Oct
28

Trying to make sense of this blue line

October 28, 2016, by
Getty Images

Getty Images

Yesterday, the New York Rangers waived Dylan McIlrath, with the intention of sending him down to the Wolf Pack. As you can imagine, this sent fans into a bit of an uproar. After all, Josh Jooris was just diagnosed with a separated shoulder and was destined to hit LTIR. This would have given the Rangers more roster flexibility with the imminent returns of Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider. The Rangers didn’t have to make a move.

As of this writing, there are still several hours left in the waiver period, so we are not yet sure if the team will lose McIlrath for nothing yet. There seems to be no consensus on the likelihood of a claim (I tend to think there is a good possibility of one). If McIlrath sneaks through to Hartford that will be some grade A depth in the minors in case of future injuries, and additional ice time can only help his continued development. If he is claimed, it will highlight some poor asset management on the part of the organization, especially since he did not have to be waived at the moment.

Pat did a nice job yesterday of breaking down his proposed tweaks to the blue line, so I’m not going to rehash his analysis of who is best suited to make up the day-to-day defensive unit. My thought on the matter is more conceptual. At this point in the season, most stats are victimized by small sample size noise and are hard to rely on about performance. We lean more heavily on the eye test, but contextualization is important.

We all know this team can score. Since this forward group was assembled, most knowledgable folks have forecasted this ability. However, as we move further and further into what I have affectionately dubbed the “speed and possession era”, we are still acquiring information about what drives indicators of success.

There has been some quantitative data suggesting that forwards drive possession and scoring chances with more significance than defensemen, contrary to logical deduction. Defensemen still need to drive defensive zone transition, but a healthy back check seems to help more than previously thought. I suppose the question raised by this theory, is that, if forwards are responsible to help with defensive zone transition at a higher level to overcome poor defense, will there be a bunch of tired bodies on the ice come, say, February?

With McIlrath out of the daily lineup picture, the real decision comes down to Adam Clendening and Nick Holden. Clendening could represent an undervalued asset that the Rangers could turn into a massive bargain. Holden is a fairly vanilla defender and presumably a good solider that coaches feel they can count on to make the safe play. From here, we get into an analysis of Alain Vigneault’s assessment of his defenders. For all his modern systems, he still seems to favor that steady veteran blue liner over the puck-moving youngster. I’m not sure if that will change anytime soon.

For what it’s worth, I have not been impressed with the steadiness of Holden thus far.  Far too many egregious turnovers for someone who’s core skill is the ability to make safe, reliable plays.  I see no reason for him to be in the lineup over Clendening, at the moment.

Obviously a trade is another wrinkle. A move for a Trouba, Hamilton or Vatenan shakes things up considerably depending on who is involved. The other possibility is a trade of someone like Holden to help a team in expansion draft trouble. For example, as of this writing, Carolina would have to expose Justin Faulk to the expansion draft. That is insanity. They need someone like Holden to protect a franchise player, which could drive his value up.

While having a jumble of good forward options seems to work for AV, I don’t think this type of flexibility on defense works for his particular coach. I believe the front office needs to sort out who they feel are the top six defenders in the organization and those players need to play. We likely won’t see this shake itself out for a little while, but until then, it certainly give fandom something to get worked up over. Here’s to hoping we don’t lose McIlrath for nothing this afternoon.

"Trying to make sense of this blue line", 5 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.

105 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    This is not about Dylan or Clendening or Stemniak or Hagelin or Stralman or… This is all about the inability of Ranger management to keep the best players possible and play them in their best line up on a nightly basis.

    I am far from a Dylan fan, far from it. I hated the pick at the time but the bottom line is that he is still better than some in the line up now. That’s the point. My D corps line up as I have stated many times:

    McD-Clendening
    Staal-KK
    Skjei-Dylan

    That’s right. No G and no Holden. Now if you put G on the 3rd pair with Skjei instead of Dylan then I would not mind that much. But at least G would be getting 3rd pair minutes instead of top pair minutes.

    The inability of keeping and playing the best players on the team keeps this team from winning Cups.

