The New York Rangers have taken care of a little restricted free agent business, signing Filip Chytil to a two-year contract. Chytil was not eligible for salary arbitration. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the contract will carry an average annual value of $2.3MM.
Now several years into his NHL career, Chytil has become a valuable part of the Rangers forward group even if his offensive production still hasn’t quite risen to expected levels. He registered eight goals and 22 points in 42 games this season while playing just over 13 minutes a night, mostly alongside young wingers Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere. That trio, who are all 21-or-under, are an extremely important part of the future in New York but will all be expected to take a step forward this season.
In Chytil’s case specifically, the Rangers were not comfortable using him on the powerplay this season, which obviously limits his offensive potential. With Pavel Buchnevich gone, there may be more opportunity with the man-advantage, though it of course may not all go to Chytil. There is also the addition of a more traditional bottom-six option in Barclay Goodrow, one that may be able to take on heavy defensive minutes and allow players like Chytil to feast on weaker competition.
At the end of this contract Chytil will still be a restricted free agent, but will also be arbitration-eligible. If he wants to cash in on a big-money deal, he’ll have to put up improved scoring stats over the next two seasons. Still just 21, the first-round pick certainly has the talent to be a legitimate middle-six contributor. Now he just has to prove he can do it on a consistent basis.
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