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2022 Report Card: Filip Chytil

A strong playoff run salvaged what was an up and down season, and showed fans a glimpse of what he can be at his best.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game One Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Expectations

This was supposed to be Filip Chytil’s year, a campaign in which the New York Rangers pivot would finally actualize his potential. Heading into 2021-22, Chytil had a track record of improving year over year. As a 19-year-old he tallied 23 points in 75 games. A year later he reached the same plateau in 15 fewer games played. And during a COVID shortened 2020-21 season, in which Chytil was once again impacted by injuries, saw him tally 22 points in 42 games (0.52 P/GP). With his history, age, and potential in mind, there was a belief that Chytil could show why he should be the successor to Ryan Strome, and help the Rangers alleviate a potential cap crunch issue by promoting an internal candidate.

Performance

The sample size was small, but an important enough one given the circumstances, but Chytil’s performance in the playoffs is what saved him from getting an average grade. In a display of ‘consistency’, Chytil once again ended the regular season with 8 goals, 14 assists, and 22 points. The only issue is that what he previously accomplished in 42 games took him 67, and it was a case of him being a tad snake bitten as a player.

Per Evolving-Hockey’s line tool, Chytil primarily spent his season on a line with Alexis Lafrenière and Julien Gauthier, and statistically it was a line that did everything but finish. The line had an xGF% of 59.76, a CF% of 50.34, but a paltry GF% of 31.25. The line ranked second overall in xGF%, 6th in CF%, and 11th in GF% of the 12 lines that spent at least 100 minutes together at 5v5.

Chytil and Lafrenière also spent 119 minutes at 5v5 on another line which included Barclay Goodrow, and those results were a bit of a mixed bag. The results include an xGF% of 40.67, a CF% of 49.83, and a GF% of 48.25, also courtesy of Evolving-Hockey.

In terms of Evolving-Hockey’s Above Replacement metrics, Chytil took a considerable step back going from a 5.2 GAR in 2020-21 to a 1.6 in 2021-22. The results are even more stark when you look at his player card, but as I mentioned above, the process was mostly good while the results were lacking. But in a pro league like the NHL, you get paid for what you do, and for someone like Chytil that’s going to become a lot more important this season.

Setbacks happen, and development is a process that involves twists and turns, and for me it is important that Chytil ended the season playing some of his best hockey against quality competition, and thrived in ways other players didn’t. He was a visible player showcasing the physical tools he has, he often made good reads to get things going, and the numbers very impressive.

In 20 playoff games, Chytil led all skaters with a 52.26 xGF, a 53.24 CF%, and was fourth with a 54.82 GF%. He was third in team goal scoring with 7 goals, and finished seventh with 9 points.

One of the most memorable moments came when Chytil scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning on a play that fans have dubbed “the shift”, and it was a very promising moment early on which showcased what could be possible in the future with all the kids playing up to potential.

Grade: B | Banter Consensus: B

Personally this is a case where you can look at the regular season being in the C range, and the playoffs being an A. You can quibble about whether the B should be a B-, but we are in August and if that something that you are really up in arms about... I don’t know what to tell you.

Chytil’s future is a big unknown at this point given the fact that Vincent Trocheck was signed to a seven-year deal to replace Strome as the No. 2 center. Next season Chytil is an RFA, and it remains to be seen if he will be a super No. 3 C, a winger in some capacity, or maybe even an asset in a trade. But the fact remains that there’s a lot of potential, and he showcased his ability to be a big game player.

Was it disappointing when he was struggling and playing under 10 minutes again, like a 9:21 outing in a shootout loss vs. the Detroit Red Wings? Yes... yes it was. This is just one example, but there were others you can probably remember or lookup if you are so inclined.

But I don’t need to tell you all what he just showcased against a strong Carolina Hurricanes squad, a Tampa Bay team that had won two Stanley Cups in a row, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His performance in those games, against superior competition with high-leverage stakes, matters more to me. We’ve seen quite a fair share of players come to New York, kill it in the regular season, and fade away when it matters most. Chytil was able to elevate his game to meet the moment, and he came through in some key spots.

This season will be Chytil’s fifth full season as an NHL veteran, and he turns 23 in September. It is hard to comprehend that he’s already played 253 games (the third most of the 2017 draft class), but I think sometimes we fail to remember that Chytil was just 10 days away from being eligible for the 2018 draft instead.

I think there’s a lot of belief in Chytil, rightly so, but this essentially is going to be a make or break year. Whether it is because on his performance, team finances, or just asset management remains to be seen.