Filip Chytil will return to the lineup for Tuesday’s Garden match against the Sabres, after missing 14 games since suffering a broken hand in Pittsburgh on Jan. 24.
“Adding a guy with that type of speed and skill set certainly 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 hurt.
“He was doing an awful lot of good things for us. It will be good to have him back in the lineup.”
Chytil had recorded two goals and an assist before going down following an open-ice collision with Evan Rodrigues midway through the Penguins game, the Rangers’ fifth game of the season.
The Czech native is slated to skate on the third unit, between Kevin Rooney on the left and Julien Gauthier on the right, against a Buffalo team coming off consecutive 3-0 shutout defeats to the Flyers. He had lined up between Alexis Lafreniere and Gauthier for the opener before moving 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 Lafreniere and Colin Blackwell will flank Ryan Strome on the top two units.
Rooney, a natural center, has played some on the wing. He will open on Chytil’s left, per Quinn.
“Because of an honest effort night in and night out, [Rooney has] chipped in offensively from time to time and he’s just an honest player,” Quinn said.
Given the nature of the injury, Chytil may need relief on faceoffs. Rooney’s 47.9 percent at the dots represents the best mark among Rangers centers.
“We’re going to see how [Chytil] does taking draws,” Quinn said. “Obviously Rooney has been pretty good on faceoffs, so if Fil is having trouble with the draws, we’ll have Rooney take them.”
Kakko, missing his fifth straight since being placed on the COVID-protocol list on Jan. 20, is expected to come off the list when it is released at 5 p.m.
“Kaapo will start the return to play protocol,” said Quinn. “We’ll just see how that goes.”
Quinn said he is in daily contract with Panarin, who is missing his fourth game since taking a leave of absence in the wake of the unsubstantiated assault charges levied against him in Russia by Andrei Nazarov.
“I talk to Bread daily, and he has been doing some 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 timeline after breaking his thumb in the Feb. 16 defeat to the Devils, has been skating regularly.
“He’s making a lot of good progress,” said Quinn. “We’re expecting him back sooner than later.”
Igor Shesterkin was scheduled to get the assignment in goal following three straight starts for Alex Georgiev. This would mark Shesterkin’s 12th start in 20 games.