Rangers: Where will Filip Chytil fit in upon return from injury?

New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

It has been two months since New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil went down with an apparent concussion on November 2nd, 2023. After sustaining the injury, Chytil was replaced by Vincent Trocheck on the second line. Trocheck has been lights out in his return to the top six, earning himself a nod to the upcoming All-Star game. But with Chytil’s return seemingly on the near horizon, the Blueshirts must find him a new home in the lineup.

Filip Chytil is back skating with the team

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported earlier this week that Chytil was en route back to the US and the New York Rangers.

On Wednesday, Chytil officially made his return to New York. At the Rangers’ morning skate, Chytil was seen practicing with the team in a red non-contact jersey. The 24-year-old did some drills on his own but also took place in some with the team, rotating in with Will Cuylle and Kaapo Kakko.

Head coach Peter Laviolette had this to say about Chytil’s return:

“It’s day one, and so he’s starting up the process of working up to speed,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “It was good to have him out there.”

via Vince Z. Mercogliano of lohud.com

Where will Chytil fit into the Rangers’ lineup?

With Artemi Panarin, Alexis Lafreniere, and Trocheck all playing well together since they became a line, it is almost a certainty that Chytil won’t return to his 2C role.

Yesterday at practice, Laviolette made adjustments to the Rangers’ lineup.

Blake Wheeler was slotted back up to the first line, and Kakko was moved back down to the third with Cuylle and Jonny Brdozinski. It can be assumed that Laviolette made this decision because this is where Chytil will be once he returns from injury.

Chytil returning to the third line solves a problem the Rangers have had for most of the year: depth scoring. As a play-driving center, he will hopefully help give the team three scoring lines going into the playoffs.

The return will also allow GM Chris Drury to focus on acquiring a 1RW instead of both.

Once the team deems Chytil is ready to get back into game action, the lines should look something like this:

  • Kreider-Zibanejad-Trade (or Wheeler)
  • Panarin-Trocheck-Lafrenière
  • Cuylle-Chytil-Kakko
  • Vesey-Goodrow-Pitlick
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