What were you doing three months after you turned 19 -years old? I would bet a week’s paycheck that New York Rangers rookie Filip Chytil has you beat.

Frank Curto

New York Rangers rookie forward Filip Chytil is a kid playing in a man’s world. Let me give you an example for what the 19-year-old did last Friday night at Madison Square Garden in front of 18,400 fans.

Chytil takes a pass from Jimmy Vesey to the left of the Arizona goal. He then spins and makes a quick cross-ice pass through the legs of an Arizona defender to Pavel Buchnevich. The winger fires the pass on-the-fly past Coyotes’ goalie Adin Hill. A power play goal for the New York Rangers and a play that fans hope to witness many more times.

When I was 19 years old, I was at a bar, probably watching a Rangers game.

Chytil has been one of the most consistent Ranger rookies this year. Appearing in 33 games, he’s has scored six goals along with 12 points. The coaching staff has seen a positive improvement in his play which has afforded him the chance to get some power-play opportunities and he has taken full advantage of them.

Last season, No.72 made the team out of camp and was in the opening night lineup. The game at the time appeared a bit fast for him and he was sent to Hartford to polish up his game. He was called up at the end of last season and has not looked back since.

Chytil may look like a kid, but he has fit in well within the Rangers lineup. A mix of youth and veteran, Chytil has adapted well to the coaching style of David Quinn, a rookie in his new position with the team.

Quinn’s ability to talk to his players has proven beneficial to the team, especially in Chytil’s case. The rookie has played at center and wing this season. Each position comes with different responsibilities.

Early in October, Chytil played in the left wing with Kevin Hayes in the middle. He was moved back to center later on in the season. Recently, Chytil has seen action at wing in the team’s top line as the coaching staff continues to look for the right line combinations.

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As a center, Chytil had to learn the defensive game which was different than what was played in the Czech Republic. Here, Quinn has his centers come all the way back deep into their own defensive end to help the defenseman get the puck moving towards center ice. Chytil has to skate the full 200 feet to get this job done.

The rookie struggled to score his first goal of the season. On a Monday night at MSG against the Vancouver Canucks, things began to turn around for Chytil. He scored his first of the year, a power play goal, and that ignited a goal outburst the Rangers has been waiting for.

Chytil went in to score a goal in the next three games after, becoming the first Rangers teenager to score in four straight games. This all occurring in the midst of the team’s best action this year, a strong 9-1-1 winning streak.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, the winning has dried up as the team has only two wins in the month of December, but Chytil continues to impress.

The youngster has shown improvements in all three zones, and for now has been the highlight of the 2017 NHL draft for the team. Fellow first-round pick, seventh overall, Lias Andersson is also up on the team but has yet found the consistent success Chytil has. Players develop at different paces and it’s a matter of time before Andersson plays to his potential.

Chytil needs to continue to do what works for him.

  • Play to his capabilities.
  • Learn from the mistakes he makes.
  • Respond and react to the coaching staffs direction.
  • Feed and learn from the veterans on the team.

His coach anticipated big things following his first goal in November telling Colin Stephenson of Newsday,

“I’m anxious to see him build on what’s happened the last few games. It’s the ebbs and flows of a 19-year-old in the National Hockey League.”

Chytil has been improving pretty much every day. Yes, he does make mistakes, but the kid learns from his mistake and gets better every day. An aggressive forward, he is extremely teachable and welcomes negative as well as positive critique. A player who does whatever the team needs of him in order to get the win.

Nineteen and playing in the greatest city in the world. Yet the kid won’t be able to buy a legitimate drink at a bar for two more years.

What a great life and it will only get better.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com