The Rangers sure had a mixed day, going from skill to brawn. In the afternoon, they re-signed Filip Chytil to a two-year deal for a reasonable $2.3 million AAV. Late in the evening, GM James Dolan, I mean Glen Sather, I mean Chris Drury inexplicably dealt a 2022 third round pick to Vegas for a Gerard Gallant favorite in Ryan Reaves.
Larry Brooks did a nice job below of laying out what Chytil is and what he can become. He is a 21 year old who is still developing. Chytil looked like he had started to figure it out the first few games last season before he broke his hand and then contracted COVID. After returning, he was not the same, but for all we know the aftereffects impacted him the rest of the way.
I don't know if Chytil will be a 2C or not. To me, he still profiles as a wing, especially seeing his struggles between the dots. But the upside is still tangible and he warrants a spot in the top-nine. Where remains to be seen, plus, there is a decent possibility he fulfills his potential in Buffalo. But you don't just give up on young talent.
It would be a shame for the Rangers to move on from Chytil, the 21-year-old, 21st-overall selection of the 2017 entry draft, without getting more of an indication of the Czech’s upside. He’s big and getting bigger (6-foot-2 and 206 pounds a year ago), and he has plus-skating ability.
Chytil’s skill set, at least at this point, does not include the ability to distribute the puck as a center or, from that perspective, to make his linemates better. He seems to be more suited to NHL life as a power winger, using his size, strength and skating to get to the front of the net from the wall.
Chytil’s blend of size, skill and skating ability would seem to be a perfect fit for incoming head coach Gerard Gallant’s system, under which the Rangers will be expected to play fast on both sides of the puck. If a player doesn’t track back with as much effort and energy as he leans forward with, that player will be on the bench.
Can Chytil break into the top six on the wing instead of playing on the third line, either at center or on the flank, with Barclay Goodrow? Isn’t playing him on the wing on the top six a better use of Chytil’s talents than riding on a checking unit?
Chytil's underlying numbers have been encouraging. The Rangers averaged 3.09 goals per 60 minutes with him on the ice at even strength last season while allowing an average of 1.96. He ranked sixth among NHL centers (min. 20 games played) in points per 60 at five-on-five with an average of 2.6, trailing only Connor McDavid, Jason Spezza, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon and Leon Draisaitl
Why? why? Why? Why? I wish I could stop there, but seriously, why? Did Tom Wilson break this team's spirit so badly that the only additions they could make was toughness, which in this case has no regard for skill. Plus to take on Reaves, they surrendered a third-round pick and assumed $1.75 million in salary.
Great, so he will play the first game against the Caps, which would be even more ironic if Wilson didn't play for whatever reason, and then want? Gallant got his guy, yay. The Rangers added another tough guy to the fourth line who will take up a roster spot and has very mild value, as seen below.
Give me Sammy Blais in that spot, though he might line up on the other side of Reaves. Play Dryden Hunt, who can more than fight. Is Morgan Barron now back in Hartford? Sign Nick Ritchie for a blend of some offense with physical skill. But for the love of all that is holy, why add a 35-year old whose game can no longer keep pace with the current NHL? Do we also think that Reaves will be a deterrent to Wilson and is that worth playing him 8-10 minutes a game? There is value to the physical component of the game, but I'm unsure he will truly intimate the opponent enough to warrant giving a third rounder, which is the piece that really bothers me. Give up a fifth or maybe the fourth you got from Vegas for Brett Howden, but a third, really?
LAF Zib Kakko
Panarin Strome Kravtsov
Kreider Goodrow Chytil
Blais Rooney Reaves
As Mercogliano pointed out, Reaves is under contract for one more season at a cap charge of $1.75 million. Assuming he makes the 23-man roster over a sub-$1 million forward such as Greg McKegg or Julien Gauthier, his addition plus the re-signing of Chytil lowers the Rangers' remaining cap space to approximately $12 million (which takes into account performance bonuses for the kids). The team still needs to re-sign Igor Sheshterkin, which could eat up north of $5 million in salary.
I really miss JD and Jeff Gorton. They both knew they had to get tougher, not become a caste system between the first two lines and the bottom six. We railed last year at times that the bottom-six didn't contribute enough. If the kids don't take a major step forward, where is the supplemental scoring coming from? In addition, as I have noted before, why can't you have a third line with skill and a physical component? Play Chytil, Kreider and maybe Goodrow together, though, as noted before, I wish Buch was still here. Add Ricthie and play him on that line with Goodrow on the fourth line with Blais and Rooney or Barron. I hope to be proven 100% wrong and Reaves' addition is an unsung component of the team's success. Just have the feeling hat won't be the case.
The Rangers have now morphed into the Broadway Bullies. Hope they are happy with the moniker. Tell Glen Sather to light up another one of his stogies with the cash they are burning.