    • TJ TOASTEM says:

      It’s called a salary cap, every team has had to make tough roster decisions. Some work some don’t.
      It’s just some stupid fans feel they know more than the teams they root for.
      I GUARANTEE YOU DO NOT…

      • Dave says:

        I think what Richter is getting at is that they made the wrong roster decisions on the blue line, and it cost them dearly.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Exactly Dave. To be clear $11M to G and Staal. I could be wrong but I think we could have used it this way:

          McD-Stralman
          Yandle-KK
          Skjei-Cledening

          How does that look?

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            Simply amazing….quite simply, amazing.

          • Dave says:

            If we are playing the “what if” game:

            What if Staal never got hurt? What if Sauer never got hurt?

            • 43 says:

              Michael Sauer. Man. Just man.

            • Pas44 says:

              Poor MS, such a talent with bright days ahead…

              Freaking Hockey!

              Gotta Love it…

              What is St Louis played top end in the playoffs…
              so many what ifs..

              this would mean AV is fine and Sather too…

            • Richter1994 says:

              Dave, I was at the game that Sauer got hurt. Truly and simply tragic. No other way to put it. 🙁

      • Richter1994 says:

        Thank you for that. But funny how “my decisions” at the times of the signings of G and Staal turned out better than the Rangers.

        And FYI, the BEST D man for AV’s system was Stralman. Anton was a perfect fit for AV’s puck moving strategy on the back end and the Rangers miscalculated badly on not re-signing him and giving the $$ to G and Staal.

        Don’t assume they as professional hockey management are always right because they’re not. Or else we would have a Cup the past 5 years.

        • Dave says:

          Life lesson is to always question authority. Just because they are in a specific job/position doesn’t mean they are always right and/or don’t have weaknesses.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Exactly Dave. I am an employer but I am not right 100% of the time. I always ask my staff what I can do better to work better with them. True leadership listens to others and learns from mistakes.

          • paulronty says:

            Having worked in several government ministries in my early years, I saw the Peter Principle in full force. It may be less relevant in sport, but it exists at the managerial level(Dolan, Muzz Patrick, Espo, Ferguson in NY). Good leaders open themselves to challenge & empower the assets they have.

          • Ray says:

            For every person who doesn’t know this, there are twenty who rely on it too much.

        • 43 says:

          Sather didn’t give Stralman’s money to G and Staal. Sather gave it to Dan Boyle.

          If anyone recalls, Sather was hesitant to give Stralman a four year deal after basically one year of stellar play. Boyle was a proven veteran and a PP QB. It was the wrong move, but not like there wasn’t some sense behind it.

          I know this is a Rangers blog, and we Rangers fans a notorious for complaining, but Jesus, if you’re gonna complain, know what you’re complaining about.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Stralman wanted Boyle’s contract and the Rangers CHOSE to give it to Boyle. Stralman said very clearly, match the TB offer and I will stay. He gave the Rangers every opportunity to do so, he wanted to stay. These are direct quotes from Stralman after the fact and not speculation.

            And I know exactly what I am complaining about. They reneged on Stralman, THEN signed Boyle. i think you need to go back and review what happened.

            • 43 says:

              You stated in the comment directed towards Dave where you discussed how you would’ve spent $11 million dalliers that constitutes G and Staal’s contracts, your defensive lines include Stralman, but no G or Staal, implying that we do not have Stralman because of Girardi and Staal’s contracts. This is incorrect. We do not have Stralman because of the term he wanted and Boyle’s contract.

              • Ray says:

                You already had one thumbs down and I gave you a second. There is simply no place for facts in this discussion.

          • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

            I think the key difference was that Stralman’s contract was going to be for no less than 4 years while Boyle’s was going to be for no more than 2.

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            The decision was Girardi > Stralman. Once they gave those dollars and term to G, Stralman was a goner. The decision for Boyle was because the term for his deal only required 2 yrs, where Stralman wanted 4 or 5. He was smart to walk…. but ultimately the writing was on the wall with the Girardi decision. And they simply got that one wrong. Boyle performing mediocre at best just compounded the problem.

