Filip Chytil will return for Rangers with some advice from Gerard Gallant
The New York Rangers returned to practice today and there was Filip Chytil back at his center position on the third line. Also in his usual spot was defenseman Patrik Nemeth, missing from the lineup for the birth of his son. He was paired with Braden Schneider as Zac Jones skated with the extras.
With Chytil confirmed to play on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues, head coach Gerard Gallant had one piece of advice for him.
Gallant wants Chytil to play like Zibanejad
“If there’s a guy I’d like to see him play like, go out and play like Mika Zibanejad,” Gallant said. “You’re a left-handed Mika.”
That’s certainly a tall order for the 22 year-old that has struggled to find any level of consistency in the NHL. Which is why, Gallant clarified the statement focusing on the little things Zibanejad does and not just his offensive production.
“Mika plays a complete game. Face-offs, power play, he goes out there and does a good job,” the coach explained. “Go out there and have fun. Play hard and compete.”
Now it will be up to Chytil to make it happen.
Filip Chytil a likely trade candidate
Chytil was drafted in the first round of the 2017 Draft (21st overall). He’s had a difficult season with just 12 points in 41 games. Over the last five years, he’s been bounced around the lineup playing center or right wing with neither seeming to be a fit. He’s registered 83 points in 227 career games.
Despite talks that Chris Drury may deem Chytil as someone he’d rather not trade because the team does not have many centers, I believe he is very much on the block for the right deal. I expressed as much over at The Daily Goal Horn, where I placed him on our NHL Trade Bait Tracker along with three other Blueshirts.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers made two to three moves at the trade deadline coming this March 21. One would be to bring in a top six winger and another for a reliable third line center that can play a solid two-way game. A defenseman is possible but not a definite need.
In order to do that, the Rangers will need to make room and Chytil is a logical trade chip. If he were to be packaged to the Canucks for a player like J.T. Miller that makes sense to me. He could also be moved for a rental forward like Tomas Hertl if the Sharks can’t come to terms on an extension.
The Rangers can then go out and look at the rental market for a third line center. Some possible options that make sense are the Senators’ Chris Tierney or the Jets’ Paul Stastny.
Chytil could already be on borrowed time with the Rangers. Being a healthy scratch in favor of Morgan Barron or Greg McKegg seems like a sure sign of it. Whether a trade happens at the deadline, draft, or possibly next season seems inevitable unless he starts scoring.
The Ranger are faced with a big decision regarding J.T. Miller, plus Ducks won’t let free agents walk. Read more.