The time has arrived for Ranger fans to get their first look at 19-year-old center Lias Andersson and their second look at 18-year-old Filip Chytil, their first-round picks from last summer’s NHL draft, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday.
“Yes. We’re slowly working on the two young kids, Lias and Filip,’’ Vigneault said after the Rangers’ optional morning skate at the Garden before Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jackets.
Since young players are allowed to play up to nine games before the first year of their three-year entry level contracts kick in, the Rangers had to wait until now before calling up the two players. After Tuesday night’s game, the Rangers will have nine games left in the regular season, beginning with Thursday night’s game in Philadelphia. Andersson, the seventh pick overall, started the season in Sweden and came to North America after the World Junior championships. He has not played with the Rangers and has the full nine games available to him, and Vigneault said he will be with the team for the Flyers game.
Chytil, who was the 21st pick overall, made the Rangers out of training camp and played two games before being sent down to AHL Hartford. So he can play a maximum of seven games.
Andersson, a 5-11, 198-pound center whose father, Niklas played in the NHL with Quebec, the Islanders, San Jose, Nashville and Calgary, and whose uncle Mikael also played in the NHL for five teams (including the Hartford Whalers and the Islanders) has played 23 games for Hartford and scored five goals, with nine assists.
Chytil, a 6-2, 202-pound center from the Czech Republic, has played 44 games for Hartford, scoring 11 goals, with 20 assists.
Shattenkirk getting closer
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk took part in the optional morning skate and Vigneault said he expects Shattenkirk, who had knee surgery in January, will play before the season ends.
“We had this discussion, I think, last week, when our doctors shut him down because his knee was swollen,’’ Vigneault said. “Him and I both agree on this, that even if it’s just one game, it would be a good idea, for his sake, to get out there and play. People might disagree with that, but if the knee is 100 percent, we’d like him to get in as many games as he can. So it’s just a matter, now, of getting himself in game timing, game conditioning, and seeing if the knee will react positively.’’