Fliip Chytil
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Rangers decision to send Filip Chytil to the AHL may sting a bit at first, but makes complete sense in the long run. 

Frank Curto

Head Coach David Quinn, in his second year with the New York Rangers, had a very tough decision to make regarding center Filip Chytil.

It had a lot to do with what the staff saw on the ice and at practice over the last two-and-a-half weeks.

Does a player progress more from staying with the Rangers and playing on the third or fourth line while averaging seven-to-nine minutes a game, or is it more beneficial to go to the Hartford Wolf Pack and play 15-18 minutes while leading the charge?

Minutes played usually turns out to be the greater progression avenue and the Rangers agree. The club announced their final cuts with opening night two days away.

It makes complete sense.

Chytil will start the year as a member of the Wolf Pack. The organization feels at this time that if he could not be a top-nine forward, he would be better off in the AHL.

This has to be a shocking blow to Chytil. After being drafted in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (21st overall), Chytil appeared in the first two games of the 2017-18 season. The coaching staff then decided he needed some more time outside of the NHL and Chytil was able to convince general manager Jeff Gorton to send him to the AHL instead of going back to his minor league team overseas.

He was called back up to the Rangers March 2018, eventually playing in the team’s final seven games.

Filip Chytil was disappointed, but took his demotion “like a pro,” Jeff Gorton said to Colin Stephenson of Newsday.

Chytil played in 75 games for the Rangers last season, recording 11 goals with 23 points.

As training camp began this year, the 20-year-old was penciled in to start the preseason schedule as the team’s No. 2 center behind Mika Zibanejad.

Missed Opportunities

A few uninspired games in which Chytil missed several defensive assignments led to the coaching staff putting him on the wing and placing Ryan Strome at the center position. Chytil played in the last two games, but it wasn’t enough to keep a roster spot.

Quinn explained, following the team’s practice on Monday, that he believed it would be better for Chytil to get more playing time at center in Hartford, along with more time on the power-play, instead of being in and out of the lineup with the Rangers now.

It’s hard to believe that from the end of last season, and through camp this year, that Chytil has dropped down to what the club thinks would be a fourth-line player.

The club remains confident he will be called back up, and if you consider the Rangers schedule, which has the team playing only three games over the first 14 days of the NHL season, the decision will benefit Chytil in the long run.

The Wolf Pack begin their season on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Chytil will be in their opening lineup. This is not an unusual process for a young player.

This Rangers team is filled with some great young players and Chytil will soon again be part of the equation. The organization has a plan they hope will be successful so he can find his game with that hopefully find his way back to Broadway in the near future.

Quinn and the rest of the coaching staff don’t believe this move is detrimental to the growth of Filip Chytil. In fact, they believe the exact opposite. They believe that the AHL is the right place for him to get the direction he needs to improve his game.

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