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Cam Fowler isn’t a Ranger – get over it

The Dylan McIlrath pick was a mistake, but can we please move on?

After Michael Del Zotto was traded last week, many folks in the Ranger Twittersphere turned again to the decision to draft Dylan McIlrath over Cam Fowler as a franchise-crippling blow.  Many believe that the Rangers passed on drafting Fowler because they thought they already had a very similar player in Del Zotto and Fowler would have been redundant.  Meanwhile, McIlrath was a very unusual commodity that could fill a long-standing hole, so the team happily selected him at No. 10.  Of course, Del Zotto never met expectations in New York and Fowler is enjoying a breakout year in his fourth NHL season, so Rangers fans are filled with regret.

The 2010 draft has become one of the biggest gripes among Ranger fans in recent years, but it’s time to let it go.  Whether you believe McIlrath will turn into a second-pairing D-man or not, it’s hard to argue at this point that the Blueshirts’ brass didn’t make a mistake.  So did many other teams that year, so do many teams every other year.

The fact is, the draft is impossible to predict.  Some of the players scouts are most confident about turn into complete busts, while ignored prospects turn into Kings.  It’s natural for fans (and members of front offices) to look longingly at the guys they could have had, but at some point enough’s enough.

Yes, the Rangers swung and missed on McIlrath, and in the process overlooked Fowler, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Nick Bjugstad, Beau Bennett, Charlie Coyle, Brock Nelson, and the list goes on and on.  But so did a ton of other teams. (Incidentally, I’d be a lot more upset about missing out on the pair of Blues than I would be about missing out on Fowler).

The Lightning drafted Brett Connolly sixth, and he’s been a huge bust so far.  Instead, Tampa could have had Jeff Skinner, who went seventh.  Atlanta drafted Alex Burmistrov eighth, and he’s now back in Russia.  The Thrashers could have had any one of the guys the Rangers missed on, or slowly blossoming Minnesota center Mikael Granlund.  The 2010 draft is dotted with examples like these, as is every other draft.

It’d be one thing if the Rangers were consistently flopping at the draft, but it’s been the opposite in recent years.  Judging anything more recent than the 2011 draft would be folly, but before that two of team’s first-round picks yielded Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller.  Going back further, the Rangers can hardly be faulted by the tragedy that happened to Alexei Cherepanov, and Bobby Sanguinetti was undeniably a bust.  New York’s first-rounder in 2005 was Marc Staal.  The 2004 first-round pick brought Al Montoya, another bust.  But that draft year also produced Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Lauri Korpikoski.  Later picks in recent years have also included: Mike Sauer, Artem Anisimov, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Jesper Fast.  For the record, many studies have shown that a draft is a success if it results in just one NHL player.

Have the Rangers been perfect?  No, but no one is when it comes to the draft.  The fact is, many, many teams would trade their recent draft records for New York’s.  The McIlrath pick didn’t turn out great, but it’s time to get over it.

34 Responses to “Cam Fowler isn’t a Ranger – get over it”

  1. Chris F says:

    Since when did we write off McIlrath as a bust?

    • Walt says:

      Right on!!!!!

      Who wrote him off, I’m waiting for the kid to play for us, if not next year, the year after.

      Who’s Cam Fowler? Just busting, but let’s face it, even MDZ could look great on that Duck team. Players seem to play up to the level of their team. How many times do you see a marginal player, on a marginal team, get traded to a good team, and he elevates his play????? Enough said, we can’t cry over this one, it’s history.

    • Kevin says:

      Don’t think I ever directly referred to McIlrath as a bust, but you’re right I definitely alluded to it. I still think McIlrath can carve out an NHL career, but I also don’t think there’s any way you can view his ceiling as being as high as some of the other guys mentioned. Will be lucky if he turns into a decent stay-at-home guy.

  2. Mike K says:

    Obviously even it’s too soon to say the McIlrath pick didn’t turn out great. Perhaps just verbiage, but “hasn’t yet turned out” would be better. By next season, McIlrath could be a 2nd line stalwart, which would be a success with the #10 pick. Perhaps not as successful as Fowler, but not something you regret doing.

  3. Sally says:

    I’m confused. I thought Mcllrath was coming along?

