Cuylle continues to grow his game in rookie season with Rangers

Whether it’s a slice from The Cheesecake Factory or developing his game with the New York Rangers, Will Cuylle appreciates consistency and simplicity.

Cuylle continues to grow his game in rookie season with Rangers

Feature photo: Getty Images

A no-nonsense approach to his craft is paying dividends for both Will Cuylle and the New York Rangers.

It has been an ideal match for both player and team, a winning combination that has seen the young, gifted forward contributing his well-rounded game to a team currently sitting in the upper echelon of the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings.

Cuylle’s game is predicated on being a 200-foot player, a playing style that has made the Toronto native an asset in every on-ice situation.

“A good shift for me is getting the puck in deep, forechecking hard, maybe throwing a hit, and trying to get the puck to the net whether that is finding a guy in front of the net to get the puck to or going to the front of the net when there is a point shot,” said the 60th overall pick of the Rangers at the 2020 NHL Draft.

“You can’t score every shift, but you always have the chance to do something positive.

“A good game would be playing fast, physical and simple, and not giving up many chances against and creating some big scoring opportunities,” the rookie continued.

Cuylle’s maturity level, on and off the ice, has been helped shaped in part by the captain’s role he held during his final year of junior hockey in 2021-22 with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.

“Overall, getting that experience, being one of the older guys on the team, and being part of a strong team, it meant a great deal to be a good role model for guys who were just coming into the league,” said the winger of his final year in Windsor.

“It was big for me in terms of maturing my game on the ice and in my habits, but also off the ice as well being a good role model.”

The youngest teammate in the dressing room, Cuylle has plenty of strong role models to look up to on the Rangers. The team’s group is led by team captain Jacob Trouba and alternate captains Adam Fox, Barclay Goodrow, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.

Valuable words of advice are a constant that add up for Cuylle.

“I have learned a lot. It’s little things, here and there every day whether it’s about the league, other teams or what to expect from the opposition. It’s nothing overly deep, but just important little details and other things that add up over time. That’s been huge for me.”

As has been his friendship with teammate and fellow forward, Vincent Trocheck.

It wasn't long after the two first met that the veteran of over 670 NHL regular season games took Cuylle under his wing and eventually into his home.

Trocheck also notched the primary assist on Cuylle’s first NHL goal this past October in a road game against Columbus.

“It’s been huge for me. Right from the start, even when I got called up for four games in 2022-23, Vincent was one of the first guys to talk to me and when I made the team this year, he was the first one to congratulate me. A day later, he offered me the chance to stay with him and his family. They have taken me in and made me part of their family I feel so comfortable there. I am so grateful for everything he and his wife have done for me. I feel so welcome.”

Aside from enjoying home-cooked meals courtesy of Hillary Trocheck, there is also game night with the couple’s two young children, Leo and Lennon.

“Hillary is a great cook I leave that to her. I help out wherever I can. I play mini sticks with the kids a lot, so that’s always fun.”

Trocheck has even managed to convert Cuylle, at least somewhat, to his preferred taste in music.

Do they share a lot in common when it comes to their playlists?

“A bit. He’s more of a country guy, but he’s got me on to some of it.”

Being part of a Rangers team with their eyes on a deep playoff run has been music to Cuylle’s ears as he continues to be counted on to play an impactful role.

As of January 11, Cuylle had notched seven goals as part of 11 points this season, including a game-winner against Carolina in early November.

“I want to keep growing my game. Being more confident and playing with more confidence when I have the puck keep trying to get better every day. That has been the goal since the start of the year.”

Set to turn 22 in February, Cuylle has more modest hopes for his birthday festivities.

“Anything on my list? A cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory would be nice.”

Winning a Stanley Cup would be the icing on the cake.