            • jdon says:

              the thing that bugged me was that they signed G after signs of deterioration in his play were already apparent. And they signed him long term Head scratcher. I did not have the same feeling about Stahl. Only that nasty injury concerned me about Stahl, and the long term prospect for his eye.

            • Ray says:

              I think the truth is somewhat simpler. The Rangers simply underestimated Stralman. Then they made decisions consistent with that appraisal.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              All these mistakes then lead to the trading of Duclair and picks for Yandle. Who we miss used and let go for nothing. Yandle loved playing with Dylan and they were good together. We still are stuck with two very bad contracts on D. I’ve said it before you trade guys a year before their FA to get better assets. You don’t let them walk away for nothing. That’s FCKN crazy. If Yandle wasn’t going to be resigned he such have been traded for assets. One mistake after another and here we are. The players on D can’t hold up for the regular season and a CUP run. Now we need to trade for a quality RHD because of the before mention mistakes. Yet some say don’t buyout G. FCK the cap hit because we keep making bad moves to make up for his bad deal. It’s ridiculous. Take the hit and stop making bad personnel moves because of it.

          • wwpd says:

            I remember after Stralman’s first year in NY I thought he was gone for sure although he showed some steady play in the playoffs. But the Rangers re-signed him to 2 years RFA contract, I credit Tortorella with that personnel move, and over those two seasons it became evident that Stralman was the real deal. I don’t think the decision based on hesitancy to give him another contact after just one year I think it was Sather as he always did had to have the fancy expensive UFA, which never pans out.

            I agree with Richter what I saw was a guy who opened my eyes that he should be a core part of this D, who just wanted some stability in his pro career after bouncing around a bit on short term contracts, overlooked by management for an aging, overpriced “power play specialist”

        • Pas44 says:

          I for one am finished looking back at Sather and what he was trying to accomplish.

          Less then a full year into Gordon’s decision making and everyone is talking about this teams offense, speed, youth.

          I am going forward and excited to see what he can accomplish with this team.

          LGR!!!!

          • Richter1994 says:

            That’s fine, but if you want to know why our D corps is what it is today, then you have to start with 2014.

            • Pas44 says:

              that’s valid, but I feel the majority of this post could be used to discus “This Blue Line” and what needs to happen going forward.

              thats all…

              I know where we are coming from…

              I hope things get better on the back end too.

              cheers!

              LGR!!!

              • Richter1994 says:

                I agree about this blueline my friend.

                But then we got to watch that mess against the Canes last night.

                Staal and Klein were embarrassing.

                This D corps is bad, and made worse with Clendening in street clothes.

              • pas44 says:

                Oy… they looked like deer in headlights at times…

                something needs to happen!

        • Ray says:

          Not true actually. In hindsight, Stralman has clearly exceeded Girardi, but Staal-Yandle is less clear. Certainly so far this year, Staal has been better and while we all have opinions on this subject, we should all agree that the jury is still out.

      • Benny Blanco says:

        Boy it’s awesome how some people’s internet belligerence/rudeness is so cliched…you’re on a site where people DISCUSS THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT THE NY RANGERS. So Richter shouldn’t discuss them?

        You aren’t toasting anyone, TJ. In fact I’d suggest it’s you that’s toasted.

    • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

      We have to be careful not to rely too much on 20/20 hindsight – especially when that far easier view of things fails to include all of the factors NYR management weighs when making these decisions. For example, if we had signed Hagelin and/or Stralman, what would have been the ripple effect throughout a salary-capped roster? Could we have (re)signed Vesey/Miller/Hayes/Kreider? Would we have the cap flexibility that may well enable us to make the trade for the top 4 RH D we need between now and the trade deadline?

      • Richter1994 says:

        I get it, for sure, but it’s simple, would you trade G and Staal for Stralman and Yandle?

        And BTW, did you also know that Hagelin was willing to take a one year deal for $3M to stay with the team for at least one more year?

        How did the Stempniak fiasco turn out?

