The physical health of New York Rangers Filip Chytil is more important than goals, assists, and anything else hockey-related.
On Sunday afternoon, the team released a statement letting the Ranger’s fan base and all of the NHL that the team is more concerned with the well-being of Chytil as a person than a hockey player.
A statement posted on all of the New York Rangers’ social media platforms confirmed what many believed would happen after Chytil suffered a setback last week: ” He will be out for the remainder of this season.”
This was Chytil’s fifth season in the NHL, all with the Blueshirts. The 24-year-old has only played in 10 games this season as he suffered the fourth concussion of his young career on November 2 in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Improving this team is now Chris Drury’s primary responsibility, and he has his work cut out for him.
Trade Deadline Needs
Despite a fast start to the season, the Rangers have had plenty of adversity on the ice throughout the season.
March 8th, 2024, is the NHL trade deadline. Simplified, that leaves Chris Drury 39 days to fine-tune this team before the final push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The needs of the team are no secret. The deficiencies at the right-wing position stand to be the biggest concern for Drury, which has lingered since last season.
Mika Zibanejad and Chris Drury have had many different players play right wing since training camp began in September. Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, Blake Wheeler, Will Cuylle, and Brendan Othmann have all taken a shot at trying to solidify themselves on the top line.
Wheeler and Kakko have most recently alternated between the top and third lines with Cuylle and John Brodzinki. None of the players mentioned have found the back of the net successfully.
With the departure of Chytil for the remainder of this season and possibly beyond, the team will need help at the center position. Zibanejad and All-Star Vincent Trocheck center the first two lines, respectively. Brodzinski has been centering the third line with Barclay Goodrow in the middle between Jimmy Vesey and Tytler Pitlick.
Drury would like to improve on the bottom six if possible, but it would be hard to make a significant impact at the center without giving up an NHL-caliber player, Lafreniere, Kakko, or Goodrow, to make a splash.
The blueline has also had its issues that need to be addressed. Ryan Lindgren has battled injuries throughout this season, missing the team’s last game on Saturday in Ottawa. K’Andre Miller has admittedly said he has not played his best hockey this season.
The defenseman has been guilty of poor giveaways on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice, resulting in goals against. His coverage on his own end of the ice has become suspect. With the injury to Lindgren and two-game suspension to captain Jacob Trouba, Peter Laviolette was forced to continue inviting him large amounts of time on ice.
Hopefully, the team’s eight-day break will help get Miller back on track.
For Drury, the most challenging part of his season has begun. 39 days to figure out how to add pieces to make this team a Stanley Cup contender. He has to figure out the balance of a salary cap with little wiggle room despite Chytil’s salary being placed on long-term injured reserve. He needs to address the right-wing center situation and improve the defense.
39 Days is not much time, yet Drury has pulled the rabbit out of the magician’s hat more times than not. Another trick or two will be needed if the Rangers want to make a deep playoff run.
Follow Frank on X at @RangerProud.