CHICAGO - The Rangers used their second first-round pick on their second European center, drafting Filip Chytil 21st overall Friday night in Chicago.
"It was a big surprise for me," Chytil said in a press conference after his selection. "One of the best feelings in my life. It's great to be part of the New York Rangers. I enjoyed every moment of the draft. It's amazing."
The 17-year-old from the Czech Republic notched four goals and four assists in 38 games last season with PSG Zlin of the Czech Extraliga. He ranked second among players younger than 18 years old in the league in games played, goals, and points during the season.
"My biggest strengths are skating, my hands and my vision," he said. "I'm strong on the puck."
Chyti, who said his game resembles Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, l said he benefitted from his time last year in the top Czech league, playing against men. He said he's hopeful that'll benefit him when he comes to North America, which he said he'd like to do after another year back home.
"It was great experience playing against older players and play in a men's league," Chytil said. "I think for my development it'll be better to stay another season in Zlin, then I play in the U.S. and Canada."
Gordie Clark, the Rangers' Director of Player Personnel, said he's projecting Chytil to be a big, fast center who can make plays with his passing ability. Like Chytil, he said his experience in such an older league is beneficial.
"He stepped in from junior and played for Zlin in the men's league. As the season went on, he ended up being a guy they were using all the time," said Clark, who stated Chytil grew two inches during the season. "They've scheduled him to be their second line center next year, which is tremendous for an 18-year-old boy.
"He grew two inches on us during the season and I don't think he's going to stop," Clark added. "He's going to be a really good skating center, a playmaker."