With the injuries mounting in New York and the likes of Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger clearly not enjoying the trust of John Tortorella, could we see first round pick and great white hope, Dylan McIlrath rushed to New York? With a nickname like the Undertaker and a (listed) 6-5, 220 lb frame, McIlrath has the potential to be an imposing defenseman.
As seen by the recent inclusion of Christian Thomas, and to a lesser extent Chris Kreider and JT Miller, readiness may not be the priority but rather the necessity of numbers and positional relevance. If you’re going to have to fill the roster you may as well fill it with players with upside. Clearly the Rangers hope Dylan McIlrath will fulfill his talent and draft status in upcoming seasons. He may get a chance sooner rather than later.
McIlrath has suffered through injuries in the last few years, including this year – his first full year as a pro – but he’s now playing regularly for the Whale. Given his size and style/approach to the game, the nasty blueliner (79 penalty minutes in 23 games) could provide a mean streak and physical edge that is clearly, missing from the Rangers at present.
With only one assist in 23 games for the Whale, McIlrath being promoted to the Rangers clearly wouldn’t address the lack of offense currently undermining the Rangers’ season, but the Rangers have two issues right now – the other being that they’re too easy to play against – and McIlrath could in theory help solve that problem.
Who knows how long Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh may be out for? What we do know is that the Rangers have long run out of defenseman the coach trusts, even if just one of the aforementioned trio of blueliners is out long-term. In Dylan McIlrath it may be time to turn to the next rookie for help. This Rangers team is getting younger by the day.