Rangers Roundup: Filip Chytil back at practice but Alexis Lafreniere out, Draft at the Sphere, and more

new york rangers
Oct 13, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) celebrates his goal with left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers were back at practice on Saturday and put in some extended work, especially on special teams play. In the preseason, the Rangers were abysmal on the power play going 1 for 21 and bad on the penalty kill thwarting only 6 of 15 chances.

Here’s today’s latest buzz surrounding the Blueshirts. 

Update: Jonny Brodzinski and Ben Harpur clear waivers, assignment to Hartford Wolf Pack next

Related: NYR opening night line projections

Filip Chytil back at practice

There were a lot of smiles as two injured players return to practice. Filip Chytil (upper-body) and Tyler Pitlick (upper-body) rejoined their teammates in preparation for the start of the 2023-24 season next week.

Chytil, 24, is coming off a career season by scoring 22 goals, 23 assists, for 45 points in 74 games. This will be the center’s sixth full season in the league after playing 9 games with the Rangers in 2017-18.

The Rangers selected Chytil 21st overall in 2017 and have been patiently waiting for him to emerge into the high-scoring center they drafted. Over the past few seasons, Chytil has learned to use his 6-2′, 204 lbs frame to his advantage. New York rewarded Chytil for his efforts with a four-year contract extension back on March 29 at an AAV of $4.4375 million.

Pitlick, 31, signed with the Rangers this summer on a one-year deal worth $787,500. In 61 games for the St. Louis Blues last season, he scored 7 goals and 16 points.

Alexis Lafreniere day-to-day

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

One key player missing at practice was Alexis Lafreniere, who is out with an upper-body injury and considered day-to-day.

“He was out there this morning,” Laviolette revealed. “I’m thinking he’ll return to us tomorrow, and from there we’ll see how he is.”

Lafreniere, 21, is embarking on his fourth NHL campaign and hoping to finally realize his potential. Thus far, through 216 games, the 2020 first overall pick has amassed just 91 points.

When it comes to Lafreniere, getting sufficient playing time has always been an issue sitting behind Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider on the left wing depth chart. However, this year he’s making a switch to right wing in order to get into the top-six.

Forever Blueshirts recently spoke with MSG Networks TV Analyst Joe Micheletti, who has watched every single game played by Lafreniere, what his thoughts were about the move.

“I think with Lafreniere, he’s at an age where he’s been around long enough and at some point, you have to look for when the next step is going to be taken,” Micheletti said. “I thought it would be last year, but he, along with a group of some players, took a step back in the playoffs. What the kid has shown is that he can score even strength goals with limited minutes. So that tells you something about him.”

NHL Draft at Sphere Las Vegas

The New York Rangers may be hosting the 2024 NHL Draft, sort of.

Team owner James Dolan is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Sphere Las Vegas, which is under consideration by the league as a possible venue.

It’s certainly something the league has explored and I think the reason we’re standing here in October and we don’t know where the June draft is because the league has looked at a lot of venues in Vegas. But I can confirm one of the ones they have considered is the Sphere. Probably the preeminent entertainment venue in the world now at a cost of $2.3 billion that’s just opening. And that’s one of the places I think the league would like to have the draft there ultimately in June. We’ll just have to see if they can get all the logistics taken care of to make it happen.

Chris Johnston, TSN

For more information on the Sphere Las Vegas, check their website here.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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