        Dylan vs. Tarasenko.

        These are not hindsight comments. These are situations that occurred back then and a lot of fans were clamoring for these players to stay or be drafted at the time of these events. It’s not rocket science.

        In Raiders of the Lost Ark, at the end, the villain chose badly, so did the Rangers. And we keep paying for it.

        • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

          Valid points all – especially drafting for need (Dylan) and not the best player available (Tarasenko). But I still think there’s some hindsight to your analysis. I think the biggest decision of the bunch involved G/Staal/Stralman. I think they decided early on they would keep two and that their priorities were in that order. When they mapped out their strategy and began negotiations with G both he and Stralman were not the players they were about to become – G began to hit the wall just a few weeks after he resigned and Stralman didn’t begin to look like a 1st pair D until that run to the SCF. At the time I though it seemed like the right choice — and so apparently did AV. Considering the team’s record of success over the past 5 years, I’d make the argument that they’ve made more good decisions than most other teams. The biggest difference between the NYR and team’s that have won the Cup is that they haven’t had a #1 draft pick (see Pitt/Chi).

          • Richter1994 says:

            I commented on Blueshirt Banter in Feb, 2013 how under valued Stralman was as a defenseman. I have always liked him and I have always thought that he was perfect for AV’s system. You can choose to believe that or not, and I would understand if you didn’t.

            Bottom line is that the Rangers have had Cup worthy teams and we have zero Cups to show for it. And is the miscalculations above that have contributed to that fact.

            I love the team, I love the “success” that we have had, but I love a Cup more.

            • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

              I don’t doubt for a second that you thought in Feb ’13 that Stralman was undervalued. But Stralman’s “value” at that exact point in time wasn’t the relevant factor – it was his value relative to G and how they had mapped out their overall cap strategy for the next few years. And at that time G was viewed as the far more important piece in that puzzle – a totally reasonable and understandable judgment.

              • Benny Blanco says:

                Wrong. Girardi’s contact was assailed for its ridiculousness pretty much as soon as the ink was dry. Plenty of bloggers and writers were aware–immediately–that Dan’s deal was likely to cost NYR the services of Anton Stralman.

              • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

                You were wrong to shoot Carlito and you’re wrong here. I was clearly referring to how G was viewed by NYR management – not by bloggers.

              • Benny Blanco says:

                Wrong to shoot Carlito–utter brilliance!! But that’s the Benny Blanco from the Bronx….I’m from upstate NY, hahaha!

        • paulronty says:

          You know Buchnevich went in the third round, whilst Craig Button kept stating What is going on? This stuff happens all the time so why go on & on about Tarasenko. You can do that same thing for every team in every draft.

    • Swarty says:

      Seeing the treatment the Rangers gave DMAC really sucks and Richter made his disclaimer – so how are you all talking Stralman, Brian Boyle, who we should’ve drafted in 2010?

      How about should we have made the trade for Espo back in 1975?

      Yikes – I feel like I AM in the Twilight Zone.

      Heck – let’s talk about if there really is a Santa Claus?

    • Jon says:

      I can agree with you on some of your points such as with G but unfortunately he has a top pairing contract and is locked in with a NMC. He would essentially be $5.5 mil in dead cap space sitting in the press box. I wouldn’t mind seeing Girardi on the 3rd defense pairing.

      AV does seem to favor his veterans because he knows those guys can get in there and play the system. I do think Staal & Girardi are on notice this season by the way Staal has played thus far. He looks like a man playing for his job. I don’t think Girardi has it in him anymore. He’s not the fleetest of skaters and has trouble keeping up on his best day.
      Clendening is going to get his mins but the Rangers need to make a move for a defenseman. I still think Shattenkirk is the best option to fit into a 1RD spot for the long term. At 27 years old he would still only be 33 or 34 at the end of a 6 year contract extension.

