Chytil sustained the upper-body injury in a Nov. 2 game against the Hurricanes in a collision with opposing winger Jesper Fast and has not played since. The 24-year-old had recently returned to practice with the Rangers after spending a portion of his rehab process skating in his native Czechia.
It’s a tough blow for a young pivot looking to build on his breakout 2022-23 campaign. The 2017 first-round pick posted career-highs across the board last year with 22 goals, 23 assists, 45 points, and a +15 rating.
Chytil’s $4.44MM cap hit will remain on long-term injured reserve for the rest of the season. They haven’t dipped much into their LTIR pool for relief, so they’ll likely have around that figure to spend on added salaries at the March 8 trade deadline. Through 10 games this season, Chytil had six assists with a spectacular 59.1% Corsi share at even strength while getting an extended look in the top six for the first time in his career.
Most of that cap space will likely go toward finding a replacement for Chytil down the middle. AHL call-up Jonny Brodzinski has performed admirably in a third-line role, producing 11 points in 30 games with positive possession metrics, but a team with Stanley Cup aspirations will want a more tested performer behind Vincent Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad at center. Brodzinski’s services would be ideal on the fourth line, which hasn’t seen a solid option in the middle this season. Nick Bonino was recently waived and assigned to AHL Hartford, while Barclay Goodrow has struggled heavily with only one goal in 47 games and negative defensive impacts.
The Rangers hope the extended time off can permit Chytil to focus fully on his rehab and aid him in returning to NHL play for the 2024-25 campaign. PHR sends its best wishes to Chytil as he continues in his recovery.