When the Rangers visit the Sabres tonight in Western New York, Filip Chytil will not be in the lineup. The talented 19-year old rookie who’s played in 55 of the team’s 56 games, is a healthy scratch.
For whatever reason only known to disciplinarian David Quinn, Chytil finds himself as the latest victim of the Quinn Bin. At this point of the season, it’s hard to understand why. Even if the first-year coach is right about the 2017 first round pick.
It is true that his play has slipped. He hasn’t been as engaged recently. However, I don’t see the point in having him sit out for AHL recall Connor Brickley. A 26-year old journeyman who’s totaled 17 points and 33 penalty minutes in 67 career NHL games with the Panthers.
It doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the development or lack there of at the Siberia of the AHL, Hartford. Quinn gave Vinni Lettieri two games of which be barely played on the fourth line before going back to the ugly 11 forwards, seven defensemen lineup that hasn’t been successful. 2017 first round pick Lias Andersson is struggling since being sent back down to the Wolf Pack. Maybe he’s frustrated with the situation. It’s not good.
On the season, Chytil has 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points. He’s shown flashes of brilliance highlighted by a pair of beautiful rushes that resulted in identical goals against the Bruins and Blackhawks. He barely played the other night at Winnipeg, receiving a inexplicable nine shifts with just over six minutes of ice time.
Well, if the plan is to bury him on the fourth line after he was in the top nine, showing chemistry with Kevin Hayes, then he may as well watch from the press box. Even if I disagree with it, I don’t want to hardly see Chytil get shifts in Game 57 of 82 in Buffalo. It’s counterproductive.
I don’t particularly care for the seven D rotation. Outside of Brady Skjei, whose play has steadied since being teamed with Adam McQuaid, it frustrates me that Tony DeAngelo makes one mistake and he’s replaced by Neal Pionk on the top pair with Marc Staal when they’re not as effective at five-on-five. DeAngelo needs to play with Staal. Pionk isn’t as talented and has done nothing since mid-December. DeAngelo is steadier, stronger and more skilled.
Watching the veteran tandem of Brendan Smith and Kevin Shattenkirk is like watching Staal when Alain Vigneault had him mismatched with Nick Holden. How many mistakes are the overpaid tandem allowed to make? It’s bad enough Shattenkirk has thirteen points and a ugly minus-13 rating for the money he’s making. Both are slow in reacting and are an eye sore. Hopefully, this experiment ends soon when Fredrik Claesson returns. That’s how dire the D situation is.
Following tonight, the Blueshirts visit Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Then conclude the four-game road trip at Carolina on Tuesday. Hopefully, Chytil will respond well to the benching and get back to earning more ice time.