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Rangers and Filip Chytil agree to a four-year, $17.75 million extension

March 30, 2023, 4:10 AM ET [300 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
On the day before their key meeting with the Devils, the Rangers and GM Chris Drury locked up a key member of the team. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Filip Chyil, the third longest tenured Rangers behind Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, signed a four-year contract. $17.75 lillion contract, buying out two years of arbitration rights and two years of free agency. Chytl was rewarded for his uptick and play and output, which started in last year's playoffs, while Drury inks a player for a better contract than we all expected to be the case.

Locking up Chytil provided New York enviable depth down the middle as he joins Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck as the team's top-three centermen. For years, we have bemoaned and questioned if the team has sufficient talent and depth at center. Now, that is no longer a concern. Given the projected narrowness of the 2023-24 cap, who will slot in as the fourth-line pivot remains to be seen, but the top-three is most certainly in place.

After scoring either 22 or 23 points each of the last four seasons, Chytil has taken a major step forward this year. That growth started in last season's playoffs, but he was just scratching the surface. Through 66 games, Chytil has already set career highs this season with 22 goals, 20 assists and 42 points. Part of that growth has been enabled by Chytil seeing an extra minute of ice time per game, as he is averaging 14:34 of ice time in 2022-23, which should increase over the course of his new deal

Coming off a two-year, $4.6 million deal, Chytil would have become a RFA with arb rights this summer if he hadn't inked this deal. The Czech native is the team's sixth-leading scorer, ranks fourth on the roster in goals and leads the team in shot creation. The 2017 first-round pick has 144 points in 342 NHL regular-season and playoff games.

Drury's next order of business is an extension for 2020 top pick Alexis Lafrenière and 2018 first round pick K'Andre Miller, each signed only through the remainder of this season and a restricted free agent thereafter. Signing Chytil, who's next step is to improve in the faceoff circle and strengthen his own zone play, to a relatively team-friendly deal is a win for Drury. Laf may come slightly cheaper, while Miller may be the tricky one, even though both are on their ELC.

Drury will have to balance whether he inks Miller to a short-term deal or tries to sign him to a long-term extension. That decision may come down to how high the cap rises and/or if someone on the current roster becomes a cap casualty. Right now,  Artemi Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider, Trocheck, Vincent, Kaapo Kakko, Barclay Goodrow, Chytil, Jimmy Vesey, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Ryan Lindgren, Braden Schneider, Ben Harpur and Igor Shesterkin are under contract for 2023-24. That list comprises 15 of the possible top-20 members of the team. As noted, Laf and Miller are pending restricted free agents. Patrick Kane, Vlad Tarasenko, Tyler Motte, Niko Mikkola and Jaroslav Halak are pending unrestricted free agents

As Larry Brooks noted, if, as anticipated, the cap increases by only $1 million to $83.5M next season, the Blueshirts theoretically will have approximately $12.375M in space to accommodate the signings of five forwards, two defensemen and a back-up goaltender. That includes re-upping Lafreniere and Miller, which might mean that someone like Goodrow could be moved to free up space. If the cap rises more than projected, which has been a topic of recent discussion, keeping the band together becomes a slightly more viable option.

Signing Chytil now removes one future challenge and keeps him in red, white and blue for the foreseeable future.

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