Going into this season, everyone knew the New York Rangers were going to struggle.
They have a young team, a new head coach, and they are trying to establish an identity for the future. At 3-7-1 and with the second worst record in the league, the Blueshirts have already met those expectations, unfortunately.
One player who has yet to make an impact on this season is Filip Chytil. The 19-year-old 21st overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has barely been noticeable in the team’s 11 games this season.
For starters, he is clearly not producing. He has just two assists so far and with the talent that he has in him, this number needs to get better somehow.
Late last season, Chytil showed off some of his offensive skill. He has great hands, can make moves with the puck, can make crisp passes, and has a good shot.
Those things led to 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in 20 games last year. Obviously not big numbers, but certainly not terrible numbers for a then 18-year-old.
Because of his slow start, Chytil has found himself playing on the club’s fourth line more often than not. For Chytil, this means that he is not playing with highly-skilled forwards and it also means a lot less ice time.
In his last five games, Chytil has averaged about 13 minutes of ice time a game. While that amount of ice time isn’t terrible, it is not enough ice time for him to make an impact on the game.
This should make the team wonder if he needs to be sent down to the club’s farm team down in Hartford. While this year is meant to be a developing season for the team’s younger players, you also do not want to mess around with Chytil’s confidence.
Last season, Chytil was more than a solid AHLer. In 46 games, he had 31 points (11 goals and 20 assists) and was a +1, which means he also played well on the other side of the puck.
Maybe getting his confidence back up will help in the long run. Send Chytil down, let him produce, and play in all kinds of situations, and then call him back up when the time is right.
Speaking of the AHL, the club may want to consider calling up the other highly touted prospect they drafted in 2017, Lias Andersson. In 11 games this season, he already has 9 points (3 goals and 6 assists), though he does not improve his play on the other side of the puck as he is currently -3. (As of October 30).
Andersson is worth giving a shot to right now. Let Andersson come up to replace Chytil and see if he fares any better.
These are still young guys who have a lot of room to grow and a lot of time to reach their potential. In the case of Chytil, seeing some time down in Hartford is something the Blueshirts should consider because right now at least, it does not look like he belongs in the NHL.
Photo: New York Daily News