The New York Rangers announced that forward Filip Chytil and defender Ryan Lindgren have been recalled from their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Coming off a three-game weekend, both call-ups will have a slightly easier workload this week as the Rangers play one game fewer than the Wolf Pack. There is more playing opportunity next week, though, as the Wolf Pack are off for a week after Saturday’s game, while the Rangers play Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
OFFICIAL: Rangers have recalled Filip Chytil, Ryan Lindgren from @WolfPackAHL.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 28, 2019
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Chytil was slated to center the Rangers’ second line to open the 2019-20 season, but after a lackluster preseason, was demoted to Hartford to start the year. While second line center to the AHL is quite the drop, it seemed like the Rangers were both trying to send him a message after training camp and ensure top-six minutes. In nine games with the Wolf Pack, Chytil tallied three goals and six assists for nine points.
Filip Chytil with the setup to Phil di Giuseppe in OT. Hartford comes back from 3-1 down to win.— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) October 20, 2019
Excluding an empty netter, Chytil has two goals and five assists in 6 AHL games. pic.twitter.com/bbmxhlVrdi
The center’s time in Hartford was his second stint; in 2017-18, after just two games at the NHL level, he was sent down instead of returning to the Czech Republic. Through his first 46 games in the AHL, he netted 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points.
The timing of this call up isn’t surprising. As Adam Herman noted, Chytil’s taken his demotion in stride and thrived in Hartford to open the year; his progression shows his readiness to take on the role of second-line center. With Chytil in the AHL, Ryan Strome and Brett Howden have rotated in that role, and generally, neither have been fitting enough to balance out a top-six that’s had their struggles.
Another reason why this promotion is happening now is an injury to first-line center Mika Zibanejad, which puts a spotlight on their lack of center depth at the NHL level in the bottom-nine. Zibanejad left last night’s game against the Boston Bruins after a reverse hit from Patrice Bergeron. While it’s been reported that the Rangers’ leading center did not sustain a concussion, the pivot is still listed as day-to-day. Even if Zibanejad is ready to play in the next few Rangers’ games, there’s certainly room for Chytil in the lineup — and he’s earned the opportunity to show why he deserves it.
Here's two angles on the hit Zibanejad took in the first (1/2) pic.twitter.com/GMe4xVy5UB— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 28, 2019
As for Ryan Lindgren, there doesn’t appear to be an injury that creates room for him in the lineup. However, with the Rangers’ defensive deficiencies in mind, there is room for some changes on the blue line. The left-handed shutdown defender has one goal and one assist so far in Hartford, and has gotten off to a solid start.
Acquired as a part of the return from the Bruins’ in the Rick Nash trade, Lindgren has spent the majority of his Rangers’ career to this point with the Wolf Pack. He has just five games of NHL experience in New York, all of which came last year, and weren’t particularly inspiring. But with his growth in mind, and the Rangers’ need to tighten up defensively, it’s an interesting time to bring back the 21 year old back. The only question now is which defender is out of the lineup.