  2. Duffis Mclane says:

    The reason the rangers got rid of Mcllrath was because he’s a rotten pool player and can’t speak French

  3. RangersFan says:

    He’s not better than the other 7 in front of him. He is 24 and can’t crack the NHL as a 6th or even 7th defenseman. He is 8th. No one offered anything for him. Other teams would now even have to consider their cap and moving an NHL player out to take him from waivers. Rangers will gain by someone taking him for their own cap and trade possibilities.
    Graves is already projected above him. It’s that simple. Rangers blew it by drafting him in the 1st round instead of like the 5th round or not at all. Cam Fowler was on the board and they chose Dylan. Made no sense.

    • Dave says:

      All your points are valid, but I’d disagree with the Fowler thing. The clear choice was Tarasenko, given the needs of the team in 2010.

    • 43 says:

      Kuznetsov was on the board, too. If the Rangers wanted defense with that pick, Kevin Faulk was available, too.

    • mojoguru says:

      You don’t know that nothing was offered for him. gorton might have decided that the offer(s) were insufficient and he’d take his chance with the waiver wire. With the expansion draft coming up its not business as usual.

      Its hard to really know how good or bad Dylan is as he never got anything amounting to a fair shot. Playing limited minutes sporadically is not fair to any player. What I saw was a solid 3rd pair dman with an accurate hard shot who cleared the crease and stuck up for his teammates. Sure he made mistakes, who doesn’t.

      Dylan appeared to be much better then Holden who has made tons of bad plays. How much slack does he get because he plays on his offside?
      Way too much IMHO.

      If we had rotated KK, DG and Dylan we’d develop a young player with potential and not burn out 2 aging veterans who now appear to be injury prone.

      The fact we put him up for waivers when we didn’t have to is piss poor asset mgmt. Although I think Gorton is doing a pretty good job, this and the Eric Staal trade are real head scratchers

  4. 43 says:

    Sorry, but if other GMs really believed McIlrath was worth scrat one of them would’ve coughed up a third or fourth for him. Its better to get a fringe prospect that can possibly play now than to gamble of a draft pick that may never pan out. That doesn’t he goes unclaimed (I think he gets claimed), but it isn’t like his new team is just going to hand him a spot in their top six and McIlrath is going to start laying down the law across the league.

    For his sake, I hope he gets claimed and can still play in the NHL.

    For AV’s sake, I hope he gets claimed so we can all see just how far Dylan was from being a viable NHL defenseman still.

    • Dave says:

      McIlrath is a UFA if he doesn’t play 41 games this year. No team can guarantee that, which is likely why there was no trade.

      • 43 says:

        Won’t he also be an uncompensated RFA, though, too (Like he’ll sign such a minimal contract fiscally that the new team will not have to surrender a pick.) So then how does that factor in to any of this?

        • Chris A says:

          If McIlrath plays over 41 more NHL games this year, then he will be an RFA next summer. Otherwise he’s a UFA.

          If he were to play 41 games, and hit RFA status, then, yeah, he could be an easy poach with an offer sheet. But at that small a number why wouldn’t his team just match the offer sheet?

  5. SalMerc says:

    Everyone makes great picks NOW in the 2010 draft! Everyone makes great contract decisions NOW, based on who we needed to pay 3 years ago.

    I never heard anyone say (in 2010) draft Tarasenko. C’mon guys. GMs make decisons with the info they have at the time. Granted the Stralman decision could have gone the other way, but it was not an easy decision to pay Stralman and NOT pay either Girardi or Staal.

    I do think letting Yandle go was the right decision. Do we need a better defenseman, for sure, but can we get by (for now) with what we have? I think so. Everyone keeps piling on the defense. Just because we are winning, doesn’t give everyone on the offense a pass either. We love Z, but he isn’t really scoring yet. We love Zucc, but his scoring isn’t there yet. JT is the young up and comer, and don’t get me wrong, but is he really untouchable? Untradable for Trouba? I think not.

    The defense needs help, but just because we are winning, doesn’t mean we are hitting on all cylinders everywhere and only the defense needs help.

  6. Peter says:

    I have a feeling that he will clear waivers because of his pending free agency. If he does, I’d expect that he would get a lot of playing time in Hartford and be back with the big club when injuries make him needed.