  4. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Kevin, agree with you for sure. The only complaint I have is philosophical. It would assume that Del Zotto’s potential did, in fact, sway the Ranger’s brass at the draft table. I hope they did not pass on Fowler because of what we had in the system. As far as I’m concerned the strategy can only be- draft the best available. And I agree with you, I’d probably want Tarasenko more than McIlrath, Fowler and company.

    Free agency and trade talks are for addressing team needs and organizational deficiencies. The draft is too much of a crap shoot. Organizations can’t get too cute.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      I agree on Tarasenko. He’s already looking like a star. He’s the guy I’d want from that draft. The prospect sites were all big on Granlund but Tarasenko will end up being the best pick in that draft year for where the Blues picked him.

  5. Sully says:

    MDZ had a great rookie year just traded for MAC D
    And Staal all on the left side…fowler would have been
    Redundant. Tarasanko, was never the the pick after
    What happen to the 07 pick plus his father coaches in KHL
    The though was he may stay in russia

    • George says:

      Rangers aren’t afraid to draft from Russia. The 07 pick, though tragic, had nothing to do with passing on tarasenko.

  6. Kevin says:

    87GP 25-25-50 (Age 22)
    2GP 0-0-0 (Age 21)

    Four years after being drafted 10th overall and you’re not in the NHL? That’s bust territory

    • Leatherneckinlv says:

      2 injuries slowed down McIlrath’s progress. He has a skill set that is needed on this team. He will be a Ranger next year. I do not think Marc Staal will sign with us. It is my opinion he will go to Carolina.

      Fowler can be had by us for Girardi as I think Anaheim will shoot for this year to win it all and Girardi and Callahan can help them get there.

      I do not believe that the Rangers are good enough to win it this year.

      I would trade Staal to Edmenton as well for the 1st pick, Justin Schultz and Nail Yapukov

      • Kevin says:

        You do know Staal is signed through next year right?

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Mark Staal is signed through next year. He will be a Ranger next year. At some point during the year (toward’s the trade deadline) he may be dealt, who knows. But he will not be moved before this season is over.

        Fowler is playing top 2 minutes this year and by all accounts is Anaheim’s best defenseman. He also is 22 years old. I agree with you that Girardi would help Anaheim this year, however they will not move Fowler for him. I doubt very seriously that Fowler is on the board.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Most likely Staal goes where he is paid the most as is the case for almost all free agents in sports. Who knows if that’s NY, Carolina, or any other market.

    • Chris A says:

      Riiiiiiiight, because successful 21 year old defensemen litter NHL rosters.

      Defensemen take time to develop. MDZ was unwisely rushed and we see how that worked out. If McIlrath isn’t eating 20 minutes a night in two years then feel free to call him a bust.

      To call the kid a bust today is simply trying to find something to write about on a slow day.

      • Kevin says:

        when you waste a 10th overall pick on a slow skating defenseman with limited upside, when there are better players on the board, and that pick hasn’t had an impact yet…then yes, that’s getting into Bust territory. Already down one knee doesn’t help his chances

        • Chris A says:

          They didn’t amputate, he had knee surgery, it happens in sports, I wouldn’t say he’s down one knee. He’s not a guy that makes his bones on blazing speed so losing some top end speed isn’t going to break his chances.

          Again, if McIlrath was a Forward I would agree with you that he would be trending towards a bust at this point. Since he is a D man it completely changes his development path and the expectiations need to be adjusted accordingly.

          Would you prefer Tyler Myers? A guy that was rushed to the NHL, had one decent season, was inexplicably given WAY WAY too much money and now his career is essentially adrift?

          Trust that the Rangers know what they are doing with development now. Their track record over the past 5-6 years earned them that much.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      He lost his 1st pro season to injury so this is really his 1st pro season. Traditionally Defenseman come along slower anyway. He needs to play in Hartford. I just hope McIlrath doesn’t get hurt every year and be one of those.

  7. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Would you trade Girardi, Duclair, Bourque and Callahan to the Ducks for John Gibson, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatenen, Nick Kerdilis, Stefan Noesen, a 1st and a 3rd? Would the Ducks make this trade?

