Rangers rookie Will Cuylle getting comfortable in elevated role

New York Rangers left wing Will Cuylle (50) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers right winger Will Cuylle is getting situated on the team, and a recent promotion in practice is giving him all the more confidence as his 2023 season wears on.

Should the Rangers Feel Encouraged With Will Cuylle’s Comfortability in Elevated Role?

Per Vincent C. Mercogliano of Lohud.com, Cuylle had this to say regarding the level of internal and external pressure he feels at this juncture of the season:

“I feel like I belong,” Cuylle said after Monday’s practice at the MSG Training Center. “I feel like I can just focus on playing my game. Last year, it was like, ‘Don’t mess up. Don’t make a mistake,’ whereas now, it’s more like, ‘Make an impact on this game. … Be a difference maker out there.’

Shortly after making those remarks, Cuylle was inserted into the first line in Tuesday’s practice in place of starting right winger Blake Wheeler.

The Rangers have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and their goal-scoring has taken a hit as a result. Though they’ve won four of their last five by a margin of three goals or better, they have not been able to execute in tight games down the stretch, as three of their five losses have come within one point.

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Rangers HC Peter Laviolette Needs Production From Cuylle With Team in a Slump

Cuylle, the 60th pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, now has a potential opportunity to get more time on the ice with a string of injuries to key offensive weapons including C Filip Chytil and Mika Zibanejad, the latter of which accounts for 39 of their points on the year.

Of his seven goals and four assists on the season, two of which have come in his last three appearances in each category. Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette will look to Cuylle for support and help his young talent get his skates under him more with big hopes for his short and long-term future with the franchise.