    • Jerry says:

      If you’re right Peter, and I hope you are, I think we’ll see him up here sooner than many think. When our skilled players start being targeted regularly, Gorton may just shove McIlrath down AV’s throat.

  7. perry says:

    Let’s remember guys how important a fast, skilled forward group can be before
    we get crazy about the Rangers defense group.
    The Penguins defense last year was very average after Letang , and I’ll take McD over him any day

    • Chris A says:

      The Pens D wasn’t average, they were poor.

      When either Ben Lovejoy or Ian Cole are regularly in your top two pairs, you have a bad D corps.

      The bright side is that they managed to win with those garbage players on the blue line so we shouldn’t fret so much about the Rangers D. The trick is simply convincing these guys to play within themselves. The lesser lights on the blue line, Holden, Girardi, just need to keep things ultra simple. Just worry about defending and let the more talented Ds and the forwards move the puck up ice.

      • richsomma says:

        unfortunately we dont have crosby, malkin or kessel , but I do like our group since they are all younger and will eventually surpass them.
        Fire AV

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        THEY HAVE THE BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME. OH ALSO LeTANG, MALKIN and KESSEL. They have HOFers in the lineup.

    • Benny Blanco says:

      You’re right about the Pens’ D to a point–Maatta and Dumoulin were 1st and 2nd round draft picks, and Trevor Daley has been a solid if unspectacular player for years in the NHL. Guys like Lovejoy & Cole are journeymen–I’d agree with your argument that taken as a whole their Cup-winning D wasn’t all that great. Even still there’s a decent amount of skating ability in Pittsburgh’s D though, Lovejoy was the only plodder back there for them last year.

      • Chris A says:

        You’re right. I didn’t realize how little Cole and Lovejoy played 5v5 in the playoffs, yet, among Pitt D, they played the most minutes on the PK. That is the strangest deployment I have ever seen.

        • Benny Blanco says:

          They play Letang as often as possible, though I hate Letang I have to give him props.

          • Chris A says:

            There’s no reason the bigger, stronger, and frankly, better, McD can’t be the Rangers’ version of Letang this season. But for that to work it may mean dialing back McD’s PK time, which is a risky proposition.

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    What’s really funny is that the same thing happened in van. Defense sucked.

  9. ScottishCharlie says:

    Let’s face it – AV doesn’t like McIlrath and will not play him although he is better than two in the line up. He would play me before him. He says Dylan “done everything and more” that was expected of him – so why is he on waivers? Answer – he doesn’t like him.This really seems a personal matter from AV. Don’t be fooled by his public media statement.

    • paulronty says:

      Unfortunately, I think you may be right about this. Did you ever see that vid where AV gives DMAC the lineup card to read? Everyone was cheering, yet he handed the kid the card in a very cold and impersonal way. I found that strange & unsettling. My theory is he didn’t want to keep DMAC on the roster last year but was overruled by Gorton, so transferred his enmity onto the player. Like all good obsessionals, he is a “charming” control freak.

    • Chris F says:

      That’s pure speculation on your part.

      Why is it any less plausible that AV and Gorton simply believe McIlrath is 8th on the depth chart? I get that you disagree and think he’s better than that, but why do you and others completely disregard the notion that this might be AV’s sincere assessment and it’s not personal?

      What evidence is there that this is personal other than the “fact” that McIlrath is the second coming of Buekeboom and still can’t get playing time?

      • paulronty says:

        You may very well be right, but as a student of human behaviour for 41 yrs, my gut tells me otherwise. And I trust my instincts on people evaluation a great deal.

  10. Spozo says:

    He cleared waivers. So the entire league does not view him as a top six defenseman at this time.

    • Chris A says:

      F’n shocker.

      Now, here’s hoping McIlrath has an awesome, eye-popping, 10 game run in Hartford and gets recalled or dealt for something useful.

    • 43 says:

      Now everyone can shut up about how stupid AV is with this, unless of course, the whole league is stupid.

      • Spozo says:

        Nah people will just need to find something else to complain about. I’m sure someone can tie the current drought in LA to AV’s horrible coaching.

    • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

      You mean there are 29 other coaches who just don’t like him? That there are 29 other coaches who don’t know how to manage a D and should be fired because of it? I’m simply astounded.

    • ScottishCharlie says:

      What’s top six got to do with it? I don’t view him as a top six defenseman but he’s better than Girardi and Holden. McD, KK, Staal and Clendening should be top six right now. Also AV said he’s our eighth defenseman – that must be a joke – or is my previous comment true.

  11. Peter says:

    Pats self on back for calling it right, for once 😄

    I don’t get this AV doesn’t like Dylan mantra repeated so often. He praised the kid’s effort and character in his presser. What he basically said is that he isn’t ready and needs minutes on the ice to get ready. He wasn’t going to get those minutes with the Rangers. So, now he will with the Wolfpack. He will have a chance to develop further and he just might end being a competent NHL defenseman. He’s a good kid and I bet he will work hard at it.

    • ScottishCharlie says:

      What a manager says publicly is far from what he says privately or in a dressing room or team meeting or to his GM. They have their own ideas and ways and are stubborn and they like and dislike players in a stubborn manner as well. Can someone explain AV and TG please – he’ll be back in the line up soon.

      • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

        TG doesn’t take dumb penalties like McIlrath did in his “fight” against a non-physical player who accidently touched Hank (Hertl). AV simply trusts TG more than he does McIrath. With this depth TG is only coming up if there are many injuries.

    • paulronty says:

      Surprising he wasn’t picked up by his hometown Jets. I mean do you see who is playing on their third pair? No matter, let the doubters crow like they are brilliant seers, but he who laughs last, laughs best & that will be us. Grazie!!

  12. Bobby B says:

    The UNDERTAKER cleared waivers, for the time being, still in the Ranger family, lets see him open some eyes in Hartford ( at least he will get the chance to play!! ) We know he is not an AV favorite, but an injury to one of are older D-Men, ( a very real possibility ) coupled with a possible Holden/ Clendenon collapse??, he may be back?? For now the AHL teams need to keep their chins up, the Undertaker is on the prowl, looking to prove to many were wrong about him!!!!

    • Chris F says:

      I’m glad he cleared. So is AV.

      • paulronty says:

        Screw AV, I have no repect for that phony. McIlrath will get his shot next year with another team. AV wasted two years of his development. McIlrath is a class person & like he said, his career is far from over.

    • ScottishCharlie says:

      It will take two to go down, he’s our eighth defenseman. AV will call up Walt before McIlrath.

  13. Ray says:

    Two thoughts on McIlrath. One is that he will not be a long time Ranger. It is fairly clear that he won’t get his 42 NHL games this year as a Ranger and there is no way that he is going to resign when he becomes a UFA.

    Second is that his trade value just jumped. Since he is now a minor leaguer and a new organization can just leave him in the minors, another team can offer a fifth rounder and look at him at leisure. Or he might net a Nick Jensen or Chris Brown (price for Bourque) in trade.

  14. Ray says:

    Justin,

    I agree with you on Holden. His play on the first Boston goal certainly seemed like exactly the kind of play that you opt for Holden over Clendening to avoid. Guys are going to give the puck away, it just doesn’t always go where you aim it, but solid defensemen are supposed to know where to position themselves.

    • Bobby B says:

      Double standard Ray, if Mcllrath was playing and he made those glaring mistakes, he would have been benched for the rest of the game, AV would have banned him from the practice rink too.

  15. ScottishCharlie says:

    If you agree with a comment thumb up. If you disagree with a comment don’t thumb down – say why.

  16. Bayman says:

    By his own admission, McIlrath had a lousy camp. Gorton tried to deal him, and no one was interested. McIlrath was waived, and no one was interested. So maybe, just maybe, McIlrath isn’t good enough to play on this team, nor play in this league. It’s not AV. It’s not Slats. It’s not Gorton. It’s McIlrath. He’s a good guy and a stand-up guy. It’s a shame it didn’t work out. But, it didn’t. Time to let it go.