Rangers 2017 first round gamble Filip Chytil in a make or break season

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.

The 2017 draft has already seen the Rangers trade one gamble in Lias Andersson (7th overall) away, and it may add another with Filip Chytil (21st overall) depending on what he does this season.

Filip Chytil needs to assert himself

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.

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Filip Chytil is a gentle giant (AP)

Which brings me to one player in particular, Filip Chytil. The 21 year-old forward was a gamble and reach when the Rangers selected him in the late first round of the 2017 draft.

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.

Chytil looking for a big year

Filip Chytil is playing with two talented wingers this year. Alexis Lafreniere will be on his left and Julien Gauthier on his right. He is however more concerned about what he can do with his own game.

“Of course I am ready, I am always ready to be better than before,” Chytil responded to a question about this season. “The most I was focusing on was the shooting, because in the last two seasons when I played in the NHL, I had a lot of chances. I was better last year with 14 goals than the season before with 11. So, I want to score more goals to help the team. So that was the thing I was focusing the most in the offseason.”

If the Ranger hope to be successful this season, they will need three scoring lines and Chytil taking the next step.

Should the Rangers trade Chytil?

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 may have an opportunity to improve their center depth via trade soon. 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.

That can all change if Chytil proves he can own the third line center position and show the potential to be the star they took a gamble on in 2017.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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