  8. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Lundqvuist
    Talbot
    Gibson

    McDonagh Schultz
    Fowler McIlrath
    Moore Klein

    Kreider Stepan Nash
    Hagelin Brassard Zuccarello
    Kristo Stastny Miller
    Boyle Lindberg Beach
    Moore and Dorsett

    This would be the team after the trades and Next years Team. This year’s team is as is.
    Richards will be bought out in my estimation not for his play but for his contract. The flexibility is needed to alter the team and for Vingeault to create his team.

    I think all those trades are doable. We can even throw in Buffalo into the mix if Cally wants to go there and Anaheim trades him to Buffalo for the 1st and an asset or we trade Cally to Buffalo and an asset.

    • Leatherneckinlv says:

      there is an error on my roster. Here is the corrected roster

      Lundqvuist
      Talbot
      Gibson

      McDonagh McIlrath
      Fowler Schultz
      Moore Klein

      Kreider Stepan Nash
      Hagelin Brassard Zuccarello
      Kristo Stastny Yakupov
      Miller Lindberg Beach

      Moore, Boyle and Dorsett

    • Kevin says:

      1) Staal still has one more year left
      2) Oilers aren’t trading Schultz
      3) Anaheim isn’t trading Gibson or Fowler especially for that ludicrous package you mentioned above

      • George says:

        Ducks might trade Gibson if Hiller resigns but it’s doubtful he will get traded.

        • Leatherneckinlv says:

          Also, Anaheim has 2 1st rounders this year. So The one we would get would be the latter pick. And Callahans trade they can flip the pick with Buffalo

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        When Anaheim can flip Cally for a top 3 pick? Buffalo would love to have a PR guy that is a heart and soul guy. Then Anaheim gets an Ekbald or Reinhart. Dig deeper my friend…It is a win for Buffalo and Anaheim. Anaheim has 4 goaltenders that can play number 1 on most teams. The trade is not that ludicrous as you may think. Buffalo needs some now stuff.
        They have about 5 1st round picks they have had in the top 16 since 2011 and add in Pysyk who is playing well for the sabers. Next year buffalo will be a top 5 pick in the 1st round as well. The Money Callahan can bring in for Buffalo is going to be tremendous. I bet their season ticket sales go up 12% just by signing Callahan.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Buffalo is in no position to trade 1sts for pending UFAs. Buffalo is a seller, they trade assets for picks, not vice versa.

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        I agree, however Callahan and a flip of 1st round picks and an asset back to Anaheim is a good move for Buffalo. Hockey wise and Business wise. So Anaheim gets a top 3 pick and an asset, Buffalo gets a top 10 pick and Callahan. Mind you I think Miller will be traded as well for a 1st as well in some kind of package.
        Anaheim has 2 1st rounders. Potentially 1 will be a 7 to 10 pick and one a 27 to 30 pick

  9. George says:

    McIlrath shouldn’t be considered a bust just yet. When he was drafted, experts said it would’ve the 2014/2015 season by the time he has a full time roster spot in the NHL. That’s next season and he has a very good chance of making the roster next season. Time will tell.

  10. Kram says:

    Fowler has skills but how soft would our defense be with him? He basically plays a no contact game where he may bump in to somebody every other game. He is also another lefty. We are fine with McD, Staal and Moore on the left side.

  11. Kram says:

    21 is not a bust age for a player especially a defensemen. How old was Staal when he made it? How old was Kreider when he finally broke out? JT Miller is a month away from 21. Is he a bust as well?

  12. Paco33 says:

    It is waaaay too early to say that drafting McIlrath was a “mistake”.

  13. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I think there are some intriguing moves that will happen this year by the trade dead line in the NHL. Richards is a curious player to watch. Will the Rangers retain him or buy him out? If a buyout is planned can they trade him to a team that has a ton of Money under the cap or a team that is in contention for the cup and has a buy out compliance in place to buy him out at the end of the season?
    I wish I could say that I think the Rangers will win the Cup this year, however there are so many great teams this year ahead of us. Anaheim, Blues, Chicago and Pittsburgh are the odds on favorite to win
    Then you have Bruins, Kings, Sharks, Avalanche, Lightning and Rangers with a chance but low odds to win. The only Reason we are in is because we play in the East. My thoughts are that the Penguins or Bruins go to the cup from the East to play one of Blackhawks, Ducks or Blues from the west with West team winning the Cup