Filip Chytil is one of the most important New York Rangers roster members heading into the 2022-23 season. With the season that the Czech center is coming off, he will be pressured to continue that development. Chytil had 22 goals and 23 assists for 45 points in 74 games. While that’s not quite the 64 Trocheck had or the 92 Zibanejad put up, it’s a strong total for the 24-year-old.
There will be more pressure on him this season because of his new deal. Chytil is making $4.4375 million against the cap for the next four seasons. If they are going to see this be a good deal, Chytil has to continue to put up the stat line he did last season. If he regresses back to a 25-point center, this deal will age awfully. But, forget the deal. Chytil proved last year he’s more than capable of producing.
Chytil will be important because he is the Rangers’ strongest player in the bottom six. He will be essential to breaking up defensive units. How many teams have the blueline depth to cope with a 1-2-3 center punch of Zibanejad, Trocheck, and Chytil? Carolina and maybe Colorado? It’s going to cause a lot of problems for whoever is tasked with shutting down such a strong center core.
Under Gerard Gallant, Chytil wasn’t trusted in a top-six role. We could see that change under Laviolette, who has shown a willingness to put young players in bigger roles if they can show that they deserve to be there. If Chytil was to slide into the top six, let’s say between Blake Wheeler and Artemi Panarin, he’ll need to take advantage of the chances he gets. They won’t come often with the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
Another 20-goal, 45-point season would probably be considered a success for Chytil. However, if he was able to get over the 25-goal mark and edge towards 30, and perhaps cross the 50-point plateau, the Rangers would then have the ability to flex Trocheck to the wing and improve their top six with player development, which is going to be essential given what the roster lost this summer.