Filip Chytil is loaded with talent and questions for the New York Rangers
The Rangers are on the precipice of being a contender. This past season saw the arrivals of Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba via free agency and trade. It saw three young stars make impressive debuts in Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, and Kaapo Kakko. Finally, the cherry on top came when NY won the lottery and were gifted phenom, Alexis Lafreniere.
Rangers on the cusp of contention
John Davidson and Jeff Gorton have a young and talented lineup. Yet they were still bounced in three games with minimal fuss by the Carolina Hurricanes. A team they dominated during the regular season, winning all 4 matches. Which begs the question if the team has the right recipe to win.
If you still think an all skills team can win in the NHL because of your unwavering belief in fancy stats, think again. Need proof, check out skills loaded Toronto and all their whopping playoffs success.
This offseason, expect the Rangers to look for more toughness and players who are more North/South than East/West with the puck. By the way, toughness does not equate to just fighting. It seems those lost in spreadsheets still think that’s what I mean when I say it.
Filip Chytil, a gentle giant
Which brings me to one player in particular, Filip Chytil. The 20 year-old forward was a gamble and reach when the Rangers selected him in the late first round of the 2017 draft. They took the same chance with Lias Andersson at 7th overall and got burned that year.
The kid is big at 6’2″ and 206 pounds, but he plays a very soft game. He doesn’t stick up for himself when confronted and that’s no big deal during the regular season. However, it stands out like a wart during the playoffs. Basically, the opposition can smell fear in the heat of battle, and if they know you won’t respond, they will be all over you for the entire series.
This is a big problem for a skills guy like Chytil. If you’re an offensive player and don’t have room to operate, you won’t get much done. In three games against Carolina, Chytil mustered 5 shots while averaging over 15 minutes per game. That simply is not much considering the decent amount of ice time.
Should the Rangers trade Chytil while his stock is high
This may seem like a lot of criticism for basically a 2nd year player with tons of upside. Here’s the real issue, the Rangers drafted Chytil as a center and it appears he’s better suited to be a winger in the NHL.
The Rangers just have way too many of those on the team and in the system. And if you look at him as one, his rank on the depth chart is very low, especially with Lafreniere slotted to play next season on Broadway.
New York has an opportunity to improve their center depth via trade this summer. Filip Chytil is a commodity they can use to make it happen. It’s one that the Rangers will need to look very hard at because Chytil may just be too much of what they already have.