The New York Rangers have struggled with injuries through the first few games of their season.
Head coach Gerard Gallant noted that the rash of injuries that have plagued the franchise was “a lot more than usual” with players like Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Carpenter, and Vitali Kravtsov all nursing nagging injuries that have kept them out for a few games.
Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings offers a slight reprieve from the difficulties of having to change a roster up as much as they have to. With the expected return of Filip Chytil, the Rangers welcome one of their youngest and most talented players at a serious position of need.
Chytil missed the last six games with an upper-body injury, but his return could help alter the outlook of the bottom six units on offense.
“He’s a huge part of our team. It’s not like the first half last year, it makes a big difference when he’s in your top line for sure.” Gallant told reporters.
While there was some speculation on whether or not Chytil would actually return for Sunday’s game, the 2017 first-round pick was glad to be finished with his rehab work.
“You never want to miss a game, you want to play. But you need to be 100% to perform how I can perform and whatever everyone expects of me. I didn’t rush it, I feel great right now and I can’t wait to help the team.” Chytil told reporters Saturday.
Chytil’s skillset offers a much-needed shot in the arm to a Rangers offense looking for production from their bottom six. On the year, the bottom six forwards have accounted for 22 points and just four goals on the season outside of Chytil. Since his injury, the bottom six units have scored just twice.
New York has been able to move past their third-line center’s injury by posting a 3-2-1 record in the last six games. Speed, aggressiveness, and physicality are a staple of Chytil’s game. In the six games he’s played, Chytil has tallied two goals and an assist with a +3 on-ice rating.
“Of course, I have to work on almost everything right now, but I was happy with how I started. I got a little pause right now so I can’t wait to get back to where I left off.” Chytil said.