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Rangers will take good look at youngsters Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil

Lias Andersson of the Rangers skates against the

Lias Andersson of the Rangers skates against the Capitals at Madison Square Garden on March 26. Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The future is almost here for the Rangers. They’ll close out the 2017-18 season Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia against the Flyers, who are a point away from beating out the Panthers and securing the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The Rangers will have to do their duty to the NHL and to Florida and try their best to beat a division opponent that will be coming hard for that point. “This is their whole season,’’ Alain Vigneault said Friday.

But the Rangers’ primary focus must be on themselves and their future. To that end, Vigneault said he most likely will tweak his forward lines in an effort to get 19-year-old center Lias Andersson some quality ice time with some of the team’s better offensive players.

Andersson has averaged 11:23 of ice time and has a goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating in six games. At practice Friday, he skated between Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello.

The first of two first-round picks for the Rangers in last summer’s draft (No. 7 overall), Andersson scored his first NHL goal in his debut, a 4-2 loss to the Capitals on March 26. Though he’s been less spectacular than fellow teenager and 2017 first-rounder Filip Chytil (No. 21 overall), Andersson has played well enough to have his coach and teammates excited.

“Who knows what the team’s going to look like, but I think both of the kids here, they’re looking good,’’ said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who played hockey in Sweden with Andersson’s father, Niklas, and who will start Saturday. “And they’re at an age where you improve a lot in a year. You soak everything in, you get the feedback and you get stronger and faster, and you’re still learning the game. So you see a lot of upside there. I think they’re ready for next year, but it’s up to them to prove it.’’

Andersson knows he’s far from a finished product. “I feel like I’ve got a couple more steps to take,’’ he said. “I want to be comfortable with the puck, carrying it up ice, be a little bit more fast — faster and stronger. I will work on that over the summer.’’

Lundqvist thinks playing in this handful of games will help Andersson and Chytil (one goal, two assists, minus-2 in 13:07 of ice time in eight games) in their development.

“For me, when you start a new season, you need a couple games to get feedback so you know what you need to work on,’’ Lundqvist said. “If you don’t get those games, you’re kind of wondering, ‘OK, am I fast enough? Am I strong enough?’ When you get games, that’s when you get your feedback. You watch the video, you say, ‘OK, I need to work on this, and this.’ There’s so many things that, just by playing a few games, helps a lot.’’

Notes & quotes: Lundqvist was chosen the local media’s MVP and Jesper Fast was named the Player’s Player, as voted by his teammates . . . LW Chris Kreider will play for Team USA in the World Championships on May 4-20 in Denmark.

New York Sports