Filip Chytil of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal...

Filip Chytil of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild in the second period at Xcel Energy Center on October 13, 2022. Credit: Getty Images/David Berding

WINNIPEG — If Filip Chytil feels left behindwith the elevation of his Kid Line wingers to the Rangers’ top two lines, he doesn’t show it.

The 23-year-old Chytil, beginning his fifth season with the Rangers, seems more at ease in the locker room these days, all jokes and laughs in the first week of the new season. He’s more experienced, and with a much better command of the English language than when he first joined the team in 2017 as a first-round pick from the Czech Republic.

Chytil just seems more comfortable. And confident. So much so, that he’s taken his separation from wingers Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière in stride.

“For me, it doesn't matter,’’ he said a few days ago about the breakup of the Kid Line. “Yes, I'm always happy when I can play with those two guys . . .  We spent the playoffs together and that was very good for us,  for our team and for our line. And I think we built on that in this offseason. [But] if the coach decides not to play us together, it doesn't matter. We have ‘Goody’ [Barclay Goodrow] now, in our line, and he can also bring a lot of a lot of good things to the line. So we cannot be sad.’’

The Kid Line, with Lafrenière on the left, Chytil in the middle and Kakko on the right, was the Rangers’ most dynamic line in last spring’s playoffs, and Chytil was the team’s third-leading goalscorer with seven. The trio was by far the best line in the preseason, but at the end of the preseason, coach Gerard Gallant decided to move Kakko to the top line, with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. And after Vitali Kravtsov got injured in the season opener, the coach moved Lafrenière to the second line, with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck.

The way Kakko and Lafrenière have played in the first two games, it doesn’t appear the Kid Line will be reuniting anytime soon. In Thursday’s 7-3 win over the Wild in Minnesota, Lafrenière produced two brilliant assists and Kakko scored a brilliant goal.

Chytil scored in that game, too, banging in the rebound of a shot by Adam Fox late in the second period to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. His goal turned out to be the game-winner. When the Rangers played the Winnipeg Jets Friday in their third game of the season, Chytil was centering the third line with a pair of 29-year-olds, Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey, on his flanks.

Chytil is confident he will make it work, whoever his wingers are. If he doesn’t yet have the kind of natural chemistry with Goodrow and Vesey that he does with Lafrenière and Kakko, he’s certain he and his new linemates will still find a way to be effective — even if it won’t necessarily be by scoring goals.

“I think I'm bringing something that I should bring to the team to help to win the game,’’ he said on Thursday morning, before he scored against Minnesota. “We're different type of players, all three of us, so we need to talk. And we need to help the team win the games either with points, with goals, with a physical game or just whatever is our role.’’

Chytil said having Goodrow on his right wing helps because Goodrow, a solid defensive forward, takes pressure off him when it comes to getting back into the defensive zone. Goodrow will often get back on defense first, and he can do the things Chytil would normally be responsible for.

Also, with Chytil’s well-known faceoff struggles (his career win percentage is 40.7), Goodrow can take some faceoffs in place of Chytil. Through the first two games Chytil had done well on draws, winning nine of 15 (60 percent).

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