Rangers will be without Filip Chytil for the foreseeable future
News broke on Friday that New York Rangers center Filip Chytil will be missing even more time than expected. In an exclusive report by Larry Brooks of the NY Post, Chytil will be returning to Czechia to begin the next phase of his recovery from a suspected concussion. The injury was sustained to the 24-year-old forward on November 2nd. Chytil has been skating on his own for several weeks now, but is not comfortable to the point of being able to return.
Chytil has a long history with concussions. He has suffered four prior documented incidents which have caused him to miss time throughout his young career. For Chytil, the focus is on his health first and foremost. With this being his fifth potential concussion, concerns now shift to the longevity of his NHL career, let alone his return date to the Rangers.
Rangers to remain without Filip Chytil
The Rangers would be more than thrilled to have the young forward back in the lineup. It may take some time, but it is good to see that Chytil is working as hard as he can on making a return. The decision to return home was a mutual one between Chytil’s camp and the Rangers. It does, however, mean that the Rangers now have a decision to make as the trade deadline approaches.
While the need for a right-winger is still very prominent, the Rangers may now decide to shift their focus to acquiring a center. With Blake Wheeler’s resurgence and Kaapo Kakko resuming skating, the Blueshirts may be able to handle their right wing depth.
If Chytil is unable to return to the Rangers during the regular season, the Rangers would gain approximately $3.8 million of additional cap space off of the center’s $4.437.500 million cap hit that they can use to bulk up the roster. With Chytil on LTIR, using that money would not preclude Chytil from returning for the playoffs.
Similar moves have been made by recent Stanley Cup winners. The Tampa Bay Lightning did it with Nikita Kucherov, as did the Vegas Golden Knights with Mark Stone. Should the Rangers follow a similar route, they may be able to afford a high-end player, and still get Chytil back in the post-season. This would give the Rangers incredible depth as they push for their first Stanley Cup in 30 years.
The Rangers may now be able to make a move for a coveted center like Elias Lindholm or Steven Stamkos, who we discussed earlier this season to bolster their depth down the middle of the ice while adding some offensive firepower. Or, they may be able to afford a solidified 1st line right-winger like Vladimir Tarasenko.
Whichever route the Rangers decide to take, Chytil’s timetable for return could give them more flexibility at the trade deadline. If Chytil’s progress is faster than expected, he may return prior to the postseason.
The priority, of course, with all of this news is that Chytil gets healthy. It is nice to see him prioritizing his own well-being, going home where he can recover while being surrounded by friends and family.
The NY Post also mentioned that he will be, “Skating on his own under the supervision of the training and skills coach whom he works with in the off-season.”
Let’s all hope for a speedy recovery and a healthy return for Filip Chytil when the time is right.