GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The power-play practice was over Monday at MSG Training Center, and it was time to roll out the regular lines. And there was the Rangers’ 19-year-old natural center with the tantalizing skills playing on left wing with Kevin Hayes as his center and Mats Zuccarello on right wing.
After using Filip Chytil for just 10:19 in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Edmonton, coach David Quinn said he wanted to raise his ice time. A change from fourth-line center -- where the Czech Republic native spent the past two games after three as third-line center -- to second-line left wing would do the trick, at least for now. The Rangers (1-4) next face Colorado (3-1-1) Tuesday night at the Garden.
“As we all know, when you play center in this league, there’s an awful lot of responsibility,” Quinn said. ”All the great players play center. I think (moving to wing) makes the transition to the NHL a little bit easier.
“He’s a guy that has an awful lot of talent. He’s had some good nights for us so far. But I think this will also give us a chance to play him more in a top-nine role that I think he belongs in. I think it’ll help his development.”
Chytil said he played some left wing with his national team and in the Czech Extraliga. The 21st overall pick in the 2017 draft said he’s “glad” to be at the position.
“I feel comfortable (there),” Chytil said. “I play with great guys. I can’t wait to play the game tomorrow.”
Hayes sees a lot to like about Chytil.
“He has elite speed, good skill,” Hayes said. “He has the potential to be a game changer. The fans should be excited about him.”
Chytil claimed the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the Rangers’ top rookie in training camp before last season, but he didn’t have a point in the first two regular-season games before being sent to Hartford. The 6-2 lefty posted 11 goals and 20 assists in 46 AHL games, then played in the Rangers’ final seven games, contributing a goal and two assists. He has two assists over these first five games.
“Last year was a little different,” Chytil said. “Everything was new for me. I think this year, I feel stronger. I’ve improved almost everything in my game, and I feel much (more) comfortable now than last year.”
Notes & quotes: Pavel Buchnevich was dropped into a rotation on the fourth line in practice. Quinn said a decision whether to sit the wing will be made Tuesday. “Just like everybody, we’re looking for consistent effort,” Quinn said. … Quinn indicated defenseman Neal Pionk will play after being scratched the past two games.