OTTAWA — The Rangers on Wednesday loaned 18-year-old center Filip Chytil to the Czech Republic team for the upcoming World Junior Championships, which will be played in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
Chytil, who appeared in the first two NHL games of his career with the Rangers in October, has spent the bulk of the season with AHL Hartford. The 21st overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft has five goals and seven assists in 12 games with the Wolf Pack.
“My experience at the World Juniors — I’ve been there twice — for a junior player, it’s one of the best experiences that you can have,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “For a coach, it’s the same thing. You’re talking about representing your country, you’re talking about playing in high-pressure environment, important games. So I think for the development of any young player, if you have the opportunity to represent your country, it’s something you can’t pass on. Filip is given the opportunity, and I think it’s something that’s going to make him a better player.”
After his 12-minute stint in the NHL, Chytil has played well in the AHL, according to Vigneault, but the Rangers haven’t felt the need to bring him back.
“We’ve been — touch wood — very healthy up front,” Vigneault said. “He’s going through the development of any young player. From what I understand, he’s coming along very well and we know that we’ve got a player there with a lot of potential.”
The Senators, who eliminated the Rangers in six games in last season’s second-round playoff series, had lost seven straight going into Wednesday. General manager Pierre Dorion said coach Guy Boucher is not in danger of being fired.
“On paper, we feel like we have a good team,” Dorion said. “But I’ve never once seen a piece of paper lift a Cup or get into the playoffs.”