The New York Rangers called up their top 2017 draft picks, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil yesterday. Chytil spent the majority of his season with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Andersson split his time with the Wolf Pack and Sweden’s Frolunda HC.
Rangers Call Up Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil
Andersson and Chytil were the talks of Rangers training camp, both hoping to fill the aching absence of Derek Stepan. However, when Chytil made the team he didn’t last long on Broadway. Now, as the Rangers playoff hopes dwindle into nothingness, management is ready to showcase these young guns. Both centers called up from Hartford yesterday will take the ice tonight as the Rangers host the Washington Capitals. Chytil reportedly will center Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. Andersson will center Jimmy Vesey and Ryan Spooner. With big names on their flanks, let’s take a deeper look at the young kids hitting MSG tonight.
Andersson drew mixed reactions when he was selected seventh overall last summer in the 2017 NHL Draft. At 5’11” and just under 200 pounds, the young Swedish center caught the eye of the Rangers thanks to his family ties and undeniable hockey sense. The Swede is known for his leadership, determination, hard shot, and impressive stick handling. Andersson made headlines, well after being drafted, as captain of Sweden’s World Junior team.
After dropping to Canada in the final, Andersson bowed his head in tears to accept his silver medal. Moments later, he chucked it into the stands to an unassuming fan, signaling he wasn’t playing for second. While one could make a Talladega Nights reference here, Andersson’s action speaks towards a leadership quality the Rangers have been sorely lacking. That quality is a deep passion for success. Mark Messier played with that same cocky determination, exemplified in his famous guarantee. The Rangers former captain, Ryan McDonagh, did not contain this fervent passion to win. Perhaps that’s why he’s no longer wearing the red, white and blue. Andersson’s action, while drastic, exemplified the dedication and sacrifice of a professional athlete. The Rangers could use that rejuvenating spirit.
Swedish Development and Wolf Pack Arrival
19-year-old Andersson, sent back to Sweden after joining the Rangers in training camp, had a fantastic season. Playing with Henrik Lundqvist‘s twin brother, Joel Lundqvist, Andersson earned 14 points in 22 games in the form of seven goals and seven assists. His development in the SHL was determined crucial by Rangers management in order to have Andersson play at the NHL level in a timely manner.
The grind of the NHL’s 82 game season surprises many new players. While chomping at the bit to fit into their dream league, they can burn out and ultimately injure themselves. The physical strain of back-to-back games and constant travel can take a toll. Sending Andersson to Frolunda was a necessary move, though, especially considering he has plenty of years left to mature on the NHL level.
Andersson arrived on Jan. 19th to the Hartford Wolf Pack, while rehabbing from a shoulder injury. He earned 14 points in 24 games with the Wolf Pack. He earned his first AHL point by way of a secondary assist on Jan. 24th in Hartford’s overtime win over Utica.
Chytil, selected 21st overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, continuously wowed in Hartford this season. However, there was a brief moment where it looked like Chytil would play with the big boys right off the bat. His performance in training camp was impressive, including a thrilling overtime winner against the New Jersey Devils. Chytil also earned the 2017 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award. This accolade is given to the best-performing player in training camp, as selected by the media.
However, despite early success, Chytil’s presence on the Rangers roster was short-lived. Chytil played only 7:40 in the Rangers home opener against the Colorado Avalanche. In his next game, Chytil played under five minutes against the Toronto Maple Leafs, then departed New York for to Connecticut. One could blame Alain Vigneault‘s lack of finesse when it comes to trusting youthful players, but in truth, Chytil was just too young.
Chytil Shined With Wolf Pack
At only 18-years-old, the Czech-native is showing extreme maturity early in his professional career. With 31 points in 45 games, Chytil sits between Vinni Lettieri and Ryan Sproul in the standings, players who have both seen their fair share of Rangers ice time this season. Several injuries marred what could have been an even bigger breakout year for the youngster.
Most notably, Chytil suffered a cervical strain in a tilt against the Toronto Marlies on Dec. 2nd, 2017. He motivated himself to play in the World Junior Championship, though. Despite emerging without a medal, he continued expanding his competitive skill set. The United States dominated the Czech team in a 9-3 win to take home the bronze. Chytil’s presence on the Wolf Pack this season has cemented chemistry with his future teammates, as well as his current ones.
As the Rangers rebuild their roster, Chytil and Andersson’s young ages and burgeoning careers will serve as examples for those to come. Andersson’s leadership and determination will continue to serve his team well, perhaps even earning the ‘C’ one day. Chytil can only excel from where he has started. His skills could easily position him as a top center on Broadway.
Tonight, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil have their next Broadway audition and all of Rangerstown is ready to stand in applause.
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