David Quinn is off to a solid start with the New York Rangers but, he keeps making the same mistake which could hurt the team in the future.
David Quinn’s start to his head coaching career with the New York Rangers was all rainbows and lollipops. Now, we are starting to see some habits that are worrisome from the first-year head coach.
The team has done a great job answering to Quinn after they got off to a 3-7-1 start in their first 11 games. Even then though, Quinn usage of the likes of Filip Chytil, and now Lias Andersson, have been questionable at best. To begin, the whole point of Andersson starting the season in the AHL was to get him playing time. The team felt him playing six to nine minutes a night in the NHL was not going to do much for his development.
Well, here we are just seven weeks into the season and Quinn is doing the exact opposite of what the goal was for the Blueshirts’ young centers.
Through the team’s first 10 games, Brett Howden and Chytil were the two rookie centers given a chance to show their worth in the NHL. Howden has done nothing but impress, scoring five points in that span (2-3-5) averaging 14:58 of ice time in that span. For Chytil, he has not had the same success as Howden. He finished the first 10 games of this season with just two points, both assists while averaging 13:46 of ice time per game.
With the Rangers struggling, Quinn felt it was time to change some things up to get the Rangers going. Quinn moved around some players in the lineup which resulted in a six-game point streak but, the move came at the expense of Chytil’s minutes.
Since the move, Chytil’s ice time has gone down significantly while seeing time on the fourth line. He’s averaged just 9:55 in his last six games (entering Saturday), with just 12.8 shifts per game. But, it only gets worse. Chytil only saw three shifts in the Blueshirts’ loss to Detroit. That amounted to just 2:21 of ice-time in the final 20-minutes after a game where Quinn admitted he mismanaged Chytil’s minutes against Montreal. Chytil ended the night Friday with 9:09 of ice-time, right in line with what he has seen in his last six games.
Now enter Andersson, who is being rewarded for an impressive start to his season down in Hartford. Following the Howden injury scare, the team decided to give Andersson a chance to avenge his early-season demotion. In his first game, replaced the injured Howden seeing 12:17 skating in the Rangers’ top-nine. Andersson had an increase in minutes against Columbus in a top-nine role but, when Mats Zuccarello comes back that most likely will not be the case.
Quinn admitted before the game Friday he was excited to see Andersson and Chytil together. Well, clearly that excitement only lasted two periods because Andersson got lost in the rotation, along with Chytil, in the third period seeing just two shifts. He finished the night seeing the ice for only 6:23, not seeing a single shift in the final 10 minutes of regulation or overtime.
Not only has Quinn’s usage of the two been problematic, but who they are playing alongside has not helped their growth either. Chytil has skated along with Cody McLeod for the better part of the season. While McLeod has done his job, it has not helped Chytil grow into the player he could be. It is a big difference going from playing with skill players like Chytil was when he was with Kevin Hayes and Zuccarello, to playing with an enforcer.
What is happening here with Andersson and Chytil is exactly what the Rangers were afraid was going to happen when the season started. At this point, the Blueshirts are better off sending Andersson to Hartford to use the contract slide they waisted on Chytil. Doing so pushes Andersson’s entry-level contract from kicking in this season to next. This move is better for Andersson’s development and is also better for the Rangers plans this year and in the future to keep Andersson here long-term.
Simply put, how do you expect a young player to develop when he cannot see a steady amount of ice-time? The answer is simple, they won’t and it honestly might just hurt the Rangers not only today but, in the future as well.