season, robbing us of a great highlight. Sykora will soon be in New York, and if his willingness to go into a scrum is any indication of his character, he will be a fan favorite.

Finally, and it may be tough to stomach for a few people, Alexis Lafrenière looked good. His 5 on 5 play was some bad, some really good, but special teams was definitely where he stood out. He wasn’t a passenger by any means, taking control and calling for the puck. While the Rangers have not worked on special teams yet in their camp, this is where Lafrenière needs to get more responsibility.

The hope is as camp progresses, he will be utilized in a way where success can be achieved for himself. This is the make or break year for Lafrenière. There is a lot of noise surrounding him and his long term future here in New York. Some of it is on his previous staffs, and some of it is on him and rumors about his work ethic and habits. We’ll see if Laviolette and company are the secret to unlocking the player many scouts saw in Junior hockey.


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