Filip Chytil loved being a part of the New York Rangers for five seasons and will be one for five more. Last week, GM Chris Druy announced the team had agreed to a four-year $17.5 million extension with the 23-year-old center, a deal that will keep him in the Big Apple through the 2026-27 season. The move delighted the Blueshirts faithful, who lauded the front office for getting an offseason priority wrapped up early with $12.3 million left to spare in Summer cap space. To celebrate the transaction, I’ve compiled a list of the best fan reactions from Blue Line Station readers. Suppose you made it in here; congratulations. For those who didn’t, there’s always the next edition.
Comment: “Not sure I love the timing of this; some guys tend to play tight immediately after signing a new deal, and that would be a disaster for the Rangers if Chytil is one of those guys, but I like the value. Let’s hope it does not weigh on his play; maybe it will have the opposite effect and energize him even more-“John R.
Answer: I understand your concerns, John, and you can argue that most players’ performance dips immediately after agreeing to long-term deals. However, I don’t think Chytil will be affected negatively by the new contract because, as he said in his acceptance press conference, “I wasn’t thinking about it.” This security blanket should only energize him as the playoffs approach.
Comment: “Excellent signing and a fair deal for both sides. You cannot kill the Rangers because the league has a cap problem. That is common to the Rangers; all teams deal with a lack of growth in the cap. Somewhere somehow, you figure out a way to make it work.” –L Train67
Answer: The cap may go up four years from now, giving the Rangers more wiggle room. It’s been debated on this site before what the price for Chytil would be, but the $4.375 million is less than double his $2.3 million AAV from his previous contract, so this is seen as a win for both the front office and the player.
Comment: “It’s good to get this done now; it gives you a better picture of your salary cap situation, and you don’t have to worry about arbitration. Now the decision comes to Miller, long or short term. If it’s the short term, you can fit one of Kane or Sanko under the cap.” –David Wood
Answer: It’s my personal opinion that one of either Patrick Kane or Vladimir Tarasenko will walk in free agency, especially considering K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere must be locked up this summer too. If forced to pick one, Tarasenko would be my choice due to his strong play since being traded here, while Kane has primarily been a non-factor thus far.
By short-term, do you mean a two-year bridge deal similar to what Kakko received last offseason? If so, that’s unrealistic for Miller, considering the defenseman’s offensive numbers are nearly identical to what Chytil has posted this season.
Comment: “It took Chytil a few NHL years, but he has finally found his confidence and groove. He is still young at age 23 and has many years of hockey ahead. He’s earned a new contract. We wish him the best, and I’d like to see the entire kid line stay together.”-Dlagrua
Answer: It didn’t come easy for Chytil, who now looks like one of the steals of the 2017 draft class. There wasn’t much excitement around him at 21st overall, but he received his Broadway call at the beginning of the rebuild towards the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season. Although he began the 2019-20 season in Hartford following an underwhelming 2018-19 season, the center would quickly earn his return to the big club with nine points in nine games and hasn’t looked back.
Until this season, Chytil had hovered around 23 points due to injuries and inconsistencies in his play, but his career-high 22 gold and 45 points in 72 games this season made retaining him a no-brainer. While he’s 23 and does have an abundance of hockey ahead of him, I don’t believe he’ll become a superstar. Still, he can remain vital to contending teams like these Blueshirts by being an effective 2nd/3rd line center in all three zones.
If he can improve his 40.1% career-winning percentage at the dot, it’ll make this deal even better.
Comment: “When you sign some veterans to top-end contracts and enough of your kids become PLAYERS, there is no way in a complex salary cap business you can afford to keep everybody.”-Alan from Queens
Answer: Alan, there undoubtedly will be some tough calls to make this Summer, Alan, due to the limited cap space. However, Chytil was never considered one of them. He’s established himself as an offensive force on the kid line with Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere and deserves to remain a New York Ranger for the foreseeable future.