Archive for Matt Gilroy
Count the Rangers as 0-2 in the preseason to date, I would say they are 0-1-1, but I don’t think the OTL matters in the preseason. Actually, I’m positive it doesn’t matter. The Rangers, for the second game in a row, came out slow, and turned it on in the third period, netting two goals to send the game into overtime. This can be viewed as a positive, as the Rangers look to have a lot of fight in them, even when down two going into the third period.
Coach John Tortorella again let the kids play the majority of the game, to allow them to present their case to both stay in camp, and make the NHL club. Defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy again played solid games, with the latter netting a beauty of a goal on a mini-breakaway. Gilroy also showcased his great speed, and his ability to create something on the rush. The Rangers haven’t had a player that can do that since Brian Leetch. If Gilroy can be half of what Leetch was, it is safe to say that Gilroy is a lock to make the squad for opening night, and that Del Zotto is a lock for the 2010-2011 season, as he will most likely be returned to juniors for one more year.
Chad Johnson looked pretty good in net, and at first I mistook his calm, collected nature for a lack of quickness in net, especially when he got caught out of position on a wraparound that was stopped by Brian Boyle. Later in the game, it was evident that he was just very cool in net, and didn’t need to flop around. He’s a big guy with a quick glove, and it looks like the pucks just stick to his pads, there were no rebounds to be had. He was up to the task in stopping Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, and David Clarkson on some key opportunities late in the game. The one thing I noticed is that he’s susceptible to the fake shot in a shootout, dropping to his knees on the deke, allowing the shooter to skate around him. He recovers quickly, but solid NHL players will exploit that. But when that’s the only “hole” in your game, it’s a good thing. If Steve Valliquette falters, Johnson will be up to the task.
Remember, it’s just preseason, these guys haven’t been in a game situation in a while, and with boot camp in full swing, you can expect them to be tired. Don’t look at the miscues by Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden as big things, it’s just a part of the preseason. Pay attention to the young kids, they are the ones where preseason really matters.
The new look Rangers dropped the preseason opener last night, 2-1 to the Boston Bruins. The score isn’t really telling of the game itself, in which the Rangers dominated the third period, when Boston looked gassed and unable to keep up with the Blueshirts. John Tortorella has already put his stamp on this team, as the puck movement, scoring chances, and powerplay all seemed to be a major improvement from last year, even if it was just for one game.
At even strength, the Rangers showcased what looks to be their bread and butter play, which is cycling the puck along the boards, maintaining possession, and finding the open man in the high slot for a quick shot on net. Sure, there were some miscues, but that should be expected from the first preseason game, with 50% of the roster bound for Hartford to start the season. Donald Brashear was a pleasant surprise on the ice, as he showed why GM Glen Sather chose him over the departed Colton Orr.
The powerplay, while putting up a goose egg, was also a nice surprise, with Ales Kotalik at the point. Kotalik has a cannon, and when he hits the net, will be the center of attention for opposing penalty killers. The other stand out on the powerplay was highly touted Michael Del Zotto, who showed great poise while quarterbacking the powerplay, and rang one off the post off a feed from Evgeny Grachev. Del Zotto showed why he is so highly touted, and if he keeps up his play, the Rangers will be hard pressed not to keep him around when the season starts.
The Rangers lone goal came from Christopher Higgins, who buried a rebound off an Alexei Semenov shot, which came in low and hard, exactly how it should be. If the Ranger defense can get their shots through low and on net, expect to see plenty of rebound goals, especially with the likes of Higgins, Chris Drury, and Ryan Callahan patrolling the area around the crease. If Matt Maccarone was able to lift the puck in the second, the outcome of the game would have been different.
There was one particular play that drew my ire, and that was the goalie interference call on Callahan in the third period. Right now, it looks like if you bump the goalie, regardless of the circumstances, you will get called for a penalty. This play was in no way Callahan’s fault, as he was being defended, and tried to avoid Boston goalie Tuuka Rask, who played a brilliant game. This call should be referee’s judgment, and if a player makes a solid attempt to get out of the way, no call should be made. It’s hockey, the goalie is going to get bumped.
The Rangers youngsters, including Matt Gilroy, who turned in a good game, played a solid game last night. We all know what the veterans are capable of, and preseason is the time to watch these youngsters showcase their talent. If last night showed us anything, it’s that Gilroy and Del Zotto are going to be solid players.
With all the commotion of free agency and Glen Sather’s dedication to add scoring, its easy to forget about the defensemen the Rangers have in their system. Among them is Matt Gilroy, who signed a 2-year $3.5 million deal on April 17th, 2009.
BIO: A native of Long Island, Gilroy, 24, played high school hockey for St. Mary’s, where he was captain and won two New York State Championships in the process. He then began his junior hockey career playing for Apple Core in Long Beach and later played in the British Columbia Hockey League. Gilroy was an accomplished forward during his junior years. After a stint with the Walpole Junior Stars in the ECHL, Gilroy walked-on to the Boston University Terriers in 2005-2006. With no forward positions available, Gilroy made the transition to defenseman, where he contributed immediately.
