When the Rangers made their selections in the first round of the 2017 draft the consensus was that the team went safe by picking Lias Andersson at No. 7, and went a little off the board grabbing Filip Chytil at No. 21 because Chytil was one of the youngest prospects in the draft and didn’t have as much name recognition.
Thus far the Rangers are looking pretty smart after nabbing the then 17-year-old prospect, as he’s played very well post-draft and his stock has risen significantly. Chytil stood out in prospects camp, main camp and scored a pretty sweet goal in the preseason before he was ultimately assigned to the AHL.
Chytil has played well for the Wolf Pack and is up to 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in 19 games played. This equates to a points per game average of 0.68 which is best among AHL players under age 20. Some of his U20 peers include Klim Kostin (St. Louis Blues), Alexander Nylander (Buffalo Sabres), Jesse Puljujärvi (Edmonton Oilers) and Tyson Jost (Colorado Avalanche).
Corey Pronman of The Athletic, formerly of ESPN, released his midseason top 50 NHL prospects list (paywall alert) and Chytil was listed as the 11th best prospect. Pronman’s prospect reports were one of the main reasons I had ESPN Insider, and his overall list for The Athletic did not disappoint.
Pronman cited Chytil’s speed, good puck handling ability and instincts giving him the ability to make high-level play versus men. His takeaway line read “He’s a playmaker with size who can be a reliable center and be a driving force for his team. That has a lot of value.”
Chytil certainly gained some extra attention after representing the Czech Republic at the WJC tournament, and finished with two goals and two assists in seven games.
Lias Andersson was listed as an honorable mention. Thus far he’s appeared in 22 games with Frolunda and has 14 points (seven goals and seven assists). He also captained the Swedish WJC team to a silver medal, and finished the tournament with six goals and an assist in seven games.
What was impressive about his performance was the fact he was playing with a significant shoulder injury, and still managed to contribute for his team.
NYR 1st round pick Lias Andersson, coming off WJC silver-medal (toss) performance for SWE, is in NYC rehabbing an injured shoulder. The SWE captain suffered a separated shoulder midway thru the WJC but played SF and gold medal game with it. Likely out to 2 to 4 weeks.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 10, 2018
Between that and the medal toss, the legend of Andersson as a hardened warrior not wanting to lose continues to grow. This is not to say he doesn’t have skill, he is just not as flashy.
Overall the Rangers are in good shape with Chytil at 11, and Andersson as an honorable mention. Chytil’s flashiness makes him stand out a little bit more, but there’s reason to believe both prospects will impact the franchise in a positive way very soon.
There should not be a negative connotation with the No. 7 pick being an honorable mention and the No. 21 pick being listed as the 11th best prospect. Both are still young and developing, and represent the future of the Rangers.
Igor Shestyorkin was also listed as the No. 4 goalie prospect, as Pronman did a top five look at goaltenders. He was described as a very entertaining goalie to watch and one that has put up monster numbers for SKA. Igor is 18-3-3, 1.78 GAA and .931 sv percentage in 24 games played this season.
Kudos to Andersson, Chytil and Shestyorkin for the recognition.
A previous version of this article read: There should be a negative connotation with the No. 7 pick being an honorable mention and the No. 21 pick being listed as the 11th best prospect.
It should have read, There should NOT be negative connotation with the No. 7 pick being an honorable mention and the No. 21 pick being listed as the 11th best prospect.