GREENBURGH, N.Y. — For the second straight preseason game, the Rangers will have a teenaged first-round draft pick in the lineup: Czech center Filip Chytil, chosen 21st overall in June, will debut against the Devils on Wednesday.
Asked if he’d be nervous at Madison Square Garden, Chytil, who turned 18 on Sept. 5, replied: “No, it’s an honor to play in a famous building. I want to play my best game, play simple, and try to score some goals or some assists. I want to win my first game.”
Chytil (pronounced HEET-UL), who watched Monday’s 1-0 win from an MSG suite, will skate between Jimmy Vesey, who has acted as sort of a mentor, and Adam Tambellini. “Every day, I ask him, ‘What do we do?’, because sometimes I don’t understand some systems,” Chytil said, “and he helps.”
Speedy, with a smooth shot, quick release and still growing at 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds, that’s Chytil one drawback now.
“We found when having one-on-one conversations with him, he gets it, he can focus and understand,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “But when we’re explaining something on video, he loses what’s being said; we just picked up in the last couple days that language was a little bigger barrier that we anticipated.”
So before the game, Chytil will get the rundown from associate coach Scott Arniel, with translations from goalie Ondrej Pavelec, a fellow Czech native, Vigneault said.
Chytil does understand that “it’s a long way for me to make the roster,” he said Tuesday. It’s possible that Chytil could be loaned to Zlin of the Czech Extraliiga, where he played 38 games last season, or to North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League.
However it turns out, Wednesday’s game will be a first step. “I want to be part of the team as soon as possible,” Chytil said. “I’ll work hard and we’ll see.”
The Rangers trimmed their roster to 49, with more cuts coming late Saturday, Vigneault said. Forwards Robin Kovacs and Adam Chapie were assigned to Hartford (AHL). Tim Gettinger and Ty Ronning were assigned to their junior teams (Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) and Vancouver (WHL). D Brenden Kotyk was released from his NHL tryout . . . Vigneault on Kevin Shattenkirk, making his MSG debut as a Blueshirt: “He’s going to have a major role on our team . . . as much as we brought him in for his offensive abilities, we need him to defend well because he’s going to be playing important minutes against the best players in the league.” . . . Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev will split time in goal. The other lines and defense pairs are: Chris Kreider-Lias Andersson-Ryan Gropp; Matt Puempel-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello; Daniel Catenacci-David Desharnais-Andrew Desjardins; Brady Skjei-Shattenkirk; Vince Pedrie-Brendan Smith; Marc Staal-John Gilmour.