In his freshman year, he played in all but one game, tallying 8 points with a +21 rating. In his sophomore season, Gilroy blossomed, garnering his first of three All-American honors. He was named assistant captain and played in every single game, netting 26 points with a +18 rating. Gilroy’s junior year was more of the same, again playing in every game while scoring 21 points with a +17 rating. It was at this point, however, that Gilroy began turning heads and started to become a legitimate NHL prospect. He was garnering so much attention that he even told BU Head Coach Jack Parker he was going to test the NHL free-agent waters after his junior year, and likely leave the team after he was signed. As a result, Parker gave Gilroy’s scholarship to another player, but Gilroy ultimately decided to hang around and finish up his degree. Since the scholarship was no longer his, however, Gilroy’s played his senior year without a scholarship. Not much changed though in terms of Gilroy’s on-ice contributions.
Gilroy dominated college hockey as a senior, reaching career-highs in almost every category. The team captain helped lead BU to their third Beanpot title in 4 years and again led the team in plus-minus. Gilroy’s accolades included his third All-American selection, a feat accomplished only by fellow New York Ranger Chris Drury and Rick Meagher, as well as the 2009 Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college hockey player. Gilroy’s last college game was the National Championship against the Miami-Ohio Redhawks. With his team trailing 3-2 and less than a minute to play, Gilroy pulled off one of the most unselfish of plays in a clutch moment, assisting the game-tying goal (fast-forward to 5 minutes to see the goal). BU would eventually go on to win, and Gilroy would round out his college hockey career as one of the most decorated players ever.
SCOUTING REPORT: 6 foot, 2 inches. 202 pounds. Excellent hockey sense, responsible defenseman. Rarely found out of position. Great ice vision. Excellent puck control and passing ability. Good two-way player. Exceptionally strong skater. Character player, who can project as a future captain. Leads by example. Does not have a great shot. Will not use his body as often as he should, but will use it when necessary. Projects as a second-pairing defenseman
BSB Analysis: It’s hard for me personally to say anything bad about this guy, having the same roots here on LI (his hockey career turned out a little better than mine though). What I love about Gilroy is that those roots are humble. Being a walk-on at a major university could not have been easy. He knows he has to earn everything he plays for, and should have little trouble mentally adjusting to the NHL. Having Chris Drury nearby also helps, as he was instrumental in bringing the BU blue-liner to the Rangers. His play in the title game and being named assistant captain in just his second year at BU really shows you the type of leader he is and what the other players in the locker room think about him. His plus/minus ratings while at BU are simply staggering. That and the fact that he only missed one game during his 4-year career really stand out to me. Durability, versatility, responsibility, and leadership are probably his best attributes, and those alone can take you a long way. When they originally signed him, I believed they were going to move him back to forward, given the Rangers ineptitude for offense and the deep depth chart on the blue-line. With the changes in free agency and the new regime beginning to take shape, I don’t see that happening anymore. As a prospect, Gilroy has a lot going for him. He is 24, which is several years older than his fellow prospects, and he already has a big contract. Ultimately, I think Gilroy makes the team as a defenseman out of training camp for those 2 reasons alone, but mostly because of his poise and moxy. He just doesn’t seem like the type of player who will get rattled when things go south, and us all being Rangers fans, we have seen plenty of newcomers do so.
***For more on Matt Gilroy’s play at the NHL level, please click here.
Former BU All-American Captain and current Rangers prospect Matt Gilroy has been nominated for the 2009 ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete. The Long Island native lifted BU to the 2009 National Championship, winning the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college ice-hockey player along the way. On April 17th, just 6 days after winning the title, Gilroy signed a 2-year $3.5 million contract with the Rangers. His fellow nominees include Sam Bradford of Oklahoma (football), Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (basketball), Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State (baseball), and Tim Tebow of Florida (football).
That’s some incredibly elite company for a college hockey player, a student-athlete who doesn’t get any attention whatsoever. When you consider that Bradford won the Heisman, Griffin will be the #1 pick in the NBA draft tonight, Strasburg was the #1 pick in the MLB draft and is “one of the greatest pitching prospects ever”, and Tebow has been baptized Superman and all that is holy by half the press, its a pretty impressive feat. Say what you want about the ESPYs (i.e. total popularity contest), but its one of the few events that bridges sports, whether its high school, college, pro, olympic, extreme…whatever. So to be included in one of the categories is a pretty nice honor. Chances of him winning are basically zero, due to the reasons previously stated, but a special honor nonetheless.
A week ago I wrote a piece on Gilroy and a surge of Long Island talent beginning to emerge at significant levels. Nice to see a player of his caliber and character come home and sign with the Blueshirts. While its pleasing to see this come about for those reasons, its also a very strong pickup with for the Rangers. Even though he is not eligible to play in this year’s playoffs, Gilroy has the age, maturity, and skill-set to make a run at a roster spot come training camp next year. At 24 years old, he is predictably farther along in development than the likes of Del Zotto and possibly Sanguinetti (possibly). During his tenure at BU, the co-captain showed he is both versatile (37 points in 45 games on the blue line), durable (145 consecutive games played), and a legend in his own right (one of BU’s only three-time 1st Team All-Americans). A wealth of experience playing in college hockey’s most storied programs and toughest conference also doesn’t hurt. I personally am very excited about this pickup and the prospect of having a blueline with the likes of Staal, Girardi, Sanguinetti, Del Zotto, Gilroy, and “insert veteran here” someday