Rangers’ Peter Laviolette praises Will Cuylle’s work ethic after rookie sneaks his way onto the team

New York Rangers left wing Will Cuylle (50) skates up ice against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will surprisingly be featuring one of their top prospects this year when the regular season begins Thursday night. Will Cuylle put on a dominant performance throughout training camp and preseason, forcing the Rangers’ hand and working his way into the NHL lineup.

This effort by Cuylle earned him the 2023 Lars-Erik Sjoberg award as the best rookie in training camp. It was no easy task, but the young prospect will now have the chance to prove himself with the Rangers. The fans, the players, and the coaching staff are all eager to see what potential Cuylle brings to the table.

Laviolette says offense propelled Cuylle onto the Rangers

What made Cuylle stand out as an NHL-worthy player was how noticeable he was in the offensive zone. During preseason, he tied for the team lead in goals, points, and shots in five games played. Cuylle’s abilities shined bright enough for him to make the Rangers, and head coach Peter Laviolette had much praise for his skills.

“I liked his speed; I liked his physicality. He generated a lot of offense. He scored goals, he put pucks to the net. He could have scored a few more. He’s a big presence out there, so he did a lot of things, and he did them consistently through camp. He earned himself this opportunity.”

Peter Laviolette via NHL.com

With such high praise from the head coach, it’s assumed that Cuylle will be receiving a high amount of ice time. The final lineup for opening night is still not set in stone, but a top-six role may still be available if he continues to excel in practice. Alexis Lafreniere had a disappointing preseason, so that coveted second-line right wing position may still be up for grabs.

How will Cuylle perform this season?

The expectations for Cuylle are set very high coming into the 2023-24 season. There were other talented prospects such as Brennan Othmann who made a case for the Rangers’ roster, but Cuylle was ultimately chosen as the sole rookie to make the cut.

Depending on where Laviolette decides to place Cuylle, it’s possible that he could land in either the top or bottom six. There is still room on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck, but there are a handful of players still reaching for that spot.

A third-line role seems like the most probable outcome for the start of the season, likely alongside Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler. Both are talented players who could help Cuylle elevate his game, and the Rangers should see some immediate production from such a talented offensive forward.

Cuylle has already played in four NHL games, and although he went scoreless in each, that should change rather quickly. Depending on how much ice time he receives and which line he is on, there should hopefully be an immediate breakout campaign from Cuylle in 2023-24.

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