After a four-game losing streak, the Rangers managed to get a point against the Coyotes before losing in OT.
The Rangers are struggling to find their groove this season, having dropped five straight games in a row now. They picked up one point against the Coyotes last night before losing in OT. Quinn has been shuffling the lines around quite a bit to try and generate chemistry but has had no luck so far. One of the biggest offensive issue Quinn and the Rangers have been trying to tackle is the lack of center depth. This begs the question: is it time for Filip Chytil to return to the NHL?
Chytil has been playing great with the Wolf Pack so far. Currently, Chytil leads the team in points with eight points in six games. He’s also had at least one point in the last 5 consecutive games. This elevated level of the play shows that Chytil has been handling his demotion maturely and has committed working on his game. So far, the results have been impressive. Though the Wolf Pack has only played a few games, Chytil has differentiated himself from the crowd and must at least be close to proving his readiness to David Quinn.
Quinn also knows that the lines aren’t working right now. He’s shuffled them around the last three games, trying to spark some offense. In this most recent game against the Coyotes, he made the puzzling move of putting Fast on the top line with Panarin and Zibanejad. This put Kreider back on the second line with Howden and Kakko and saw Buchnevich on the third with Strome and Lemieux.
Quinn’s decision here was notable since he previously wanted to give Buchnevich a good look at the first line. However, Buchnevich has been steadily dropping in the lineup as of late.
Is Quinn merely trying to better distribute offense, or has his opinion of Buchnevich changed?
Lastly, McKegg was back in the lineup with Smith on a fourth line centered by Andresson. The Rangers’ difficulties at center are particularly evident in these lines. Howden has struggled to fill the 2C role, but putting Strome back in that spot isn’t an answer either since Strome’s play has improved after he moved down a line.
If the Rangers call up Chytil, he could give them a lot more room to maneuver at the center.
Quinn could try plugging him into the 2C spot leaving Andersson at 4C and shift Howden or Strome to the wing. Having Chytil fill the 2C role if he’s called up seems to make the most sense as neither Howden or Strome have succeeded in that spot, and Quinn is oddly reluctant to move Andersson off the fourth line. Letting Andersson have a crack at 2C while Chytil plays 3C to adjust also seems like a sensible option, but given how Andersson has only played an average of 9:43 these past five games, it feels unlikely. Andersson’s game hasn’t been much better or worse than anyone else’s these past few games, so you have to wonder what it would take for Quinn to move him up the lineup.
Though Chytil’s presence won’t magically fix the offense situation all on its own, a call up could be a much-needed piece of the puzzle for the Rangers. Their lack of center depth combined with Quinn’s odd reluctance to move Andersson up the depth chart leaves them with limited options to adjust the lineup.
Adding Chytil to the roster would let the Rangers make meaningful change and might help get some offense going. If Quinn isn’t thinking about calling Chytil up now, when would he?
Featured Image: Paul J. Bereswill