Should the Rangers demote Filip Chytil to the third line?

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

After breaking out during the 2022-23 season, New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil earned himself the 2C role to start the season. After starting the season hot with six points in 10 games (zero goals and six assists), Chytil was unfortunately concussed against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Vincent Trocheck stepped up and made an immediate impact centering Panarin and Lafrenière and has shown no signs of slowing down. With Trocheck’s recent success, it’s only certain Filip Chytil will come back to a 3C role.

Filip Chytil is out long-term with a concussion

Three weeks ago, in the Rangers’ 2–1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Filip Chytil and Jesper Fast of the Hurricanes collided on the ice. Chytil left and did not return back to the game with an apparent upper-body injury.

A few days later, the Rangers would place Chytil on injured reverse and fans would learn he suffered another concussion. In his seven-year tenure in New York, the 24-year-old center has had a history of concussions.

“Considering how many injuries and concussions Chytil has had over the course of his career, the longer the Czech center stays away from the ice, the more questions surrounding his long-term durability arise. “

via Mollie Walker of New York Post

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Stepping up to the plate, Vincent Trocheck

Vincent Trocheck came into the season as the 3C for the New York Rangers centering a defense-first line between Blake Wheeler and Will Cuylle. The 11-year veteran’s second season with the Rangers started off slow, only recording four points (one goal and three assists) in his first 10 games. Once Chytil went down against the Carolina Hurricanes, Trocheck was called back to his 2C role.

Head Coach Peter Laviolette had this to say about Trocheck:

“He fills so many valuable positions on our team,” the coach said. “I feel like he could jump over and play wing on the first line, or he can play center on a checking line. He’s just a real versatile player. Power play, one of the first guys out the door on the penalty kill, just his five-on-five minutes. He does a lot of things out there, and he does them really well.”

Via Vince Mercogliano of Lohud.com

Many fans were worried about how Trocheck would fit in with two skilled wingers such as Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafrenière, but he took the opportunity and ran. In the five games they’ve played with each other, the Panarin-Trocheck-Lafrenière line has combined for eight goals, 13 assists, for 21 points.

The 30-year-old would extend his point streak to six games with an early first-period powerplay goal in the Ranger 6–3 loss to the Dallas Stars.

What should the Rangers do once Chytil is back?

Once he does come back, Chytil will most likely center Will Cuylle and Kaapo Kakko on the third line in a newfound Kid Line. The mix of skill (Chytil and Kakko) along with grit (Cuylle) is a good combination.

It is evident that Chytil will not be returning to his 2C role when he comes back. Trocheck, Panarin, and Lafrenière have been by far the best line for the past three weeks. It wouldn’t make sense for head coach Peter Laviolette to break them up.