Filip Chytil will be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s Garden game against the Sabers, having missed 14 games since breaking his hand in Pittsburgh on Jan. 24.
“Adding a guy with that type of speed and skill definitely makes everyone better,” Quinn said of the 21-year-old center. “We thought he was playing the best hockey of his career before he got injured.
“He did a lot of good things for us. It would be nice to see him back in the lineup. »
Chytil had two goals and an assist before falling following an on-ice collision with Evan Rodrigues midway through the Penguins game, Rangers’ fifth game of the season.
The Czech native is expected to skate in the third unit, between Kevin Rooney on the left and Julien Gauthier on the right, against a Buffalo team that is coming off back-to-back 3-0 shutout losses to the Flyers. He lined up between Alexis Lafrenière and Gauthier for the opener before switching between Phil DiGiuseppe and Kaapo Kakko for his next four games.
Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko remain out, so Quinn’s choices are limited. Mika Zibanejad will center Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich, while Alexis Lafrenière and Colin Blackwell will flank Ryan Strome on the first two units.
Rooney, a natural center, played it on the wing. It will open on Chytil’s left, according to Quinn.
“Through honest effort night after night, [Rooney has] contributed offensively once in a while and he’s just an honest player,” Quinn said.
Given the nature of the injury, Chytil might need some relief on face-offs. Rooney’s 47.9% in points is the highest mark among Rangers centers.
“We will see how [Chytil] takes prints,” Quinn said. “Obviously Rooney has been pretty good on faceoffs, so if Fil has any issues with draws, Rooney will take them.”
Kakko, who missed his fifth straight since being placed on the COVID protocol roster on Jan. 20, is expected to drop off the roster when released at 5 p.m.
“Kaapo will begin the return to play protocol,” Quinn said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
Quinn said he was on a daily deal with Panarin, who is missing his fourth game since taking time off following the unsubstantiated assault charges leveled against him in Russia by Andrei Nazarov.
“I talk to Bread every day, and he’s been skating,” Quinn said. “Again, we’re just waiting day to day for the right time for him to come back.”
Jacob Trouba, who was on a four to six week recovery period after breaking his thumb in the loss to the Devils on Feb. 16, is skating regularly.
“He’s making a lot of good progress,” Quinn said. “We expect him back sooner rather than later.”
Igor Shesterkin was expected to get the assignment in goal after three straight starts for Alex Georgiev. This would mark Shesterkin’s 12th start in 20 games.