Will Cuylle a dynamic force for New York Rangers

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Will Cuylle has given the New York Rangers more quality depth than they’ve had in previous years. Since the rookie opened eyes in training camp to force his way onto the roster, he’s been a dynamic force for a team that’s sitting first in the Metro Division as we approach the New Year.

His contributions both on and off the score sheet for the bottom-six group of forwards has been very noticeable. Aside from chipping in offensively here and there, he’s done a great job of shutting down opposing teams’ top lines, racking up hits, and blocking shots. Simply put, the 21 year-old power forward has been nothing short of excellent for the Blueshirts.

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Will Cuylle a dynamic force

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

What makes Cuylle such a dynamic player is the wide range of skills that he brings to the lineup. Most noticeable of his various stats has been the amount of hits he has recorded. The 21-year-old winger has logged 73 hits in 27 games so far this season. Among rookies, Cuylle ranks first in this category by a wide margin. Overall, he ranks 12th in hits.

Even more impressive is how he manages to generate this much physicality given his ice time. So far, Cuylle has been averaging 11:30 minutes of time on ice per game. Meaning that when he is on the ice, he is constantly applying pressure and using the body.

Don’t let the hard-nosed play of Cuylle distract you from his offensive potential. While he only has seven points on the season (5G-2A), Cuylle has shown flashes of incredible offensive ability. This being his first full season, he has plenty of time to grow his offensive game and become a true threat as a power forward.

Cuylle has been taking advantage of every opportunity that has come his way. From making the opening night lineup, to now receiving looks on the second power play unit in light of the Rangers’ numerous injuries this season. With one power play assist this season, he will hopefully look to generate some more offense on the man advantage.

The main goal has been constant improvement for the rookie. “I always say, just trying to get better every day,” Cuylle explained. “I think each game is just being more confident. I think each game I’m getting more comfortable, and obviously I’m going to look to keep going with that.”

The young forward plays a hard and physical game that can get under the skin of the opposing team. Initial impressions of Cuylle can draw comparisons to players like Brad Marchand and Brady Tkachuck. The types of players who are very gifted offensively, but are not afraid to be physical and play with an edge.

A player like this brings a little bit of everything and their value cannot be overlooked. Seeing this promising performance from such a young player is a great sign for the Rangers.

Getting the chance to play with veteran forwards like Nick Bonino and Blake Wheeler has been a huge help for his development. “Obviously, two really experienced guys,” Cuylle mentioned. “I’m trying to learn a lot from them.”

Head coach Peter Laviolette has been pleased with the rookie’s performance on the third line this season. “Young player and he gives everything he’s got every night,” said Laviolette. “He’s physical, I think he’s off to a good start. He’s learning, but he’s off to a good start.”

One skill that cannot be taught is effort level. Cuylle is certainly a player whose effort does not take a night off, and it is very noticeable. Laviolette went on to say, “I think his effort is consistent. I think he’s a young kid that cares and plays hard. He’s fast, he’s physical, he hits, he goes to the front of the net, and he’s a really coachable kid.”

Effort, grit, physicality, and offensive upside potential. Early signs for Will Cuylle prove that he could be a star in the making. His dynamic style of play has brought a lot of value to the Rangers third line and has solidified their depth at the left wing position. On this trajectory, Cuylle will hopefully continue to grow and become a mainstay in the Rangers lineup for years to come.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh