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#Barclay Goodrow’s misconduct spoils critical Rangers line test

#Barclay Goodrow’s misconduct spoils critical Rangers line test

Well, the Rangers got six shifts worth, 3:53 to check out their third-line combination of Flip Chytil skating between Barclay Goodrow and Vitali Kravtsov before Goodrow received a five-minute major and game misconduct for drawing blood by boarding Kyle McLean at 13:49 of the first period of Sunday’s 4-0 exhibition defeat to the Islanders at the Garden.

“The defenseman turned and Goodrow hit him from behind. There’s no doubt it was a boarding penalty but unfortunately for us there was a little blood there and with the injury, it became an automatic major,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “It wasn’t a vicious hit, but that’s just the rule.”

The rule application denied the trio time to work but it also opened an opportunity for Dryden Hunt, 25-year-old, below-the-radar free-agent signee to get regular work in a top-six role. The winger took advantage of it, too, impressing Gallant and the staff with his blue-collar work on a night the Blueshirts were lacking in that department.

“I thought he was the guy who stood out the most,” Gallant said. “As soon as we came off the ice, he was the guy we talked about. He took advantage of his minutes, for sure.”

Hunt may be the closest replica to Goodrow the Rangers have, but the undrafted winger with a sum of 89 NHL games with Florida and Arizona is realistically competing for the assignment as the 13th forward. He does not have the experience or back-to-back Stanley Cup pedigree to give the kind of support to Chytil and Kravtsov as Goodrow.

Of course not. Goodrow signed a six-year deal worth an AAV of $3,416,667 while Hunt is on a two-year deal worth an average of $762,500, with an AHL two-way component for this year. And it is the pedigree that makes Goodrow so valuable.

“I see some good talent from [Chytil and Kravtsov] and I see Goodrow is going to push them to be better players,” Gallant said before the match. “He’s going to talk to them every shift about doing the right things with the puck and putting them in the right situations. It’s not all about offense.

“I think a good veteran player like Goodrow is going to help those two hockey players for sure. They’re both talented hockey players but we have to get more, not just from them, but from our group.”

Kravtsov, 21, played the final 20 games for the Blueshirts last year after playing in Russia for the duration of the KHL season. The winger recorded four points (2-2) while used primarily on the fourth line with Kevin Rooney and Brett Howden but impressed with his IQ and skill.

“It’s not about us giving him the opportunity, he’s got to earn it,” Gallant said. “He’s a talented guy, and a guy we count on being a very important player for us this year.

Barclay Goodrow received a game misconduct for this hit from behind.
Getty Images

“I’ve watched him on TV. I know there’s a lot of talent there, I know there’s a lot of potential there, he was a high draft choice, but you’ve got to show it. I think I’ve made comments about good teams or winning teams like Tampa, you [see] their great players play a two-way game.

“That’s what we’ve got to get more from our top guys — not from our top guys, but all our guys,” said the coach. “That’s what’s what we’re demanding.”

Chytil, who turned 22 on Sept. 5, is in his fifth Rangers training camp. He’s yet to define himself — power center or skilled center; scorer or dispatcher? — as the Czech seeks to carve out a defined, significant role.

Gallant said that Chytil reminds him somewhat of a young Lars Eller, whom the coach had in Montreal while serving as an assistant coach for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Canadiens.

“He was a guy who had good skill and good talent, and Lars turned himself into a real good two-way hockey player. I see some of that in [Chytil] as a young player,” Gallant said. “Does he maybe have a little more skill than Eller, I think he does right now, but Eller turned himself into a real good hockey player in Washington, won a Stanley Cup and played a big part in that.

“So I hope he turns into a good defensive player like Eller, but I think he’s got a little more upside.”

Chytil and Kravtsov had some moments when they were able to get to the inside. Next time, presumably there will be more moments with Goodrow riding shotgun.

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