Lias Andersson
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers rebuilding process is still in its infancy stage, the baby steps the team is taking should lead to a visit from prospects Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil

New York Rangers prospect  Lias Andersson and  Filip Chytil are both playing in the AHL for the team’s affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Chytil has been with them since mid-October when the Rangers decided to send him to Hartford instead of sending him back home to the Czech Republic. Andersson was assigned to the Wolf Pack following the World Junior Championships in January.

Why aren’t both of these guys playing for the Rangers right now? That answer has more to do with contracts and money as opposed to skill and talent.

There is no doubt the Andersson and Chytil both deserve the opportunity to play with the team this season, especially when the organization has conceded to rebuild the team. The Rangers, excited to see what these two players can do, will do so with caution so that they don’t lose a year of eligibility on their entry-level contracts.

The magic number for the team to watch is nine.

A player who plays 10 games or more has considered to use up the first year of his entry-level contract. For Chytil, who started this season with the Rangers, he has seven games remaining as he played two games with the team prior to being sent to the Wolf Pack.

Andersson was sent back to Frolunda HC of the Swedish league during training camp, so he is eligible to play the in nine games once he is called up.

Looking at how the Rangers schedule is set up, the team would probably call Andersson up around March 18 and Chytil a few days later so that they could get in some practices prior to playing in the remaining games for the Rangers.

Assistant GM Chris Drury told Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post on Monday that the kids eventually will get called up to the club.

“At some point, as things progress here into mid-March, we’ll see where the team’s at, we’ll see what’s best for the team and what’s best for the two specific kids,” assistant general manager Chris Drury told Cyrgalis. “But I imagine at some point we’ll see them up here.”

If not for the contract status, both of these kids would be up with the Rangers now showcasing their talent to the organization and its fans.

Chytil has 10 goals and 28 points in 39 games with the Wolf Pack.

Drury said of Chytil’s season, “I think like any young player, he’s still learning, especially at center, to play a solid 200-foot game,” Drury said. “The offensive instincts and his raw talent and ability is obviously very exciting to us, and now it’s just a matter of making sure he understands how to play in his own zone.”

Andersson has five goals and 12 points in his first 18 games, including 10 points in the past 13 games. Drury also spoke highly of Andersson’s play saying, “With his character and his work ethic and how competitive he is, it’s hard not to notice him every single game.” Drury went on to say, “He’s very goal-oriented and he wants to be a Ranger as fast as he can for as long as he can.”

General manager Jeff Gorton and Drury are correct in holding back these players at this time.

The Rangers are seven points out of the last wild-card spot with only 15 games remaining. Why should they burn a year of eligibility on both of these players just to possibly make the playoffs? They are learning so much more playing for the Wolf Pack than they could be playing for a Rangers team in turmoil.

When the time comes for the Rangers to call up Chytil and Andersson, they will get a head start on next season where they should both have an outstanding opportunity to make the Rangers squad as the team’s youth movement will be well underway.

They can play without worrying about making mistakes, winning or losing. Andersson and Chytil can just worry about playing hockey in the best city in the world without the expectations that come along with that responsibility.

The future looks bright for young Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil along with the New York Rangers.

Elite Access