Why You’re Going to Love Filip Chytil

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With the 21st pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft, the New York Rangers selected forward Filip Chytil from HC Zlin of the Czech Extraliga. Many were confused about the pick, as there were still bigger names on the board, including Kailer Yamamoto and Eeli Tolvanen. I questioned the pick as well, but ultimately, I’m not an NHL scout and decided to give this pick the benefit of the doubt. Those who gave him the benefit of the doubt are looking pretty smart after digging into his stats, his style of play, and his developments over the past few days.

Chytil is not a shoe-in to make the NHL by any means next season and chances are we won’t see him for at least another year. He is extremely young at only 17 years of age and won’t turn 18 until September. He is as raw a prospect as you can get. But since he is a first round talent, you can be sure the Rangers are extremely high on him and his potential. Hockey is not easy to play by any means and for a 17-year-old to step in a men’s professional league and impress NHL scouts is something to behold. You just don’t see that in many players.

Last season, while playing in the Czech Republic, Chytil scored four goals and four assists for eight points in 38 games. Now I understand that those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page for some of you, but you really need to consider the kid’s age here. Take a moment to watch these two videos and look at what this 17-year-old brings to his organization. He is number 12 is the first video and 20 in the second.

After seeing him perform it’s not hard to see why Chytil shot up the rankings this season going from the #71 ranked prospect midseason to the #31 overall prospect in the draft (TSN Rankings). He improved by a massive margin over the course of the season. Watching him on the ice, you can see his potential. He’s winning puck battles, he has a slick set of hands, a nice shot and always seems to find the open man. Oh and speed. Speed, speed, speed. Here is what Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst had to say about Chytil:

He’s an excellent penalty killer and likes to hang on to the puck rather than give away to facilitate his own safety. Chytil is a responsible player who plays the 200-foot game and is used on both the top power play and penalty killing units. He sort of reminds me of a bigger, thicker version of former Chicago Blackhawk great Steve Larmer in that he executes at a high level but without dazzling and mystifying the crowd into a frenzy. He’s got a thick frame and can be next to impossible to move off the puck, especially when separating himself from opponents in pursuit. Chytil also whips the puck around with accuracy and can complete difficult plays off the rush. Another thing that stands out is his intelligence, especially in regards to reads and positioning. He moves quite well and doesn’t require many steps to reach top speed.”

All those qualities add up to a player who the Rangers see as a massive part of their future and who will hopefully one day be a dominant center in the NHL. His versatility of playing both center and wing is not to be forgotten, as it gives him more potential spots in the lineup that he can fill. Chytil is an impressive prospect and today received another honor.

Being picked that high in any draft is a solid sign you’re doing something right in your hockey career and Chytil has now been picked in the first round in two drafts within a week. Chytil was the only Rangers prospect selected in the CHL import draft as well. According to Jess Rubenstein (@TheProspectpark) if Chytil does join the Battalion the coach, Stan Butler, stresses defensive play which would only aid Chytil is his quest to enter the NHL. Chances are though that Chytil stays in Extraliga or makes the jump to the AHL. Time will tell.

Chytil, along with other Rangers draft picks and prospects, competed today in a prospect scrimmage as a part of the Rangers development camp. What did Chytil end up doing today? He scored two goals and looked like one of the best young players out on the ice. Could he possibly force the Rangers to take a longer look at him like they did with former prospect Anthony Duclair a couple years ago? If he continues his strong performance throughout prospect camp and in training camp you never know.

All signs point to the selection of Chytil being extremely smart and according to some, he would have been a top ten pick if he was 2018 draft eligible. He is a budding young center who has the raw talent and skill to eventually be a force in the NHL, and I along with many others will hopefully be eating crow within the next few years when Chytil moves into the Rangers lineup. Based on what we’ve seen and read already, it is a big possibility.

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